More To-Dos...

I don't like cliches. I mean, does anyone? Cliche:a trite, stereotyped expression; a sentence or phrase, usually expressing a popular, or common through or idea that has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse

Who wants to be characterized as being stereotypical, trite, overused or having lost originality?!

I know my problem is less with the impact cliches have due to long overuse, and more with the fact that they express a popular/common, thought or idea.

In many regards, I very much want to be like everyone else: the way I dress, the things I own, the way my children present themselves. In just as many ways, I don't want to follow the crowd. It's less about my autonomy and need to be original, and more about my self-centeredness. My ego. As much as I want to fit in, I want to stand out too. I'm a walking contradiction.

I've been consumed by guilt for years that I don't pay enough attention to my children and my husband. I always borrow trouble, and worry about tomorrow. I'm the hamster on the wheel, working all day to check the box and complete my list of things to do. For what?! To start all over tomorrow! I never live in the moment. My best friend and I always joke (to mask our own insecurities) that the dads always play with the kids, and we always do around the kids.

There has never been any doubt in my mind that the rat race I run, the finish line that I'll never cross, contributed heavily to my drinking. I needed to numb my inadequacies and shame. I felt inadequate at never "arriving", and ashamed that I was ignoring the life going on around me. I missed so much.  I'm sober now and still do.

In recovery, we talk about the "YETS."  These are the situations that differentiate us drunks, the circumstances that define our bottom. Alcoholics and addicts all get on the elevator at the top floor. Some of us realize more quickly than others where we're headed, and we get off only a few floors down. We have a high bottom. Others are sicker. They keep falling and lose much more in the process: families, jobs, driving privileges, homes, their freedom. Their bottom is much lower. All the things those of us with high bottoms don't experience are referred to as YETS. I have not yet lost my license. I have not yet been given an ultimatum. I have not yet destroyed my family. I have not yet suffered any legal consequences.

Yet: in the time still remaining; before all is done; in addition; again.

"Yet" is an adverb. When used as a noun, it implies that it could still happen. I'm never recovered, I'm always in recovery. My disease is always growing, laying in wait to deceive. It's ready at any given moment to tell me the lies that will drive me to drink again. You're not worthy. You deserve it. Everybody's doing it. One won't kill you. 

One of the greatest blessings of this thorn is that I have the opportunity to learn from other's mistakes. I don't need to reinvent the wheel. My sobriety is dependent on two things only.

1.) My relationship with God.

2.) What other alcoholics are learning (or not) from God.

I hear about the conditions and consequences of low bottoms several times a week. I know so many "yets" that are waiting for me.

In my second day of treatment Mary Beth Best, a great friend and mentor, told of her first days of sobriety. The old-timers (those recovering veterans with many, many, many years of sobriety) told her not to feel guilty for having a high bottom. She was one of the lucky ones. I've never forgotten that. I know how lucky I am. Blessed, really. But, why? Why did I get off the elevator so early?

God told me why.

I'm supposed to share my story. I'm supposed to heed the warnings. Of what's to lose, and what's to save. He has spoken to me many times in these last five months through the way I learn best, my learning style. "To-Doism!" I no longer HAVE to do anything. I GET to do lots of things. He saved me from myself. He saved me when I didn't deserve to be saved. He gave me a second, a third, and a fourth chance.


So I could GET to go to my daughter's school Christmas party and do the craft with 24 fourth graders.

So I could GET to drive six hours to Mary's Place a week before Christmas despite a long list of things to do, so that I could GET to share my story with other women.

So I could GET to clean a kitchen sticky with powdered sugar and melted chocolate after baking cookies with the kids.

So I could GET to return to Target for the third time in one day to shop for a family who had lost everything in a fire.

So I could GET to sit with my daughter on the Neuro floor at Children's Hospital for a 24 hour EEG three days before Christmas.

So I could GET to leave Children's Hospital with my daughter two days before Christmas.

So I could GET to take our truck to Tire Discounters for the third time in a  week to repair a flat tire ten minutes after GETTING the opportunity to volunteer on my son's field trip.

I'm a slow learner, but these last few months I've begun to count my blessings in all of the have-to-dos. I'm starting to feel them as Get-To-Dowhile I learn to live life happy, joyous and free... steering clear of all the yet-to-dos.