“Our pressures and anxieties don’t disappear just because we are sober.” –Living With Sobriety, p. 18
My father was an alcoholic. Though he never missed a day of his job as a police officer, he drank daily, and it sometimes caused him a problem. For me as his daughter, I was powerless over his mood swings, harsh criticism and belittling comments. When I got older, I couldn’t understand why I felt so defensive whenever I was criticized.
Because of the alcoholic environment, I had developed defenses that somewhat protected me as a child. As an adult, these defenses got in the way. The threat wasn’t there anymore, but I still reacted as though it was. There was no reason to be afraid, but I felt plenty scared.
In Al-Anon, I learned that even as I grew older, I was still powerless over the effects of my father’s disease. I was powerless over the effects of his behavior while he was drinking.
“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.” –Step One
Powerless does not mean helpless. When we lose electric power in our house due to a downed wire or a storm, I call the power company and pray for the power to come back on. There is nothing I can do in my own ability to repair the electricity.
Yet, I can light candles for light. I can take care where I step, and be sure important things are within reach. I am not helpless.
Babies, either human or animal, are both powerless and helpless. They can’t get their own nourishment and are mostly dependent on the mother, or other caretakers, for all their needs. Alcoholics and addicts are powerless over their addictions, and we are powerless to make them recover.
Last year just before Thanksgiving I hurt my back. It kicked up an acute inflammation of sciatica. It was awful and painful. I took pain medication for about a week. After that, I had to rely on meds designed for nerve inflammation and ibuprofen. I moved slowly and everything hurt. What helped get me through this until I was scheduled for an epidural injection a couple weeks ago? Distraction.
A distraction of any kind, whether it was a game on my phone, a Netflix series to binge, or a fantastic book–these are the things that got me through.
Powerless does not mean helpless.
Mom and I watch Judge Judy together as often as we’re able. When we’re not, for whatever reason, by the time we dive in for an afternoon episode it’s as if into a long-awaited meal. Starving, we sit, rapt, eyes glued to the TV screen.
“Is she still mad?” Sometimes we’ve asked the words aloud. Lately, a puzzled glance toward each other lets us know all we need to know. Judge Judy’s ticked. Something’s not right.
Maybe she had one of those years. You know, clothes just not hanging like they should, to-do lists too often becoming to…morrow lists.
We each of us know that feeling. We can completely understand.
My main objective this year — my theme word (sounds silly, I know) — is confidence. Confidence: the acquisition, and what to do with it once it’s acquired. 🙂 Yes.
What about you? I’ve heard it said that declaring your intention for the year helps to sort of seal the deal.