Liz looking into a bottle of gin

I Created a ‘Busy Mum Story’ Which Always Ended With Alcohol

I used to lock myself in a cupboard, in a glass bottle and only let myself out at 6pm when I would pour myself into a wine glass and take a long, comforting sip. That’s how it felt. It felt like when I was drinking alcohol I was finally allowed to be me. I believed that alcohol set me free from my busy mum life.

All day long I was 10 different people: mum, songwriter, dog walker, daughter, listener, giver, cook, taxi driver, accountant, wife. I was hella busy! After all that I just wanted to be me; to be released from my glassy cage and set free into the glorious evening.

But it was all an illusion. Rather than setting me free, alcohol was limiting me in ways I am still coming to terms with 2 years on.

I Told Myself A ‘Busy Mum Story’ About How Little Freedom I Had

For some reason I told myself a story about how busy I was and how I was always the last on the list and that I was responsible for everyone else’s happiness and only then could I be happy. I was a mum martyr – Oh don’t worry about me. I’ll just sit on the floor and hopefully some crumbs of happiness will fall my way.

Why would I tell myself this story? Why would I choose to be last on the list? Because this story suited my underlying motive  –  to let it all out at the end of the day when alcohol would set me free.

I didn’t want balance because balance felt hard to maintain. It’s much easier to swerve wildly from Jesus Christ I literally cannot fit another job into my day to Fuck it, I’m drinking! That was my balance and it was a downward spiral to depression, self loathing and alcohol addiction.

The Busy Mum Story

This was my narrative:

The kids need to be dropped off at 8, picked up at 3, taken to drum lesson, piano and football. They want help with homework. They won’t go to bed. They won’t get up. POOR ME!

My husband wants to know if I paid an invoice. My emails want to know if I received the last email. I write a song. I think it’s good. Nobody else does. POOR ME!

A dog pukes. A gutter overflows. The car won’t start. I’m so busy! Fuck them all. POOR ME, POOR ME, POUR ME A DRINK!

My Story Always Ended With Alcohol – Clever

See how exhausting it was to be me? See how effectively all that led to me having a drink?

While I was single handedly saving the world, my real self was locked in a bottle in the drinks cupboard waiting to be set free. What a massive waste of life. I was doing and working and giving and taxi-ing and being a busy mum but I wasn’t really there. There was no real me-investment because in the back of my mind the story was constantly running. I’m always last. How much longer ’til I can stop serving everyone else and I can just be me again? And at some point that question turned into clock watching – When can I be me? When can I have a drink?

So How Did I Change?

I stopped telling the busy mum story and I stopped drinking alcohol. Nothing else changed.

I still have to cook dinner, shop, work, listen, drive, give, clean up, write and all the other things life offers but I don’t constantly bitch about it to myself anymore.

The huge irony is that when I look back I realise that I always loved this stuff. I never hated the multi faceted nature of my life, I just told myself I did. I look back and see that I have always loved my time in the car with my boys, between music lessons and school, chatting about their lives, listening to tunes, being together. Dinner time is a lovely opportunity for us to be together, downloading our days. What would you rather – no dinner, no kids, no family?

When I get stressed about this stuff I remind myself that everything around me is there by choice. My choice. And when stuff I didn’t choose pops up, I put my badass pants on and deal with it because I am not actually made of sugar and spice and all things nice, I’m a fucking warrior when I need to be!

Alcohol Didn’t Set Me Free – Choice Set Me Free

So here I am, right now, writing this blog and I am fully me. In a while I will go and make dinner for the family and I will still be me doing all of those things willingly and even gratefully because I have re-written my story. Actually, there’s no story. It’s just life.

I choose to be busy because I enjoy my work. I choose to feel every range of emotions because life is too short to be numb. I choose family and all the craziness that comes with it. My kids still don’t always get up on time or tidy up after themselves but I’m choosing to let some shit go. I choose to step over the pile of clothes in the hall because I choose balance not perfection.

I choose to release myself from the alcohol bottle and schedule regular meetings with myself throughout the day. First one is in the morning on my yoga matt. Second is some time in the afternoon for a walk or just a bit of staring out the window. Third one is with my journal in the evening or with a long hot bath, a hot chocolate and an old film.

No, I don’t have much time for me because I chose a family, 2 businesses, a blog and I also like to see friends and have my kids’ friends here loads too. I choose. I CHOOSE!

Are you a martyr? Is it serving you or is it serving your drinking? Would you rather have a drink at the end of the day or be happy? It’s your choice.

 

 

©LIZ HORSMAN 2020

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