Ignoring problems is something I was a master of in my earlier years. Wether it was a pile of laundry on the floor I was avoiding, financial issue, negative body-image or my bad behaviour, this alcoholic could keep myself moving fast enough to overlook anything if I wanted to.
To my family and friends this often came off as being lazy and lying. Their experience with me wasn’t always wonderful, there were times when I hurt someone and simply said a quick apology and kept moving, often repeating the pattern because I was doing nothing to remedy the situation. Loving someone who is an alcoholic or addict is a difficult thing, you can see the person’s potential but have the perspective to be aware of the downward journey their lives are taking.
Removing the Weeds
This summer we’ve been dealing with a weed in our garden. I had noticed this weed beginning, it was a little vine called Creeping Charlie but at the time I first became aware of it I didn’t bother to research it or get rid of it. It was actually quite attractive and provided some ground cover in a shady bit of the yard so I overlooked it without much thought.
On I went, grooming my yard, moving my eyes away from the affected areas over to the prettier parts of my yard…planting and enjoying it.
Meanwhile that Creeping Charlie was working it’s tiny roots underground, wrapping itself slowly around the life source of all the other plants/grass in my yard. Just beneath the surface that weed which I was ignoring was killing everything in its path. I had no idea this was happening, somehow I didn’t notice the dust patches in the grass; I reasoned the death of plants was because I hadn’t watered enough…..until the day we realized everything had died.
This pretty little vine had decimated my yard while I busied myself with other, my pleasurable activities.
This is how recovery from alcoholism works.
The Recovering Alcoholic Has Work To Do
Today my recovery from alcoholism is solid, today I’ve been granted a reprieve. This doesn’t mean that I’m cured….it simply means that I’ve cleared out all of the weeds from the garden of my life for today. This is actually a precarious situation.The same way the wee moved under the surface of my garden, my alcoholism is alive and well within me.
If I become complacent, over-confident or disconnected from my recovery those powerful vines will creep under the surface of my consciousness and begin taking over. This may not mean that I would pick up a bottle right away. This could begin with old behaviours and thoughts creeping in; selfishness, discontent, avoidance so many old behaviours which I refuse to accept in my life.
My garden recovery took loads of effort, between my husband and I we invested hours of sweat into sifting through every square inch of our garden to remove the weed’s root system. We then layer some healthy soil as a foundation for the new sod and perennials.
Over the next few weeks we will be watering and watching our beautiful new garden. Watching for the re-appearance of this weed is the key to ensuring it cannot ever take over again.
Each day I have to check myself, I can’t just roll along in life and ignore any weeds which may be taking root. This is an effort, perhaps different than physically digging up my yard but requires just as much focus and energy.
Vigilance is the key to the happiness and joy which life has to offer me. As long as I am willing to do the work, to hold onto my current perspective and sobriety for dear life I have the opportunity to flourish without those nasty weeds slowly killing me….
Are you clearing the weeds out of your life?
Chandra Christine O'Connor says
I try to weed them out but sometimes those dang roots hang in there.
Oh how true! Exactly why we have to be vigilant
Great post…and so true!!
Ida Mae West-Simone says
Julie, so insightful as always. The weeds can manifest in so many different forms, and they impact so many people in our lives. You are so right about staying on top of them.
John Burns says
A great metaphor, Julie. Those creeping vines are a lot like addiction. They are there, just beneath the surface. Hang in there and keep up the great work!
Dani Cloutier says
great metaphor – i really enjoyed this post
aneta alaei says
Love this post Julie, it is an everyday battle that is for sure. I have a weed question though, I have what looks like lettuce all over my yard, any idea?
I just did a quick Google search and there are many: Miner’s lettuce, prickly lettuce or Bull Thistle?