I saw a picture of me 4 years ago today. I felt like I had been punched in the gut. Who is that girl? I could read my addiction all over me. 4 years ago, I was on a tail end of my downward spiral. After I saw that picture, I felt disgusted with myself. I drank a Ningxia Red Antioxidant Drink and some Peppermint water and went for a run. I have to exercise. I feel like a new person when I am active. Every time I am away from it, I feel worse mentally. On my runs(more like walk today), I have time to think and clear my mind. I love it. I pray, sing and think through things.
It is no secret I have felt slightly lost as I grow in my recovery. I have written about it before. Some things in my life have gotten consistently better, others not so much. I have struggled with my career path and where I feel I belong. The past 3 plus years, I have learned more about myself than I have in, well, probably my whole life. When I was drinking, I focused on that, on the “good time” I thought I was having. I have felt a deep sadness in feeling like I wasted a decade. I felt like I could be so much farther along. I look at my friends and colleagues and feel a type of shame that I am basically starting from the bottom and my 32nd birthday is around the corner.
I am proud of how I have continued to grow in my faith and in my recovery despite the obstacles that have been put in my path. I firmly believe that Satan is working to bring me down. I know that. Things came so much easier, as far as work success is concerned, when I was drinking. It has been enormously frustrating to be blocked at each turn I make. I have felt so defeated. I have also felt my upcoming birthday much more than I normally do. I have this realization that I am getting older. I know, duh, but when I hit the milestone of 30, I was pregnant. Then 31, I had a newborn. I wasn’t concerned about getting in shape. I thought I just would. Sad news, it isn’t easy now. My body hadn’t been responding and bouncing back quite so quickly. Ugh. I almost feel like some new person in a different body, and not one I would pick. And ACNE! What? Why? I am finally doing the right thing! I am over 3 years sober, growing in my faith, I AM TRYING and nothing is working. Why?
So, I went to AA meetings. I scheduled my day and my time. I kept moving forward. I prayed. I asked for advice. I am not too proud. The scary part is that God is leading me back to where I started. I don’t think I would have appreciated what I had, until I had gone through what was wrong for me. I had to see and do the wrong thing for myself. I really pray my daughter isn’t like that. I have to take the long, rough road, every single time.
It is almost comical how hard Travis and I have been working to seemingly very little avail. The amazing part is, our marriage has blossomed. We have shared that pain of feeling stuck financially. Spinning our wheels together. We have overcome so many things that I believe has made us stronger. I know that the good will come, because I trust In God’s love for us and His plan. I think at this point, we just do the next right thing. We keep inching forward. Slowly. The work we do has meaning and that is of utmost importance to me. We serve others. We help people.
We put our family first. Becoming a mother has changed things in ways that I really couldn’t grasp prior to her being born. I recently read Lean In, the book about women in the work place and the strides we have made and how far we need to go. I liked what Sandberg had to say. I deeply believe women should have equal opportunity in the work place. I love watching my fellow strong women succeed. However, part of me felt that Sandberg still didn’t quite understand what I felt. Of course, she is a highly successful CEO with an amazing, high paying career. I gave birth and had no job to return to. All I had when I got pregnant was sobriety and a new marriage. She discussed in her book leaving early, at 5:30pm. Early? I hate when I can’t pick her up around 4pm or even earlier than that. The balance of working and being the mother I want to be is extremely difficult in a way I couldn’t have grasped until Viv. I feel this strong desire to be near her. I do need to work and have my own goals. I know that about myself.
I also learned I need to be out of the house. It is weird for me to work from home. I have enough work to keep me busy all day, yet, I get crippled at some points. I feel like the using Vanessa who never left the house, except to buy alcohol, still laughs at me sometimes. There is that ghost of my past that still haunts me. I suppose I am just not ready to work from home. Not saying never, just not yet.
The big news is, I am going back to teaching. I am giving it my all this time. I am currently taking online classes and am scheduled for the exam I need to get my certification back. I let my elementary education certification expire many years ago. I realized that I had told myself that I had already tried teaching and it wasn’t right. That was only partially true. I had not taught elementary school since I had first graduated in 2005. I am ready now. I am ready to truly give it my all.
I couldn’t know how strong the desire would be to be at home and truly be a homemaker would be before. I do want it all. I want to be successful in my career and a helpful wife of a first responder and a present mother AND I want to help others. I think that I will be able to be all those things. It will take time and my role in each will evolve. Above all though, I HAVE to be sober. I can’t forget to work my recovery. I can’t ever think I am recovered to the point of not needing to put any effort into it.
I am excited to go back into the classroom. I am excited to get to the root of who I really am and always have been. I feel renewed and excited to feel contentment in my decisions. Becoming a classroom teacher is not easy for me. I have time to put into it as I start or really get back on this path. There are no words to express how grateful I am for the support my parents give me.
So, conclusion. I am excited about life and the road I am on! Of course, the anxiety in me wants it all right now! But I am able to work through that into what vaguely resembles patience. I love that I can be successful as a teacher, volunteer, essential oil sharer, blogger and lawn care owner all while being a present mom and wife! That is awesome. I love time with my family and friends and I love that I will have that. I love finding ways to accomplish all these things simultaneously. Watch me!