If it wasn’t for The Fears, I would be drinking. Currently. Right this very minute.
But, just about four months ago, my anxieties got the better of me and I became undone one too many times by fear and shame. So I got sober.
Before the sober time, alcohol worked to slow down The Fears, but only for the first three/four glasses of wine and three/four hours of “sleep.” Then The Fears would rush in, shaking me awake, amplified and pissed from my efforts to contain them in a bottle of unoaked chardonnay. (Apparently the quality of my wine was lost on them.)
Since mid-December, we’ve been working a new relationship, The Fears and me. I don’t try to force them into a bottle and they don’t get worked up beyond a slow simmer.
Most of the time this detente plays out well. But not today. Today, The Fears are at a slow boil and I am wishing for a glass or a bottle or a box of chilled numbness.
I have a new job, you see. My dream job is now my real job. It is wonderful and I am lucky and excited and scared shitless.
So much is going to C-H-A-N-G-E. Along with worries about new work responsibilities, I am anxious about the changes this full-time job will bring to my family. I have not had a full-time job since the birth of my first born. Sheryl Sandberg can pack a lot of what she wrote in seabag and chuck it, but my own “Lean In” truth is this: I love my husband and I love my children and I am the kind of mother that is made a better mother by working “outside the home.” (Whatever the fuck that means.)
I tried flex work and part time work and consulting work and intern work and working from home. I have personally tested the professional limits of a smartphone. If you can imagine an alternate work environment, I’ve probably given it a try. For whatever reason (and there is a wide variety of reasons) those alternatives did not work for me. And so, exhausted by a decade of alternative job drama, I have now returned to the exact spot I started from, with a proper job and proper hours. (As Mary Karr might say: “And that’s how hard that was.” Ha.)
I am doing what I can to put some fancy domestic solutions in place around these new hours. And I have started my dance of attraction (a long-held tradition in my family, passed down from mother to daughter) to win my husband over to some new responsibilities for him, as well as for the boys.
I understand, on some pre-K level, that my Fears are totally normal. All this C-H-A-N-G-E naturally brings about uncertainty and creates a buzz of fear that I can either indulge or choose not to indulge. But even that pre-K understanding is exhausting and, in another life time, would be reason enough to drink.
But this job, and that Pre-K understanding, and my fancy domestic solutions are all being made possible by my Not Drinking. Of this I am 100 percent fucking certain.
If I want the good things to happen, I have to actively get out of my own way so that they can happen.
Just don’t touch it, right? Just keep doing what I’m doing, don’t fuck with it, and let the miracles happen, right?