Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Step Five Admission

My blogger friend Dawn over at all that heaven will allow, has been blogging about the Twelve Steps of AA of late.  The other day she wrote about Step Five which is arguably one of the most difficult steps to complete because it requires honesty and admission to God, ourselves and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. 

Did you catch that?  The exact nature of my wrongs.  That would be all the ugly, fuckedupedness that was my drinking life.  Everything.  Way down deep.  Those things I promised myself I would not only never think about again, but that I would take to my grave.  Why?  Because we're only as sick as our secrets so in order to get well, we can't have any secrets.

Now for me this really was never much of a problem because I'm kind of an open book.  I will tell anybody just about anything to the point they are backing away saying, "TMI Sherry...TMI!"  And even the ugliest of crap I managed to squeak out, if only once.  Long enough to release it to the Universe.  The problem I have with Step Five is that I never seem to be done.  Everytime I think I've admitted all of my crap, I think of something else that sends me back into my hometown of Shameville,

This time it's a sick kid.

My boy is crazy sick right now.  He hasn't been this sick since he was very little and to say I'm a little bit worried is an understatement.  Not, rush him to the ER worried but, work from home tomorrow worried.  Until he turns the corner, I need to be where I can lay eyes and hands on him. 

Sorry honey, you're a wonderful father but sometimes a mommy needs to do what a mommy needs to do.

But sitting here thinking about him today got me thinking about some of those other times my kids were sick and it interrupted happy hour.


I can remember (all the way back to my daughter) getting ready for date night and having a child start throwing up.  Or looking forward to a night out all week, only to have one of them spike a fever.  Or...whatever...doesn't really matter.  If it interrupted the magical drinking time, I was devastated.

Now, most every mother would be a little bit dissappointed to have to cancel plans because of a sick child, but my level of dissappointment was epic.  I wish I could say it was solely because I was looking forward to a night out with the hubs (which I was) but, more often than not, it was because that was the only time I would get to drink.  Back when they were little, I never drank at home so I really, really looked forward to a night out.

Later, when they got older and my drinking had escalated to the stay at home variety, a sick child meant that I had to "keep my wits about me" as the hubs would say.  That meant I had to limit my intake.  For me that meant no drinking because even in the early days I knew that one drink meant a bottle or three.  So I would stay sober and resent the hell out of it all night. 

Oh my...that is so hard for me to admit.  That even though I never put my kids in harm's way, I knew enough to stay sober in case I had to drive them to the hospital or something, and I never left them with my mother or a sitter when they were ill, I still resented them for getting sick and interrupting my drinking time.  Yep...that's right folks...I resented a child for getting sick because it meant that I wouldn't be able to drink.

Damn that was hard to type.

I hope you guys count as "another human being" because I sure as hell don't want to have to type or speak that again.  I'm getting the fuck off this train at the next stop...Forgiveyourself Beach,; last stop before Recovery City.



  1. We're real, too real sometimes. And way too human. You are forgiven, friend, and admired for the strength and judgment you showed in staying sober when your child needed you.

  2. Pretty sure I'm real too - ha, Velveteen Rabbit "real" !!

    Good work my fellow mom. Recovery work is a process. We don't get to confess one time and later down the tracks when we remember another shortcoming say, "whew, glad I already had my hour of confesseion" - no, we need to put it out there right away and be forgiven, redeemed in the knowledge we're traveling completely different paths today - by the grace of God.

    Darn you, though. You just made me recall a memory of when my son was five or six. A neighbor mom and I used to crack open a case of coors friday afternoons. Though by the end of summer, we were opening that case by 10 am. We would drink in the garage (some stupid MN thing - don't ask) .. well, my son would come out every twenty minutes or so and try to take the beer out of my hand. He would then try to tip it over with a toy. We would get so mad at him and my friend (?) would speak unkindly toward him - I don't recall specifically, but I am sure it was something like, "you little shit, knock it off" - and while I never spoke this way to my kids, I know I did not step in instructing her not to. Wow,, how betrayed he must have felt. Yuck, that makes me sick, really.

    He is a film student at Biola College in CA - very talented, gifted, really in film. I will be writing him first thing in the morning asking his forgiveness for this. What a horrific mom I was that summer . . .
    Thank you Sherry,
    Praying for your son's quick recovery - so sorry he is ill

  3. Oh my gracious. You are not alone. I used to count to a hundred when my little boy would nap. It was a ritual so I could sprint 2 long blocks to the liquor store for my booze, leaving him alone.
    You were a sick mommy, and it sounds like you covered his needs in spite of your illness.
    I/We can be your "another human being."

    Namaste to you too!

  4. O lordy, my blood runs cold at the prospect of having to admit the exact nature of all my wrongs . . . one day, to another (hopefully very open-minded, understanding) human being. Eeeek.
    Shit, moving on fast . . .
    I hope he gets better real soon Sherry, it is so worrying when they are really ill. Love and prayers x x x

  5. Tough confessions. Hang on for Step 9! ;-)

    I had to have a couple of cracks at 4 and 5. Basically it took me a while to get two things in there that are vital... "exact nature of our wrongs" - like you say that is the ugly bits of me I don't ever want to expose. The nasty little drivers - the jealousy, the pride etc. etc.

    Then "to ourselves"... hmm suddenly I realised the true nature of the phrase "rigorous honesty" at the beginning of Chapter 5. That was tough - tougher than to another human being frankly.

    Given what you've shared here you are already on the right road here...

    Now not to alarm you as the time will come when the time comes but "Made direct amends"... my daughter was 8 when I stopped and is now approaching 17. In the last year I finally was presented with an opportunity to talk ... and all the stuff about when I simply could barely read the nightime story to her - missed so many things of her growing up - I may have physically been there but I wasn't emotionally at all. She then calmly told me how she used to look herself in the bathroom, shaking and scared as I raged about in another drunken attack against the world. These things don't get me sober, they aren't the reason I got sober sadly I did that for me, which is the only way it worked for me... however now I'm here and I know about how my behaviour hurt others and me it is a strong incentive to stay on this path...

    Thank you - really got me thinking the right thoughts today this post

  6. Someone once said, or maybe said it a million times, that in order to face the music, one must listen to the entire proud of your accomplishments....keep listening, you are doing a spectacular job...Love you, baby!!!


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