As I sit here smoking a cigarette overlooking the pool on my patio steps, two hours a way from where my home used to be where my two sons live, tears fall down my cheeks in waves. I finally opened the cellophane wrapped school pictures that were taken this year. I was given them almost two weeks ago when I last spent the weekend with my children for a visit.
Why have a waited almost two weeks to take out the tucked away photos and look at them for the first time?
Maybe because I wasn’t ready. Maybe because it is too painful. Maybe because it is a bitter reminder of a picture day I had missed for the first time. A first time I did not pick out there clothes the night before, styled their hair in the morning and let them know as they went out into the world for that day that they are beautiful inside and out.
This is the most recent in a series of first events or occasions I have missed since getting sober this time. I was not there for Christmas, New Years, a first basketball game of the season, a first high school baseball game, a 15th birthday and now, a school picture day.
Why do I not run home to them when my soul aches to be near them? Why do I not seek and manipulate a way back to them so I can be a part of these occasions that have belonged to me and to us for so many years?
The answer is because of what I am and the disease I suffer from and what is necessary to treat it. After many, many attempts to run back to be a physically present mother first and not putting the treatment of my disease number one over everything else, I have yet to “stay” clean and sober. Once again, I am back to a beginning after going through another period of great suffering trying to get and keep this thing called sobriety.
I just can’t be the mother who puts everything else before my own well being and make it work. I can’t go back and be the mother I was at one time.
My primary purpose on this earth is to stay sober, seek God and help others do the same. The only solution to my condition is a spiritual awakening. I have finally suffered enough defeat to thoroughly understand this concept. I must seek God and work towards a growing consciousness, finding my purpose on this planet if I am to be free from needing to alter myself chemically just to exist in the world.
For me, it’s one or the other.
I have found that spiritual growth and constant focus on clearing away the things that block me from myself, God and others gives me a daily freedom from the need to alter myself. There is nothing more important to me today that having this freedom and keeping a centered and peaceful inner self. Only with this work do I get a life, experience joy, laughter and gratitude that fills my heart. Who would have thought that what I had been seeking all along in alcohol and drugs, which turned on me and failed me, I would find in spirituality and God?
I may not be the mother I once was, in the way I was but I still get to be a mother and my boys still get to have me in their life in a better way. Today I believe that I will be a mother that is more impactful than what they have ever gotten to experience before. I will be the kind of mom that God intended me to be, a light to balance out the darkness, a way out of the problems and a guide to becoming who they are meant to be.
I will be an inspiration.
This hope and faith is what keeps my butt where I am. It’s not easy and some days are harder than others. But it’s not just about me anymore and how I feel about things. This has become about all of us, ascending into a better life, something greater.
My part in this? Well, it’s to stay on the path set out for me, remain teachable and to keep seeking answers from within.
For today, I am okay, my children are okay and everything is exactly how it should be.