Calming the Crazy

Me on the Queen Mary in mid-March, my fifth or sixth drink of the day in hand before noon

Me on the Queen Mary in mid-March, my fifth or sixth drink of the day in hand before noon

A frenemy former friend e-mailed me a few photos the other day along with some messages indicating he might want to be friends again. Regardless, the photos he was attaching were from about March to May of this year, and I barely recognized myself in any of them. The one above is by far the most dignified one…I e-mailed him back after he sent a few and wrote, “I look so fat and drunk in all these.” Even in May when I got my act together, the combination of being newly sober, getting used to the side effects of the Topamax, and being in a new relationship made me seem erratic and strung-out most of the time. I’ve learned in AA, from my psychologist, and from just living life in general that instead of looking back and regretting any of this (or beating myself up for it–a lot of good that tactic did all the times I used it to shame myself from drinking), I simply must accept that I went through those times to get to where I am today. That trip to the Queen Mary in March was actually a delightful trip; I was bored with all the drinking by that point and got the prescription for the Topamax the very next week. Granted, I kept sneaking drinks, but I at least cut down.

Me currently, or at least after my last haircut

Me currently, or at least after my last haircut

It still flabbergasts me every single day that such a turnaround has occurred in my life in such a short time. I remember thinking back in May–when I legitimately thought I was losing my mind–that it would take years of therapy to get things sorted out in my head. I know I still have some work to do, and there’s always room for improvement, but the fact that I am presently at a place where I feel confident enough to take a break from both my psychologist and AA to just breathe and think for myself is a relief. The spiritual awakening I experienced back in late September put me on a course to ask God for the optimistic outlook, the realistic outlook, and–most recently–the Christ-centric outlook that have brought so much peace into my life. I need to read my Bible more, I’ll be the first to admit that. But praying to be more centred and focused on how God wants me to live each and every day has helped me tremendously. I’ve also learned to take care of my mental needs and to know the boundaries of things that will upset me. For instance, I knew when I was home last week for Thanksgiving that I didn’t feel like visiting the retirement home where my Granny lived. It was only a month after she had died and, quite frankly, I didn’t want to go and not see her there. Respecting that boundary for my own sake meant more to me than the temporary joy I might’ve brought any of the ladies I visited there at the retirement home. Perhaps that sounds selfish, but I know myself well enough to know it was too soon.

Hypolite Plantation, Sunset, Louisiana

Hypolite Plantation, Sunset, Louisiana

If anyone’s reading this and happens to want to know the answer to the question “How Do I Calm the Crazy?” Well, here’s a slightly short answer:

-Don’t stress about the past. As I said in the first paragraph, accept what happened as part of getting you to where you presently are. Don’t fret about the future, for we have no control over that. Live firmly in the present, doing your best to be optimistic, realistic, and Christ-centric. You’ll need God’s help with that, so don’t be afraid to ask Him for it each and every single day when you wake up. Other people are usually glad to help as well, but we’re all human and others will inevitably fail you or steer you in the wrong direction. Rely on Him and He’ll never steer you wrong.

That’s what’s working for me. Find what works for you and make it work. We each march to our own drum, so experiment until you find what motivates you to live a better life. Once you find it, you’ll know it. And you won’t miss the crazy one bit.


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