Grant Each Other the Grace to Feel All the Feelings

My back hurts.

My heart longs.

My brain aches.  I can’t remember shit.

My eyes are getting worse each day.

My knees are starting to ache.

My belly has given up.

I fret about money.

I worry about cruelty in this world for ALL our kids and animals.  Including all of us adult kids and animals.

I worry about  the failing Chicago Public Schools.

I worry about our politicians and their followers and the direction our country is going.

I worry about guns.

I lose my shit about all the injustice and rampant racism in the world and how it’s getting worse and not better.

It all makes me want to drink.  I won’t do it, but it makes me want a release that only drinking would give me.

Can you read all those things and just listen?  No telling me how to fix it or what you would do or that it’s going to be ok or for GOBS SAKE to cheer up.  That’s what I need.  That’s what so many of us need.  To be vulnerable and know that we will be received openly and safely and with love.  And yet so many of us never ever share for fear of repercussion.

Being a human being is the pits, isn’t it?  Being a sober human being can be equal parts wondrous and treacherous.  The worry and aching and longing can just threaten to overtake us and then what?  Do we drink?  Do we use?  Or do we power through it and act like everything is ok?


Worry and fear and aching are not in charge of my life.  I have the power to change my thinking, and  more importantly, I have the power to take action. Be the change you want to see.  In your community, in your home, in your workplace, in your children, in your head.  It’s all work, but it’s all in an effort to not let the shit run us over.

I am healthy.  Could I be healthier and eat better and exercise more? SURE.  My kids are healthy.  MY KIDS ARE HEALTHY.  The people I love most in this world and that love me the most are healthy and present.  I could just stop right there and say I am the richest woman in the world. When I feel overwhelmed, I write.  I share the load.  I don’t keep it in as that’s what made me drink and hide and I don’t want to do that today.

What is in my control?  What can I change right now?  What can I do today to make this better?  If the answer to those questions is nothing then, well, put that shit to bed.  There are things that are always going to be out of our control and when you can accept that (for me that means daily), life seems less stressful.

I gorge on Fiona Apple and PJ Harvey and yell and scream and cry when needed.  Better out than in.  Let’s grant each other the grace to feel all the feelings and not insist that we feel better immediately.  What would that feel like?

I have a girlfriend who says she wishes she would just feel better already as she’s been feeling the blues for a long time now.  It doesn’t matter. She’s trudging through and sometimes that’s the best we can do.  I think she’s incredible.  We are responsible for each other and need to look out for each other and really check in to make sure that it’s not the end, but other than that, we need to grant each other the grace to feel all the feelings.  And just love each other through it.  No matter how long it takes.

I write this one for you but also for me and for the daily reprieve we are granted if we keep doing the next right thing.  My life depends on it and now, I’ve got way more at stake today than ever before.  I have the tools, I just need to use them before I’m in too much pain.

I see you.  I hear you.  I won’t say it’s all going to be ok because it’s not.  I won’t tell you what you should do because you need to walk through this.  I will say that I love you and appreciate your feelings.  Vulnerability is hard. Let’s grant each other the grace to feel all the feelings.

If we allow it, the world will crush us.  I think back to the worst times in my life and even those didn’t last forever.  It all passes.  The good and the bad. We have high highs and low lows but most days are sheer bliss just in their normalcy.  That Groundhog Day thing where you wake up and do the same thing over and over, well, to an alcoholic like me, that normalcy is more than I ever hoped I could have.  It’s gd bliss!

And then I look at my kids.  I look at their kind interactions with each other and with us and I hear my girl say with the most sincerity I’ve ever heard in my life,  MAMA I REALLY LIKE YOUR HAIR RUBBER BAND.  IT IS SO SO PRETTY. About my yellow scrunchie that I’ve had for at least 20 years and I think, you know, maybe just maybe everything isn’t so terrible.

See also:

Do Not Kill Yourself

 10 Ways to Feel Bette r When Everything Seems Terrible

On Days When Sobriety is Really Hard

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