Part of what I find the most glorious about being sober is when I find my way there. You know: there. Where you knew you needed to be all this time, but then there was that wrong turn at Albuquerque ugh! And who folded the map this way? Somehow your inner GPS sends you in the right direction in spite of all the “Are we there yet?” and stops for the bathroom. Oprah calls it “light bulb moment”. I call it “there”. About compromise? I’m there.

My life has children. And other people. Which means my life is full of compromises. And plan changes. And this way. And that way.

I realized something: stop that. It hit me like a ton of bricks.

Stop. That.

When I was drinking my life was full of compromises too. Every day I drank, or was hungover, or tried not to drink and then drank anyway: compromise. Bending. Making concessions to make it work out.

I notice that my compromises usually end up with me clutching the short end of the stick and wondering what just happened. That I tend to make sure other people’s or easier needs are met. That in interest of peace I retreat, although sometimes I don’t go gracefully, I go.

I think I’m confusing “compromise” with “giving in”.

I’m a peace-maker. And a care-taker. I want there to be happy. But I do this for other people. So, I’m taking care of someone else, or meddling mending fences for another person. But I don’t do these things for me.

I realized suddenly: wait a minute here! WHY AM I DOING THIS? Why am I yammering on and on for ten minutes about this rule and why that thing? Why do I not stand up for myself? Why can I not have my rules, my way, and stick to it? Why do I waffle and waver? Why am I making my own life so hard?

Why am I making my own life so hard.

I have to laugh a little since that sounds totally dramatic.

But totally true! Gah! Why do we make things so hard on ourselves? Why do we give in even when we know it will totally suck? Why are we so afraid of hard, fast rules? And why will I put myself out for someone else, but I won’t make things easier for me? Is it easier when I make things harder because that’s what I’m used to?

I can hear the answers to those questions: It doesn’t have to be hard. I don’t have to give in. I like rules. I will take care of me. Yes! I make things harder because it feels comfortable. And I’ll work on that.

Suddenly: I’m THERE.

Ready for this next part. Able to start practicing being a negotiator, not a doormat. Having some guidelines. Guidelines: rules I have and hold that guide me, that flashlight-in-the-night show me the way.

With my children: there are rules. Some are not bendable, or earn-back-able. Some things just are.

With people in my life: there are rules. Some are not flexible. Some just are. I’m still learning to stand up for myself and say what I mean and not try to fix it all. Making other people’s problems their problems. Not compromising my sanity for your stuff. Asking myself “Who’s job is it to fix it?” or “Is this the right decision for me?” and my new favorite “Can I really handle that?” And then listening to the answer.

With me: there are rules. Some are not stretchable. Some just are. Remember to follow them even when these new ones feel weird and not at all like the old days.

Being sober gives me this sense of pride that I never had before. Pride in the cherished way, not pride in the puffed up way. That pride makes it easier to see when I need to bend, and when bending makes me break.