There Are So Many Kinds Of Wagons.

As I have contributed tons of content to me “A Better Me” category on this blog over the years, I’ve learned one thing: There Are A Lot Of Wagons.

I mean this in the way that addicts, specifically alcoholics, reference wagons. You know, “falling off the wagon” indicates that you’ve had a falter in your sobriety. I’ve always felt like the proper way to address a lot of my issues (especially the stress-binging one) is to look at them like addictions, but as I start getting many of parts of my life on track I find myself thinking about the term “falling off the wagon” often.

I’ve given up Diet Coke. I’ve stopped binge eating. I’ve gotten on a good exercise program. I’ve stopped yelling at my kids. I’ve stayed present in my days. I’ve been mindful. I’ve spread joy.

I’ve done all of this at least a dozen times. And then I’ve stopped doing each of those things at least a dozen more times.

And every time I fall of the wagon – whichever one it is – and it takes me a long time to even find the damn wagon on the road again, much less climb back up.

I’ve been in a good place lately, but I feel like every day I’m repeating the mantra: One Day At A Time. I can tell you specifically that last Monday I almost fell off ALL OF THE WAGONS. But a reset and a run with a friend who was also struggling…all of that helped keep me on.

Wesley’s back in a not-so-great phase again. We’re not spitting on me but he’s had a few meltdowns that involved hitting and I’m really focusing on being deliberate and consistent with my messages to him. It’s exhausting but I know it’s necessary. I have to control my temper if I’m going to teach him to control his.

I’m working on my martyr syndrome. I handle a lot of the domestic responsibilities in our house, but I tend to fall into a trap where I sometimes do it with bitterness because I want recognition when no one actually asked me to do it. I want the “we are so lucky to have a Mom/Wife who works so hard!” attitude every day, but I’m not going to get it. So I need to learn to do those tasks with joy in my heart, or I need to mandate a division of labor. I’ve gotten better about both parts of that, I do more with joy, but I also ask for help periodically.

The eating/training has been on track for awhile, and that feels great.

I’m doing better at time management, especially at the end of the day when my brain is fried. Most days after work I want to cook the simplest dinner and then veg out in some way or another. But yesterday? I cooked stuffed peppers, did housework, got everyone to soccer, and then came home and got my stuff ready for this morning.

SO DO YOU SEE? I’m riding a lot of wagons lately. AND IT FEELS GREAT. But it also keeps me very aware of how easy it is to fall off and how hard it is to get back on. I feel like I’ve been struggling for a year to even get on ONE wagon, much less several at once.

I think of the fake Mad-Eye Moody often. “CONSTANT VIGILANCE!” One day at a time. I can’t think about staying on all of these wagons forever, the task is too daunting because I can see how bumpy the road is ahead of me. BUT. I can think about staying on them today. And if I fall off one, it’s easier to climb back on if I’m still on the others. I can’t let myself get discouraged when one part of my life falters and throw the rest down the crapper. If I fall off one, I try to stay on the others while I climb back on. And then I commend myself for climbing back on every time I fall.

constantvigilance

2 Comments

  • AlisonC

    I think that if you are regarding these missteps as addictions then one day at a time is the best way to keep on track. Isn’t that how the 12 step programmes work? But it is also a way of dealing with what happens if yo do stumble – tell yourself that it was only one day as well then get back on the wagon.

    PS I think you are sometimes too hard on yourself. No-one is perfect despite what we all post on the internets.

  • Laura

    I holler out “Constant vigilance!” at least once a day. However, Kim, you get to be human, too. I mean, be the best human you can be in that moment, but faltering is OK.