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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

I'm a hypocrite...

Spring has sprung… I think. Maybe I should hold that thought for a few more days. Just when I start enjoying the beautiful day, we are hit with an awful day. Aren’t we past that six-week groundhog thing?

With the advent of Spring, my mind turns to fresh ideas to help me find other things than alcoholism to occupy my time. That is to interject some laughter, delight, etc. into my very full schedule. Without that break from caretaking Riley, I would become too stressed to do anything at all.
In the OARS Groups, I always push for the members to find their passion. Or at least find something that instills a sense of self into their lives. For some of the members it means taking a part-time job; or taking a class; joining a book club; create something; cook something; or anything else that they can do that is outside the realm of the alcoholic. The term often used is “detachment.” I don’t particularly like that term, but, OK, I can use it here. I don’t think of it as actually detaching, but rather finding oneself and learning to thrive in the midst of the chaos.

After it had been suggested that I “slow down” by my doctor, I felt a bit defeated. SLOW DOWN? I feel as though I’m already going rather slow. I don’t do a lot of physical activity and I can’t control the craziness that Riley sometimes generates, so I’m not sure how she means that I should slow down. In the back of my mind I’m thinking that there are certain things I do that I won’t compromise on – like writing this blog or creating live OARS group meetings.
I was still pondering the question when I was joined by my granddaughter. She, also, had been thinking about how I could slow down and she was in agreement that knowing me, it was not likely to happen. So she took another stance on the situation. In her opinion, for me to slow down might mean that I should relieve myself from a bit of stress. She wanted to offer a suggestion on how I could do that not by reducing my tasks, but by adding a task.

She showed me pictures of her daughter in dresses and outfits that I had made for her. She reminded me that making those clothes brought a lot of happiness to me. I remembered. I remembered how pleased I was and how calming it was for me to make those clothes. It was something that I truly enjoyed doing and I didn’t see it as a chore, but rather a reward. I agreed that I missed sewing and wished I were able to do some now. And why wasn’t I? I mean really? Why wasn’t I making the time to do something I loved to do that was so completely outside of the chaos circle?
I gave it a lot of thought. I was being a hypocrite. I was telling all my members to do what they love. I quoted from the book “Do What You Love – The Money Will Follow;” “Who Moved My Cheese;” and “What Color Is Your Parachute”. And here I was only partially taking my own advice. I do what I love, but it is only because I’ve been inside the chaos for so long. I write my blog, which I love. I push forward with the support groups and other activities, which I love. But, there are projects that were pushed to the back burner in the process. What about the family history book that I started? What about planning a family reunion? What about designing children’s clothing? All that got pushed aside so I could focus on helping others.

I see no reason why I can’t take back something that I love -- like designing little girl’s clothing. It is not stressful and it is productive. Most importantly, it is something all my own. Riley can’t touch the happiness I get from watching my great-granddaughter light up with anticipation when she knows I’m making something for her. Alcohol dementia cannot sneak in and ruin the feeling I get when I see her proudly wearing her new, original outfits. When she says “I don’t need to go to Macy’s because I have MeeMaw”, there is a sense of pride that overwhelms me.
But there is an issue. It costs money to create those outfits. Money is tight. So how do I make this cost-effective? My granddaughter was way ahead of me. She suggested that we start a children’s summer clothing line. She had already talked to two other people who were willing to help make this a reality. We would have a fashion show using the young girls in the family as models at our “grand opening show.” It was clear that she and her cohorts had planned this out and waited until they could meet all my objections before presenting it to me. I’ve been told that I say “yes” way too often and “yes” was the answer to the question – would I be willing to start Carolina Sunshine Creations?

It’s already started. We have already put together the fabrics (from my fabric stash), designs and how they will be presented. Carolina Sunshine Creations is a reality. Primarily it will be sundresses, shorts, capris, tops, and cover-ups all mix-and-match coordinated. There will be matching hair bows, sunglasses, flip-flops and beach bags. The designs will be simple and each dress/outfit will somehow be unique to any other in the line. Since we live in a resort area, we will focus on the tourists vacationing at the beach. The clothing will be offered only between May 1st and September 15th. We hope to start a web page soon so the clothing can be purchased on-line. If this goes well, we will create Halloween costumes and a holiday collection. But, for the most part our main focus will be on summer clothing.
I don’t know if we will turn a profit. If we do that’s great, but if we don’t our profit will be the fun of working with my daughter, granddaughter, great-granddaughter and my granddaughter’s mother on a project that will bring us all closer together. My personal profit will be that the experience will help me thrive instead of just surviving.

If you are inside a chaotic circle and need some respite from the insanity, find a way to do something just for yourself. There are lots of avenues out there. Just a few may be: Volunteering; Reading; Writing; Tutoring; Cooking; Sewing; Working; and any other thing that may be close to your heart. I hope my readers can offer other suggestions on finding your passion.


jo said...

that is a fantastic post and ideas! we tend to find our ways to help others in our journey..indirectly still trying to control the addiction. but who better than us to do this?

wonderful idea, linda. its so important to do things for ourselves. to stop life insanity just long enough to do something for US.

ADDY said...

I love dressmaking too and I think that is a fantastic idea. Go for it!

Syd said...

Glad that you are doing this and have regained your passion. I tell the fellows I sponsor the same thing: Find something you enjoy doing and pursue it. It is a great way to find peace and happiness in the midst of chaos.

Alisa Matteson said...

Linda, I found it hard to relieve myself of the chaos alcoholism brings to all those it involves.

Even trying to meditate kept taking me back to thoughts of many things that had to do with the daily life in the times of alcoholism.

Even now that the alcoholic in my life is deceased, I have to practice on doing things for myself and keeping a healthy schedule for all those that need me.

I can complicate things so easily and I must work on just relaxing and focusing on what makes me happy. I feel selfish doing so at times but after all is said and done, many need me still and I remember to humble myself but to treat myself as well.

I remember our Mom making us clothes and looking back at photos we (my sister and I) laugh at the floral designs it was made with!! She was always good with her hands and thrifty to make something with what she had on hand!!

Thank You Linda, for all you do!! Treat yourself to just some good ole R&R!!

Love and Many Prayers,