Stamp Out the Stigma, Just Keep Running

Alcoholism and running

My husband texts me that he loves me and says he is doing everything he can. I shunned him to a hotel earlier, an Uber drive away and the routine when I discover he has been drinking. 

My mother-in-law texts me not five minutes later, asking if my husband has gone to rehab yet or "has he chickened out"

All the while, I'm attempting to get my youngest son to take his medication through his spacer using "Finding Nemo" as a distraction as I count his inhalations. All necessary as he has a cold, and with a 50% collapse in his left airway, it's not easy to cough up that junk.

I lay down with my knees bent underneath me and bury my head in the couch. My mind and heart are just numb.

***

Rewind to four years ago and becoming first-time parents...that's us. Responsible for a tiny human. Our first-born son experienced a NICU-stay of three weeks which was still the toughest part of my life surpassing even my present-day problems. He still experiences significant speech and visual communication delays as a repercussion to his preemie-ness.

And fast-forward a couple of years later to our second-born son becoming all too familiar with urgent care and appointments that I could not keep straight. His congenital condition caused me to resign from my job and became a full-time stay at home mom while he has been significantly healthy ever since.

Yet as he recovered, I came to an unsettling realization that my husband was very sick, and in truth, is an alcoholic suffering from anxiety/depression.

I started running as MAJOR therapy for all that life has thrown at me but also to slowly, as recommended by my professional therapist, move myself up on my values list. I have spent so much time taking care of my family that my bucket is overflowing, becoming heavier by the moment.

Running helps empty the bucket. Actually, not empty but helps me put the bucket down for an hour or two. Or maybe I'm just masking the emotional pain with physical pain. Regardless, the running community that I've been lucky to become a part of has kept me fighting for me. Truly, why I wake up on the weekends for long runs instead of stewing in anger while feeling like a ticking time bomb most days is because my tribe has become my lifeline.

And so, after only completing a few 5Ks within the last 6 months, my first 10K a couple of months ago, my first half a couple of weeks ago, and after being rocked by the family disease of alcoholism, I did what anyone would do right?! I signed up for my first trail marathon+ (26.7) in altitude,  in October.

I know.

Crazy.

I'm going full throttle because I can control the work I put into training while everything else around me is chaotic. I am accountable while life is otherwise.

What lies ahead in the future for our family is yet to be known. I have NO clue. But with training for a trail marathon, I must trust the process and adapt to the journey no matter how trying and difficult. 

***

As I think about the numbness I feel, I get tackled. It's my youngest--"Finding Nemo" is on commercial break. He says something in his incomprehensible toddler language before he wraps his arms and legs around me. "Mmmm, mwaah!" (He gives the best hugs.) He and my oldest son represent the possibility of what's still to come. For that brief moment, I feel at peace with the impossible.

"Just keep swimming.” Strike that, just keep running.

***

Resources

Al-anon: http://al-anon.org/

National Council on Association and Drug Dependence: https://www.ncadd.org/

Stamp Out Stigma: http://stampoutstigma.com/