Day 198

Manshen Lo


Well, not only did I lose it with W yesterday, I lost it with C too.

Banner day at our house.

So much to untangle about it all, I’m not even sure where to start or if I’d know how to explain it objectively. All I know is that alcohol was not a driver this time, at least for me. In the past, our blow-ups have had that layer of disconnect to them… happening after we’re both a few drinks in (and unlike this time, after kids go to bed). The next day, muddling through a hangover AND the shitty complex feelings post-fight, with only fuzzy memories to go on, made for a difficult situation to navigate and learn from. Usually, the processing was minimal at best.

This time, I’m still struggling to process, finding it easy to slip back into my mental groove of playing the tiny violin instead of taking a hard look at my part in things. But at least I’m aware that I’m doing that. It’s a start.

Ugly, harsh things were said. On my part, things that I really do think and feel, but did not express well. On his part, I think/hope, that he only said out of anger.

He was 1-2 stiff G&Ts into the evening, and it happened during the toughest time of day for our family – dinner.

Without getting into the details, I will say that we both acted shamefully in front of the kids. It was the first time I felt physically threatened by him (in all fairness, he did not hit me – instead I reacted to his aggressive behavior by punching him in the chest).  And it was also the first time I called him a Drunk.

There are moments in this marriage where I wonder if we are better off seperating but then I think how much harder it would be to co-parent as a divorced couple, and how much it would hurt the boys long-term, and I gather hope that we will find our way through this.

I need to decide what my limits are, for me and the boys.

I have said I will leave him for two reasons: physical/emotional abuse or alcoholism. In the past, those felt like such black and white issues. Surely it would be obvious when he crossed the line, right?

Maybe this is just the tiny violin playing, but it feels so gray right now.



Day 197

Tamar Dovrat


Turns out two kids birthday parties in one weekend is too much for me. The boys and I attended a neighbor friend’s party today at the local Nature Center, one of our favorite places. And the party was fun! Boys were (mostly) well-behaved, considering yet again the focus was Sugar Sugar Sugar from the moment we arrived until the meltdown exit.

And then mommy had a meltdown as we pulled into the driveway and the boys wouldn’t stop rolling their windows up and down, up and down in the rain. 

Somehow, I get overwhelmed after too much time spent with them when they don’t listen. I have patience the first, fifth, fiftieth, time but somewhere in the hundreds I just lose my shit. And I lost it. Little W had made a magic fairy wand at the party, and was angry that I wouldn’t let him open the bubble blowing favor right that instant, so he threatened to break the wand. Trying to grab it away from him, impatiently struggling with him in an attempt to rescue the wand, we broke it between us. He started screaming and I bopped him over the head with the broken wand in the heat of my anger. 

I lost my temper just as badly as a 4-year-old. 

One of those moments where, had the neighbors been watching, I’m sure we’d be getting a call from CPS. Time for a time-out, mommy. I hustled him inside, him screaming, me yelling at Little C for another issue – to find Big C folding laundry in a zen-like place of happiness, post-morning-mountain-bike-ride. 

Thankfully, he took over from there as I was maxed out – and it was obvious.

I’m so upset with myself. If I could have only felt the heat rising and walked away, gone and found C and had him help me. I need to recognize when that moment is coming and head it off at the pass. Not get to that point of snapping.

I’m going to give some thought to this this week, and in the meantime I’m going to try to forgive myself and move on.

Last night, after my night off from adulting, I skipped meditating before bed. I walked right past my meditation station and up to bed, feeling a bit like I was cheating. Tonight, I’m back for sure. Exercise, super important. Sleep? 100% important. Head space? Just as important as both, if not more so. 

Now, I just need to find the ideal combo of the three – hasn’t been attainable yet.

Saving for later:

An article on Listening

An article on Big Feelings

Day 196


I don’t want to Adult tonight.

Just plain don’t.

I have freelance, the challenge workout, and a number of chores that could/should be done tonight, but NO. I want to go downstairs, smoke pot, and bum out on the couch with C.

We had a full day with the boys, one of whom didn’t nap (hence the leftover freelance) and then straight into a 4-hour double-header kids birthday party at a friend’s house, filled with 3-6yos and lots and lots of sugar.

As soon as we got in the door, we were offered a drink “Wine? beer? sangria – white or red? gin & vermouth?” and grateful parents were enjoying the offer in the sunlit downstairs and outdoor deck while the kids ran around like banshees. I will admit, the chilled chardonnay did look tempting. But I held out until the N/A drinks finally appeared.

No judgment at all – in the past, I would have welcomed this chance to hang out and drink with friends, taking the crazy of the kids down a notch with a few glasses of wine. In fact, I could just picture it – catching a buzz in the sunlight, feeling warm inside & out, making stupid, awkward comments (for some reason, alcohol never improved my social skills) and eventually, needing to find the boys’ discarded sneakers and strewn-about party favors, while corralling two very tired, hungry, sugar-high kids out the door and into the car – a feat that is hard enough sober, let alone with a buzz on. 

The sunlit warm glowy buzz sounds nice. But the “get over here NOW” chasing boys around the downstairs, sticky, headachy, tired buzz absolutely does NOT.

Anyway, enough adulting. I don’t give up on my to-do list items often, but tonight, I’m cutting myself a major break.

I’m grateful for the gorgeous sunny 80-degree day we had, for the yoga alignment class this morning that hit the spot, and for some wonderful moments with the boys in spite of their usual ups-and-downs. I feel like I handled today well.

Day 196


After yesterday’s tough meeting with the boys’ teachers, where the possibility of ADHD or other issue was discussed, C and I were left reeling. 

And I found myself struggling with a whole mix of negative emotions. Guilt, anger, frustration, confusion, anxiety, sadness. Over the course of the evening and late into the night when I couldn’t fall asleep, I flailed about inside my mind, looking for someplace to go with all of it, looking for something to blame, something to fix.

I wanting a real adult to come in and take over — trying to understand MY position on all of it was too overwhelming.

A short workout and yoga helped a bit but laying in bed, in the quiet, it all came back.

But today I am reminded of a new way of being that is slowly becoming something I practice: acceptance. Like accepting a traffic jam, or spring allergies – it’s life, it happens, it sucks… although it will pass you can’t do much about it, so you need to find a way to live through it without stressing yourself out. For me, “Accept what you cannot change” used to just be empty cliché. Now, in practice, I’m seeing it’s value.

Still sucks, but I’m going to focus on what I CAN do, and let go of the stress of the unknown and what I cannot control.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat.

Day 195


After a somewhat distressing parent-teacher conference this morning, C and I had lunch together and had a surprisingly open conversation about alcohol, among other things. It was encouraging, even if he was clear that he wasn’t able to cut back or cut out the booze right now. I guess the fact that he’s aware of it’s hold on him is a good thing?

Anyway, looking for silver linings after the discouragement of our meeting… now, on to the evening routine and hopefully yoga.

Grateful that our shed is now electrified! That everyone in our family is healthy and happy for the most part. That the agency I’m working for is holding on tight (even if it means longer hours), giving us some financial stability for the next few weeks.

Day 194

Portrait, by Yuschav Arly


One of the lessons happening at an almost subconscious level since quitting, is that of respecting the “otherness” of others, understanding where I end and they begin and defining that difference. This may sound very vague and cerebral, and maybe it is, but I think in most people, this is just a natural part of growing up. Drinking and drug use may have stunted my growth in this department creating a steeper learning curve.

Quitting gave me the gift of getting over myself. When I drank, I didn’t realize how caught up in my own shit I was, how little I could see outside of my own experience. Now, I care less what others think about me, while still being able to care about them (and maybe more so, now that I’m out of my own way). I take things less personally. Others’s moods and behavior are not my responsibility, my only responsibility is how I react to them.

With meditation – even 20+ inconsistent days into this journey, I can see how this might evolve to the next level.  

Defining the space around myself better, accepting the world around me without trying to change it, it’s as if I’m slowly replacing the unhealthy, numbing, erasing, insular bubble I’d built around myself with a healthier definition of personal space: what part of the world is Me, and what part of the world is Not Me.

This new bubble doesn’t mean I’m disconnected from the world around me, like when I drank. It means that I can be more fully connected with the real world without it hurting so much.

I’m not there yet, but I can see the road that leads there.


Day 193

From little things big things grow, by Angela Mckay at ohkii studio


Another almost 8 hours of sleep last night, with early morning coffee and a full 10 minutes of meditation (!) before the boys escaped their room… and I am 100% positive the sleep, those few minutes and the coffee were the reason we survived the morning without me completely losing my shit.

W started the day with a temper tantrum of epic proportions, all over not wanting to get dressed. After that was over, it was a series of minor temper tantrums over each step of the morning – going downstairs, eating breakfast (the english muffin got too toasted, then there wasn’t enough honey on it etc etc etc), choice of play, cleaning up from play, and on and on and on.

If I had to guess, it’s his internal struggle with getting back into the daycare routine… C had some regression issues yesterday after school too.

Sorry kids, we can’t always do exactly what we want to do all the time. Sometimes doing things we don’t want to do is the best thing for us – take it from your mom!

Speaking of which, I need to get back to work.

My goal today is to get the freelance done, attend a long over-due dentist appointment, fit in the 20-min challenge and some hip stretches – hopefully before late evening, read some chapters in the new book club read I suggested so therefore must finish (Eligible), and another meditation session – then bed. I think it’s doable if I buckle down.

At Book Club the other night, over 6 open bottles of wine and way too many finger foods, a friend asked me if I wanted any of her chardonnay. I said, “No thanks, I’m not drinking anymore.” A few minutes later, she asked “Not anything? You don’t drink at all anymore?” with a tone of surprise. And I found myself saying something like “It just wasn’t helping. I don’t have space for it in my life right now.”

And honestly, I have no idea how I ever fit it in before. 

Day 192


Back to the work schedule today – and I’m grateful for almost 8 hrs of sleep last night, an early morning that allowed me a cup of coffee and exactly 9 minutes of meditation before the boys clamored down the stairs.

Today was a nice ease into the usual pace, leaving moments for contemplation.

I think I can see a glimmer of the benefits that might come from continued, consistent meditation: a slightly more observant, removed posture toward my own thoughts, a slowing of reaction time – by a hair, but it’s there I think.

Headed home to attempt to put this into practice during my biggest test of the day: giving two tired, crazy 4 year olds a bath and putting them to bed.

Day 191

Jellyfish, by Jaime Rovenstine

Sunny Sunday

Another sunny afternoon to spend procrastinating away the time… I really do not want to do freelance right now after a full morning outside with the boys. All that vitamin D has me feeling snoozy, plus the aftereffects of last night.

I can’t say I noticed much except a warm glow after tasting the little white chocolate wafer, but it was harder to fall asleep. Painting is done though! And now, I’ve run through my list of chores and projects for the break and am down to my last, least-favorite two: freelance and sorting the toys/books.

So obviously, I must blog instead.

Alcohol-related thoughts? The latest thread has been my husband: how to relate to him when he drinks, how not to become preachy (“you know alcohol causes cancer, right?”), how not to become resentful when it’s hard to communicate in the evenings or things are constantly forgotten…how to let go of wanting to change his behavior – now that I know what I know.

Last night, when I came to bed, the whole room smelled like off-gassed alcohol. It wasn’t pleasant. And sleeping next to that, with his breath and sweat filling the air with that smell, well – that may have been part of why I struggled to fall asleep.

But I’m trying to get my brain out of it’s rumination grooves, so I spent time going through all the ways in which my life is beautiful right now, the things I’m so grateful for – including him and his part in my life. And it helped.

I wish I had someone in a similar situation to confide in. Reading self-help books isn’t quite the same. And my therapist (who I’m no longer seeing anyway), basically said the same thing each time “You can’t change him, and communication with someone with an alcohol addiction will always be impossible – therefore, there is no way for you to improve things, except to accept him and change yourself”. I get it. I really do. But somehow, talking with someone who’s been there or IS there right now would really help. Not to complain – but to learn from and possibly find empathetic support.

Not interested in Al-Anon right now – seems too much for our situation, plus AA feels too much like a cult to me. But something like that, or even just running into someone serendipitously would be nice.

Ok, Universe?


Day 190


Well, our Spring Break week is coming to a close – and as much as I worried about how strenuous it was going to be – I’m actually sad that it’s over. We had a blast, and I cut myself a break once in awhile instead of the usual fevered pace.

I found my insides start unwinding after about 4-5 days in spite of the energy needed to keep up with the boys. A few sunny afternoons like today, building lego train tracks contentedly or planting bean seeds or making zucchini apple muffins, all without any squabbling or accidents or time outs, made for magical memories that I am tucking away for moments that aren’t so perfectly wonderful.

I didn’t get all the freelance work done that I’d planned – part of letting myself unwind – but I did stay consistent with my workouts, green smoothies, and meditation…and it’s nice to see the checkboxes add up as the week went by.

Next week is going to be an entirely different experience, and I know I need to get ahead of it, but tonight I plan on a bit of self-sabatoge instead. C got a few edibles from a friend, which I’ve never tried (except in Amsterdam which is another time, another story) and I want to give them a tiny taste. I know by now that I’m not helping myself any, and that in all actuality it doesn’t improve my experience that much (well, smoking doesn’t – we’ll see about eating it)…but I do have a painting to finish, so that’s my excuse.

Signing off now for dinner, then boys to bed, then Nibble Nibble!

Grateful for the special times this week with the boys, so many of them… and to see that reflected in their faces, the easy laughter and the connection we have.