I love Facebook Memories for a variety reasons. One reason is that I get to see the girls in a time capsule with their little faces and voices, doing silly things that I forgot about. Another reason I enjoy them is the reminders of the moments in my life that I either struggled or had a success, and I can relive it for a minute. It’s like holding up a mirror and seeing myself as I was and compare it to who I am today. I used to keep journals to see my personal growth or patterns that keep going, but now I have Facebook to provide me with those snapshots.
Today’s memory was a post I had written about a moment when I said to someone in a meeting that “I didn’t get sober for this.” “This” was an obstacle or hurdle that I needed to get through but at the time, I felt like it wasn’t fair or that God wasn’t being fair to me. I wrote about how this person responded by reminding me that sobriety had given me the gift of choice. The choice was (and still is) to be alive and get through the obstacle, or I could go back to drinking and become a mess. It was a friendly reminder that I got sober to live.
In the last paragraph, I spoke of the importance of gratitude. I need be grateful for this gift of choice. I wrote that I would keep putting one foot in front of the other and choose to be happy. I still do this today.
In the comments section, friends posted their support of whatever I was going through. Some shared their own reasoning, and others gave me encouragement. One comment stood out from all of the rest. One sentence.
“When do I get to be happy?”
When I read that this morning, I laughed out loud because it is a perfect example of how my relationship had changed so much thanks to estrogen pills. When do I get to be happy. What about me? When is it my turn?
Looking back I realize that I had a hidden motive for writing that post. I wrote it because I couldn’t say all of that to this person because they weren’t listening. I would try to explain that life is hard but we get to go through it without alcohol screwing us up, but it wouldn’t help. She would still be furious at the world for everything. I would use the quote from a dear friend that said “Happiness is a by-product of right living. If you are living the right way in your heart, you will find happiness” but that would just piss them off even more so I became silent on the outside. After weeks of walking around watching the temper tantrum, I wrote this post because I was trying to get them to see that the choice to be sober is a gift, be grateful. I was trying to get the stormy weather that lived in my apartment to change.
I became happy when I realized that I could open the door and let the storm go outside.
I don’t have storms in my house anymore. I don’t ask myself what I am going to do because I can’t take another day anymore. I deal only with what is in front of me and that, my friends, is plenty. I don’t try to change the weather for anyone, not even my girls. I just show them how to get through the rain and wind of life. It’s so much easier when I am just dealing with one storm system, instead of multiple.
When do I get to be happy?
Even that question places the responsibility of having an answer. How do I know when you get to be happy? Maybe if you took responsibility for your behavior, and owned it, you might find some peace. No, it’s so much easier to just barrel though and blame others. Blame me.
I had already answered that question for myself. I couldn’t answer it for anyone else and the implied demand that I needed to provide the answer to someone else’s happiness would give me great anxiety. I wasn’t responsible for their happiness. I am only responsible for my own and it has grown tremendously this year in the sunshine of my joy.