Two years ago my life was much different. My daughter and I celebrated New Year’s Eve in the best ways you can when you have a 7 year old – playing with stuffies and toys while trying to stay awake.
Although my husband was in the house, he wasn’t “with” us. He was still stuck in his drug addiction and all the behaviors that come with that. For the most part, I was essentially alone in the raising and nurturing of our child during that time.
I spent that night wishing for things to get better but not willing to identify what I wanted specifically because I would then be committing myself to actually making choices I wasn’t ready to make. Should I stay or should I go? I was afraid of what might come if I made the changes I knew needed to take place. I knew I was in a bad place mentally and emotionally.
On top of that, the guilt of what my daughter might be experiencing and the thoughts she was forming about it at times became overwhelming. The shame was pretty unbearable, too. How could I have a husband addicted to drugs? Me, of all people – Ms. Goody Goody I was called because I didn’t drink, smoke, or do any of those things. I expected so much from myself and for my life, and this scenario definitely didn’t match my vision or image.
I knew it but I didn’t want to admit I knew the extent to how deeply I was wounded. I knew I was sacrificing much, settling for less, and I knew I deserved much more than I was giving to myself or receiving from others.
Yet there was always hope; that never left. Hope that things could be better, hope that life would get easier. Hope that I wouldn’t feel so scared and lonely and disappointed. Hope that we could turn our relationship around.
What I came to realize is that much of what I carried wasn’t mine to hold, just like so many other people are carrying the burdens of others as their own right now. It was my husband’s wounds and story. I had the ability to choose how I interpreted and responded to what was happening and I didn’t need to jump into the drama myself. Those negative thoughts and beliefs and judgements I held needed to shift. I needed to turn the page on the story I was telling myself. I needed to reclaim my life and decide what I wanted to experience.
It’s amazing how much nonsense and craziness can take place in just one or two short years. Yet by making small changes to the choices I was making and the thoughts I was thinking, this New Year’s Eve was the one I dared to hope for.
It didn’t happen overnight but I’ve learned several secrets along the way.
You don’t always have to try for the leaps and bounds of change – the small ones add up to a huge difference in the end. I’d love to share my secrets with you when you’re ready.