In early recovery, my secondary focus was finding peace. It could have tied for first place if staying sober was even the tiniest bit negotiable as a required prerequisite before anything else could happen, but that’s not how this recovery thing works.
Finding peace had been a priority on my to-do list my entire life. I am not sure I ever truly appreciated how much I had to exert as I reacted to my high-stress life. But I knew that I was done. I just didn’t have it in me. No more expectantly waiting in ready to either resist and fight or run and hide. I just wanted to land safely somewhere.
Despite spending years struggling with addiction, substance use disorders, depression, anxiety, and spinning my wheels in abusive relationships, I still secretly yearned for internal and external peace. But I had been caught in the net of severe generational dysfunction my entire life and I didn’t know what to do or how to change or where to start.
Recovery offered me an opportunity to begin to imagine what healthy boundaries would look like if they were plugged into my life. I wrote down what I wanted, and most importantly, what I needed. I hoped that by creating my very first set of boundaries and a list of my own long-term goals I could finally breathe.
The doubt and discouraging words from my a few members of my family echoed in the back of my mind every time I would make a change in my life: “Brittany, those boundaries of yours are great, but you are crazy if you think keeping them from their flesh and blood is good for those kids; you cannot protect those boys from everything.”
But I kept believing, and have continued to honor my heart’s desire for peace.
I admit, I
completely partially agree. Somewhat.
Boundaries are super great, I just might be a tiny bit crazy depending on who you’re asking and when they knew of me, and I cannot protect these boys from everything. Holy balls. Today, more than ever, I am very much aware that I can’t “protect those boys from everything.” Every time I think I have any kind of stable, solid, footing, adulthood and parenthood laughs in my face and I am reminded yet again of how much of everything I have zero control over.
To be completely candid (surprise) I don’t want the burden of having some illusion that I have everything under control. It is my belief that is God’s job.
My job as mommy is to love my little people. To me, loving them means guiding, teaching and protecting.
Avoiding the known, pre-existing pits and pot holes that I already know exist (because I have only recently crawled my way out of them) certainly falls within that realm of protector, included in my job description.
It is my desire, my duty, and my personal obligation to keep them from harm’s way as much as is in my power and control.
And there are definitely things that I look at and think to myself: “Yep. We’ll just leave that where it is. It doesn’t need to come with us.” And then we move forward.
Breaking cycles or being committed to stopping unhealthy patterns is all about making different choices. It’s about leaving legacies that are non-toxic or even a little bit less-shitty than what the generation that preceded it left behind. I know I cannot offer perfection to my children. They will tell you that, ask them.
Things were unfamiliar and weird for me for a long time. In fact, even now I still have certain times where I find myself lost in my own thoughts, almost missing the familiarity of my family or the idea of my family.
Isn’t it a ridiculous notion to feel like you are missing places and things that you never truly connected to, and people who you never actually bonded with?
How’s that for dysfunction? 🙂
But my children are experiencing a new normal and that makes it all worth it.
In our home we have chosen to ditch the well-beaten (over-used, worn-out, easier) path and have chosen to take the dangerous, less-talked about, less-traveled, less-popular road. We are making our own rules, our own memories, and our own traditions.
(Which basically means that we are off-roading, and despite not being much of a risk-taker these days, the newness that accompanies the scenic route is refreshing and much more fun.)