Last year I went white water rafting with my daughter and my running buddy. It was a great trip. My pal, John, owns a small motor home, and we drove through the mountains of Tennessee in comfort. I had never ridden in a motor home before, so it was a first, and it was fun.
We got to the Ocoee Rafting Company ready to battle the rapids. It was summer, but it wasn’t a very nice day. It was cold and rainy. We figured, who cares, we were going to get wet anyway.
We were assigned a raft, loaded into a van, and went down to the “put in” spot. Prior to “putting in” we sat in the raft, and received a lesson in paddling commands.
All forward; all paddle forward.
All back; all paddle back
Left turn; the left side of the boat paddles
Right turn: the right side of the boat paddles
Over right; everyone in the boat gets on the right side
Over left; everyone in the boat gets on the left side
Get down; get to the bottom of the boat, quickly
I feel like I have been adrift in this raft throughout this holiday season.
We made the plans to be in Florida close to 18 months ago. At the time, neither of my children were living at home, and I was actively drinking large quantities of wine every night. It sounded awesome, sign me up, fun in the sun, drinking in bars and on the beach! Boo yah!
Then in November of 2013, I was struck, by who knows what, and decided it was time to give up alcohol, and get sober.
Last year’s holiday season was s struggle. I think I was unknowingly going through PAWS, and the holiday’s were hard, really, really hard.
This year I thought, been there, done that.I wasn’t cocky, still vigilant, but here comes the holiday season, easy peasy, right?
Wrong. My son moved home, my mother is dying, and I am in Florida, with my husband and a pile of regrets.
December has been difficult. I have been filled with guilt about my son being alone for Christmas, and not being in Missouri with my mother, as this may be her last Christmas.
I didn’t think any of this through thoroughly enough to remember to pack the small Christmas tree. Therefore, no decorations. There is no cold weather. Christmas lights in palm trees just don’t give off that Christmasy feeling. There was no Bailey’s on Christmas Eve, and no red wine with the Christmas roast.
I have hopped into this raft, and have been paddling like mad to keep from hitting all the obstacles the have been placed in the way.
Paddling forward, getting up each morning and trying to be in the NOW.
Paddling backward, resetting my brain every time it drags me into my pile of guilt, or sadness over where I am NOT, instead of where I am.
Hopping to the left side to avoid the Christmas Eve Bailey’s craving. Hopping to the right to get around the longing for red wine to have with the roast.
I feel like I am in the bottom of the boat every day when I wake up here in Florida, and not in my own home. I lie there, take a mental inventory and remind myself that I have a lot to be grateful for. I give myself a mental slap, and go through the list.
I am here, I am sober, I managed to remain sober through a difficult Christmas, and my son was fine being on his own.My mother spent the holiday with my brother and his family, she had a great time.
I have so much to be grateful for, and if I keep my thoughts in the present, I can make it through another day, where I continuously remind myself that relaxing is not supposed to be so much work.