By Roberta Romero
The days are cooling off and the leaves are starting to turn as we head into Fall. For most this is a gentle turn into a new season. For me, it’s a harsh slap in the face. Yes, I know seasonal changes are normal and definitely not surprising, but, for this alcoholic, transitions are abrupt and scary. However, thanks to the tools I learned at Residence XII, I can face these “normal” transitions as well as the unexpected ones. And this year, I am dealing with a BIG one.
My twin daughters have left for out of state colleges this year. For 18 years I have had these girls and now lovely young women in my life. It’s hard for me to come to terms with the fact that they will no longer be living with me and under my watch and care. My head understands that this is the whole point, let your children fly, but my heart wants to clip their wings and keep them with me FOREVER-ha.
My counselors at Residence XII taught me that it’s okay to feel this way, I’m entitled to my feelings. I don’t have to pretend they don’t exist and then numb out with alcohol or drugs. By letting myself feel sad, scared and even a little jealous (oh to be young again, with the world at your feet) I’m still okay. The point is to feel and release. Acknowledge, process, and then let go.
In my early days of sobriety, I was naïve and thought okay, I felt my feelings, I let go, now I’m done. Nope, not that simple. I realize now that sometimes I let go, and then I pick it back up. I’m not sure why I do that, sometimes it’s because I am more comfortable feeling bad than good. Sometimes, it’s because I don’t feel like I deserve happiness. But I know that is my “addict” taking over. I can now listen and trust my “wise” woman, and thankfully return to, if not a happy state, at least a calm one.
Ultimately the most important gift/lesson I received from Residence XII is my support from my sober sisters. Before I got sober I had no idea that other women felt like me, or that other women would be willing to share their experience, strength and hope. I truly thought I was all alone. It was sad and scary. I know that transitions will always be challenging to me, but I also know that I will never have to face them alone. So today, I will link arms with my sober sisters and face any and all changes with you all by my side. What a gift.