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It’s so much easier to say it than it is to do it. Lately, I’ve been realizing that I have much work to do. For the last 4 years, I have been struggling to reconcile the fact that I don’t have children. The other day, my mother and I stepped into the Pump Station and I just about wanted to curl up and die – or abduct a baby, whichever came first. Having something you don’t want is one thing, but not having something you want is a whole different ball game, at least for me.
This last month has been one of the hardest of my life and considering the things I’ve been through during my short 25 years on this planet, that says a lot. I’m no stranger to heartache, to disappointment, to emotional pain that chews you up and spits you out. But I’ve never been used to this kind of pain; the pain that results from wanting something so badly and not being able to have it.
In October, I finally found out I was pregnant. Those were the happiest two months of my life. Nothing could have ever compared to the joy I felt, as I prepared my body and my life for that little baby. But on December 16th, we miscarried. And nothing, nothing, can compare to the pain I felt as I felt that dream leaving me.
When I was using drugs and alcohol, there wasn’t anything I wanted, besides drugs and alcohol. I had no goals, no dreams, no passions, no desires to achieve anything. I was in school but I never went. I had a job but I never went. I had friends but I never called. I was too distracted with my addiction to realize that I was in the middle of this thing called life.
But once I got sober, that changed. Like many things do. I started to see my life moving in a direction I had never seen it going in. It was almost as if I’d wake up and wonder who’s life I was living. My sponsor would say to me, “If you want to give god a laugh, tell him your plans”. It was clear to me that I wasn’t in control. I had given up control over my life because I obviously didn’t know how to run it. Overnight, my life had completely changed for the better. I had friends, a relationship with my family, a roof over my head, food in my belly. I was a student, and held down a full time job. And while things seemed perfect, I also began to realize that life without drugs is still a series of ups and downs. In my addiction, the ups were always celebrated and the downs anesthetized. In sobriety, I had to learn to accept that things were going to happen and I couldn’t change that. I wasn’t always going to be happy with God’s plans.
This year has been my biggest lesson of that. I have always wanted kids. I have wanted kids ever since I was a kid myself and I asked my own mother for a baby.
“A real baby?” she replied.
“Yes, a real baby. I want a baby.” I said.
I was six years old. Miraculously, she became pregnant and gave birth to a little baby girl. I can’t imagine how disappointed I would have been had this miracle not occurred. I’m sure I would have had tantrums about it for a while, as was my colicky nature. I was so in love with that little baby girl. I didn’t want anybody else holding her or playing with her or changing her. I wanted to bathe her, feed her, put her to sleep. I wanted to do it all. She was mine and twenty years later, she still likes to remind me that I “asked for her”. (I then kindly remind her that I can ask them to take her back).
Yesterday I said to B,
“I don’t feel like the right person.”
“What do you mean?” He asked.
“I feel like I’m doing one thing but I’m supposed to be doing another. Like I’m trying to work and be in school but I only feel 75% complete. I feel like there’s this big hole.”
In AA, when people talk about the hole that’s inside them, the hole in their heart, the hole in their gut, AA responds with,
“You’re trying to fill a hole with drugs that can only be filled with one thing. Your hole is a God-shaped hole. It can only be filled with God.”
But mine isn’t. My whole is not a God-shaped hole. It’s a wife and mother-shaped hole.
In AA, they also say:
“Lana, you can either fuck the pain and die or you can face the pain and recover.”
Simple as that. And they were right. To run and hide from the things that make my life less than perfect, would be to die a tragic death. Because running and hiding only means one thing: drugs.
You see, my alcohol bone is connected to my heroin bone. There’s no having one drink and going to bed. There’s no smoking one joint on the back patio under the stars and twinkling glass lanterns while laughing joyfully with my friends. It’s only drinking bottles in my car, while trying to find the last pill from the empty bottle that I just dropped on the trash strewn floor. Or crawling on my hands and knees in the living room, with tweezers in my hand, trying to find a microscopic piece of heroin. Or scraping the inside of a straw with a paper clip for some leftover cocaine. There’s nothing pretty about a social drink. For me, a social drink doesn’t exist. So, when my heart starts to crack, even if ever so slightly, I don’t have the option to lean on a crutch. My crutches are all gone.
When I went through the heartache of miscarriage two months ago, the idea of falling back into old habits briefly cross my mind. But the wheels started turning the option of using drugs to cover my pain, quickly disappeared.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last few years it’s that if I ever want to be able to take care of someone else, I have to take care of myself first. Which means, no drugs, no alcohol. When I feel as though I’m slipping and my grasp on the world surrounding me weakens, I remember that the only way I’ll ever get what I want is to accept what I have now.
I’m not a mother yet but one day I will be and that’s why I keep moving forward.