Ask for what you need

Waking up this morning to a grey sky with a crisp white snowy landscape was lovely. Unemployment doesn’t seem quite so terrible and inconvenient on mornings like this.  It was peaceful to sit in fleecy leggings while sipping tea this morning pretending to be some care-free gal who knows nothing about her car insurance bill coming due in two weeks.

Reality is still out there but today is about recharging my batteries and a little bit of self-care. I’m going to update my facebook status with updates including yoga and chai lattes but in the interest of transparency, I’ll admit to an episode or six of Intervention and a bag of cheesy poofs.

Self-care has become one of those annoying buzzwords in the last few years.  Much like “go-to” and “no-brainer”, which I both abhor, yet still use.  We talk about it a lot in recovery because it’s an essential part of self-preservation and doing what’s best for you. I try to practice it in theory, but like everyone else, I still have a life to keep up with and attend to and attention to oneself is often what falls through the cracks.  Often we don’t feel we deserve it and therefore not only is it not a priority, it barely registers on our radars.

Now, self-care means more than the stereotypical bubble-bath, especially to alcoholics. There are just as many facets to self-care as their are types of gin. There’s emotional, spiritual and physical self-care, not to mention mental and social. It can be as straightforward as setting boundaries with others to simply asking for what you need.

Asking for what you need is brilliance in its simplicity. The first time this was suggested to me I almost laughed at the ironic absurdity of the approach.  Why, asking for what I need?!?  No way. Surely it’s more layered and complicated than THAT?!?!

It’s not.

A few weeks ago my family and I had a holiday obligation to honor that none of us were especially excited about, specifically me. I had obsessed and projected and mentally spiraled the outcome of this said event into such a negative spin that I almost hyperventilated.  Yes, this event that HAD NOT EVEN OCCURRED YET.  I had to sit my sweet husband down and ask for help. I shared with him my concerns and fears and even when my hot molten crazy spewed forth from my insane alcoholic obsessive brain, he got it.  I’m not saying it will always work or you will always even be heard, but isn’t it worth the effort to at least try? My husband knows my foundation of sobriety is strong, but he also knows that those waters can get choppy and rough over circumstances like this and it’s not worth fighting a wake of resentment if it can be avoided.

And you know what? It worked out just fine. It wasn’t awesome, but it wasn’t miserable, and the people that mattered most were kept in focus. Isn’t it funny how the right thing to do is so often the hardest thing to do?  Why the hell is that?!  Sometimes just setting some boundaries and asking for what you need can get results that work for everyone, most importantly you. Recovery is hard work and I don’t think ANY of us need an EXTRA reason to get drunk these days.

Now this is not to propose that you get cocky and show-offy with your new found luck in communication.  For instance, after this last success I chose to exercise my newfound boundary skills by claiming to have come down with a terrible case of ANAL GLAUCOMA as an excuse to avoid a work function at my husband’s company.  “What the heck is that”? he asked.  “Oh, it’s nothing serious,” I replied. “It’s just that I can’t SEE MY ASS doing that” and then I laughed so hard I farted loudly at the same time.

It’s pretty awesome being married to me.

2 thoughts on “Ask for what you need

  1. Carol Z says:

    Here’s what I need right now: to tell you how terrific this post is!! And it’s pretty awesome being your friend, too. ❤️

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