Diwali: Celebrating the Spirit of Light and Love

Diwali: Celebrating the Spirit of Light and Love

My paternal grandfather passed away on the day of Diwali. I had never known him. He passed away long before my parents got married. Every time I think of him, I feel a soft gentle wave of love from his heart and a hidden smile on his lips. I have heard from a few relatives that he was a short-tempered person, but nevertheless a gentle one if you know what I mean. My paternal grandmother’s sister (who passed away just a few years ago, and she is another beautiful soul about whom I shall write another day) used to talk a lot about him, and all the wonderful stories I have heard about him are through her, and a few of course from my own father too. 

However, I could never mourn my grandfather. Because I never knew him.

I only knew of him in a celebratory sort of way or as a legend, the way my paternal grandmother’s sister spoke about him. As a child, I did not understand why my (joint and extended) family never celebrated Diwali when all my friends did. My brother was more vocal about it. He asked questions and finally, our father saw through our confusion, and also our need to feel belonged to the community we lived in. My father also is a very soft, gentle, and compassionate person who puts the other person’s needs in front of his. He probably did not want to disappoint the family he was born into by disturbing their day of mourning. But now with two extroverted and high-spirited children, he did not want to disappoint them either.

So finally we started celebrating Diwali.

We burst crackers, hung out with friends, shopped till we dropped dead tired, decorated the house. Having done everything people did on days leading to, and on Diwali day, we felt better about the whole thing initially. We are not a religious family. In India, Diwali is all about a spirit. It is not about religion – well though of course it is a festival of lights, and signifies good over evil, the day the Lord won over the demons, and so on.

But Diwali is more about the spirit of community, celebration, unity, love, and light.

It is like Christmas in India – that is, you just celebrate it because it feels good, it feels happy and it is in the air. 

A lot of times, on Diwali we used to travel to Chennai, and spend time with our extended Heartfulness community in the Heartfulness center because that was also so much fun for us as children. As we grew up, we did that more often, and that was more joyous, as we had a nice reunion with a lot of family and friends in Chennai in the Heartfulness center, where we used to spend a couple of days during and after Diwali. 

After I got married, the idea of Diwali changed.

My husband’s family believed in celebrating Diwali more traditionally, and I felt I should honor that, to the best of my capacity. I did what I could in my wisdom and knowledge at that time. Earlier, our father went out of the way to make us feel happy, cherished, and give us a sense of belonging. I remembered our father making sure everyone felt the spirit of love, light, and kindness. And well, I felt inspired to emulate that, in my current small capacity, at that time. 

This year and the past one have been tough for all of us including me. Today, our son, his friends, and our community refuse to burst crackers, and I appreciate that so much. He says he has taken the ‘green pledge’ in his school and refuses to pollute the atmosphere with the fumes from the crackers. I think I honor this more than anything else. Diwali is yet another day in his life. My son’s friends just hang out and play Minecraft or football. Or they just spend those extra hours of the holiday in their Lit-club or Debate-club. Or sometimes, just switch on the AC, close the door of the room, and make some music album covers. And what do we do as a couple? It is a day of rest and respite, a day for catching up with each other.

The spirit of Diwali stays on, in spite of things that have changed so much in our respective lives.

The spirit of Diwali, is about leading us from ignorance to knowledge, from darkness to light, from death to immortality. The Sanskrit verse which signifies this truth is from the Upanishads, one of the ancient texts of India. Once, I had this most inspiring moment of feeling belonged to this extraordinary heritage and rich culture. That was when I heard the lyrics of the background score from the movie Matrix. Those lyrics which signify the spirit of Diwali made me feel part of this ancient wisdom and evolutionary path too.

So, whatever you do on this Diwali day, enjoy the light in your heart, the love in the air, and peace in the universe.

And of course, listen to the background score from the movie Matrix! 

असतो मा सद्गमय ।

तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ।

मृत्योर्माऽमृतं गमय ॥

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

***

asato mā sadgamaya,

tamaso mā jyotirgamaya,

mṛtyormā’mṛtaṃ gamaya.

Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

***

From ignorance, lead me to knowledge,

And, from darkness, lead me to light,

From death, lead me to immortality.

Peace, Peace, Peace. 

Purnima Ramakrishnan

Purnima Ramakrishnan is an UNCA award winning journalist and the recipient of the fellowship in Journalism by International Reporting Project, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her International reports from Brazil are found here . She is also the recipient of the BlogHer '13 International Activist Scholarship Award . She is a Senior Editor at World Moms Blog who writes passionately about social and other causes in India. Her parental journey is documented both here at World Moms Blog and also at her personal Blog, The Alchemist's Blog. She can be reached through this page . She also contributes to Huffington Post . Purnima was once a tech-savvy gal who lived in the corporate world of sleek vehicles and their electronics. She has a Master's degree in Electronics Engineering, but after working for 6 years as a Design Engineer, she decided to quit it all to become a Stay-At-Home-Mom to be with her son!   This smart mom was born and raised in India, and she has moved to live in coastal India with her husband, who is a physician, and her son who is in primary grade school.   She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness Meditation.

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Raising Healthy Kids  – the Myth Busters

Raising Healthy Kids – the Myth Busters

We all have BEEN THERE, DONE THAT! Rolled our eyes at other kids’ snack boxes filled with French fries, glared at kids settling down with a bag of chips in front of their TV, though there was no hope for the Mom who let her kids pick up the candies near the billing counter at supermarkets and vowed to ourselves we would never be THAT mom…

Yes, that’s how judgmental I was before I became a Mom. My ideal world had a kitchen where there would be sumptuous home-cooked meals every night, school mornings with colorful Tupperware (the coveted brand for durable plastic back in India) snack boxes filled with equally colorful and nutritious snacks of mind-boggling variety and not the same Roti – aloo (Indian bread with potato) and lemon-flavored rice that my Mom bored us to death with,  a dining table with fruit baskets filled to the brim and a family for whom dining out was strictly once-a-week indulgence!

And then life happened, kids happened.  One vivid memory from my kids’ childhood was the time when my daughter was born and my 4-year-old son was struggling with the huge changes at home. Just when I decided to return to work, he suddenly refused to eat meals, and while at work,  I would be teary-eyed and plead to my Mom (who had joined us in Kuwait to help us) on phone begging her to somehow feed him a morsel of rice ..even if he demanded to have his rice with tomato ketchup 🤦‍♀️. Oh and then during their early schooling years, there was the stage when I would stock my refrigerator with different canned juices and sausages of all kinds thinking these were nutritious choices for the snack box. Weekends – I was too tired to cook and almost every meal during the weekend was a takeaway or dine-out.

Then as we grew up  (yes, I grew up as a parent in ways I hadn’t imagined), we had our share of health issues (be it battling my son’s asthma, my daughter’s eczema, or my own battle with the gastric ulcer). Gradually, we navigated our way around our lifestyle and have found that balanced middle-road solutions work best. My Chef-hubby finally managed to convince us that processed meat of any kind is a big No-No in this household. He would teach me to prepare grilled and shredded chicken in batches on weekends and freeze them in small bags to make sandwiches for hurried school mornings. Our family physician bluntly pointed out to me – when your child is okay with eating fruits, why would you even give them a choice of canned fruit juices! Out went the juice cartons out of the refrigerator only to return on occasional sleepover nights. We also gained the Zen-like wisdom that we would crave for cookies ONLY if the kitchen stocked cookies. So cookies and biscuits or even my children’s favorite Indian savory snack of Murukkus or Chaklis were slowly removed from our regular grocery list. And the baskets loaded with fruits  DID become a reality in my household, the mantra being – if you are hungry, grab a fruit. To some of our friends, they still felt like extremist measures. But for a family leaning towards obesity as a genetic trait, a certain (at least a wee-bit) discipline had to be enforced.

More than anything, as an expat Asian, I have realized that sometimes in our zeal to stick to our native cuisine in a foreign land, we forget to appreciate or let our kids appreciate and enjoy the local produce and cuisine. With time, our taste buds became acclimatized to the best of Middle Eastern cuisine too. Bottles of Laban (a delicious beverage made with fermented milk) replaced the canned juices and flavored milk in their school bags. Toum (a creamy Lebanese garlic sauce) became their favorite to go with bread or rotis, instead of Mayo. Now when they return from vacations in India, the intrinsic craving is for Chicken shawarma (Middle-eastern sandwiches with slow-roasted chicken) instead of KFC or McDonald’s. We, adults, have evolved too.  The mild, yet immensely flavourful Majboos is slowly taking the place of Biryani in our get-togethers. So going local has made our palate healthy in many ways! 

Sometimes, we still give in to indulgences. That urge for instant noodles hits us on occasional evenings. Some weekends, we dine out more than once. But, my day is made when my 12-year-old daughter reminds me as I gaze longingly at the dessert counter at Cheese Cake Factory, “ Amma, you promised not to order dessert.” Or when my son brings me a cup of warm water early in the morning (after having his too)  and tells me firmly to skip my morning coffee. Those are the moments when my heart swells with pride.

We may not have accomplished our Utopia, but still have done something right for the children to still make conscious choices while having their occasional indulgences. 

As a mother, how have you managed to strike that balance in terms of meal planning without going overboard? Would love to hear your views. 

This is an original guest post from Preeti Vijayakumar in Kuwait.

She has spent her childhood across various states of India, but finally, put her roots down in  Tamilnadu. Graduating in tourism and hospitality management, some of her best years were spent as an ecotourism professional exploring the relatively unknown parts of India and showcasing them to discerning travelers.  Marriage then took her to Kuwait and opened her world a little more, while she continued to work in the corporate travel sector. 

But it was only after she had 2 kids that a sabbatical from work made her take up teaching as a stop-gap arrangement and eventually made her realize it was her calling. She now runs a small preschool in Kuwait and also teaches English to students who attend her classes more for the anecdotes and books and stories being discussed than the grammar lessons.

She loves to occasionally write on her blog and staying married to a Chef made her realize that food was one of the greatest and most creative ways of expression too. Raising a cheeky 12-year-old daughter and a rebellious 16 years older son keeps her busy writing and rewriting the parenting rules which can keep her and the kids sane. 
Her reflections can be accessed at http://ecobuff.wordpress.com

World Moms Network

World Moms Network is an award winning website whose mission statement is "Connecting mothers; empowering women around the globe." With over 70 contributors who write from over 30 countries, the site covered the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Most recently, our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan was awarded "Best Reporting on the UN" form the UNCA. The site has also been named a "Top Website for Women" by FORBES Woman and recommended by the NY Times Motherlode and the Times of India. Follow our hashtags: #worldmom and #worldmoms Formerly, our site was known as World Moms Blog.

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Self love is key of happiness

Self love is key of happiness

In a very fast pace world we lose connection with our true selves and we may become unaware of what really happiness means to us. Across my journey of growth and personal development I always came by the expression SELF LOVE. I remember very well the first time I heard this expression. It was twelve years ago, while studying coaching, in one of my sessions with my coach she said “Love yourself” and I asked “How can I love myself?” but she didn’t answer and since then I am looking for the meaning of self-love.

We spend years running to achieve different goals like earning more money, getting a new house, latest mobiles, watches , cars, clothes brands but we may still feel that our happiness is incomplete, something is missing. If I ask: “What happiness means to you?”; most probably I will get different answers about materials, other persons love, or achieving goals. They are all external ways or tools to bring happiness. While different psychological studies and spiritual practices found that happiness comes from the inside. It is within us we just need to dig deep to find it.

Let’s imagine two bottles; one contains crystal clear water while the other contains dirty water. If we pour clear water into the dirty water, does this latter become clear or does it remain dirty? It’s the same for us. Is it enough for a person with a lot of limiting beliefs, anger feelings,  hatred feelings, and negative thoughts to be happy, lasting happiness, just because they got a new car or a new house? I believe it is a temporary happiness because later they will look for a newer car or a bigger house. Real happiness starts from the inside of us when we can discover our true selves and purpose in life.

Louise Hay wrote, in her book “You can heal your life” that to make any change in our life we need to accept and approve ourselves exactly the way we are. I went to one of the Heal Your Life workshops in Egypt. It was an amazing eye opening experience,it helped me see clearly that everything in my life depends on how I see and feel about myself. To continue the work after the workshop I needed to do some daily exercises. The first was to repeat the affirmation “I love and approve of myself exactly the way I am” 300 to 400 times a day for four months in a row. The second is to repeat the same affirmation few times a day in front of the mirror while looking in my eyes. In the beginning, frankly, I couldn’t believe what I  am saying and when I looked in the mirror I started criticizing my face, my hair and how I looked bad, but later on these voices calmed down and I started to feel this love and its energy. It is real love. Last month I went to a retreat continuing the work of the workshop, and after several sessions and meditations I could heal my biggest childhood wound, feeling unloved and unaccepted the way I am from my mother; a very deep wound that prevented me from enjoying my life for years. Finally I could realize that the pain was because I couldn’t love and approve of myself exactly the way I am, now I feel totally different. A very simple action of self-love and self-approval can make a big difference in your life. Start today to repeat, daily, kindly and tenderly to yourself in the mirror while looking into your eyes: “I love you, you are beautiful, and you deserve happiness …” or whatever positive words that come to your mind and feel the love and happiness. This is how I bring more real happiness into my life. Do you have your own ways that bring you happiness?   

Nihad

Nihad is an Egyptian woman, who was born and has lived her whole life in Alexandria, Egypt. She says, “People who visited this city know how charming and beautiful this city is. Although I love every city in Egypt, Alexandria is the one I love the most.” She is a software engineer and has worked in the field for more than twenty years. But recently she quit her job, got a coaching certificate and she is now a self employed life and career coach. She says, “I believe that women in this era face big challenges and they are taking huge responsibilities. That's why I have chosen my niche -- women looking for happiness and satisfaction. I help and support them in making whatever change (career change, life change, behavior change, belief change…) they want to bring more satisfaction and happiness in their lives.” Nihad is a mother of two lovely boys, 15 and 9 years old. She states, “They are the most precious gifts I have ever had. I madly love them, and I consider them the main source of happiness in my life.” Our inspiring mother in Egypt can also be found at Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

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Sitting with my feelings

Sitting with my feelings

Sitting with my feelings

I consider myself a highly sensitive person.
Some might even call me too sensitive. I cry easily when I watch movies and get teary eyed when something moves me. If you would have asked me, I would have said, that I was totally in touch with my feelings

But it took a pandemic to realize that I wasn’t really processing my feelings: I was simply DEALING with them.

Oh, I was GOOD at dealing with my feelings.

I stomped around the house when I was angry, ranted about my grievances, had heart to heart talks ‘at’ my husband and retreated in my bedroom when I was feeling really sad.
All of that for a brief moment, than I pulled myself up by the bootstraps and it was business as usual.

Because I was REALLY GOOD at dealing with my feelings, getting over ‘it’ and wiping my single tear away.

There was a lot tugging at those bootstraps, as I occasionally shoved a bag of chips down my throat before breakfast or decided to kill all my extra time, by binging Netflix series. Sometimes I felt an awkward lump in my throat or a heaviness in my step, but I just kept on stepping until I was, once again, OVER IT.

I was doing GREAT.

The pandemic gave me a new perspective on myself. My rollercoaster of a life came to a halt. I was in between jobs and stuck in a house with my family. And it was quiet. No job appointments, no social gatherings, no family outings. I had all the time in the world time to take care of myself.
In the absence of all those demanding voices, I became aware of my own silent cry.

“You know that bad experience you had? You haven’t really processed that, you have just moved on. You’re still full of anger, frustration and grief and you are carrying it all around in your body. You smile but the corners of your mouth are getting heavy, like those bootstraps you keep pulling on.”

I started to listen to what my feelings were trying to tell me. I allowed sadness, discomfort and anger to show their faces.
Now, it’s becoming okay to sit in the discomfort of negative feelings. I’m allowing them to exist.

I sit with my feelings, I process, I heal and then, when it’s time: I move on.

Let’s be real with each other: what are your healthy and/or unhealthy ways to deal with negative feelings? I would love to hear about it!

This is an original post to World Moms Network by Mirjam Rose of the Netherlands. 

Photo credit to Sophie Burden. This photo was actually taken on a walking tour of Delft, Netherlands when World Moms, Mirjam Rose and Jennifer Burden, met with their children in 2018! 

Mirjam

Mirjam was born in warm, sunny Surinam, but raised in the cold, rainy Netherlands. She´s the mom of three rambunctious beauties and has been married for over two decades to the love of her life. Every day she´s challenged by combining the best and worst of two cultures at home. She used to be an elementary school teacher but is now a stay at home Mom. In her free time she loves to pick up her photo camera. Mirjam has had a life long battle with depression and is not afraid to talk about it. She enjoys being a blogger, an amateur photographer, and loves being creative in many ways. But most of all she loves live and laughter, even though sometimes she is the joke herself. You can find Mirjam (sporadically) at her blog Apples and Roses where she blogs about her battle with depression and finding beauty in the simplest of things. You can also find Mirjam on Twitter and Instagram.

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Advice for the First Bird Leaving the Nest

Advice for the First Bird Leaving the Nest

Years ago (many years but not many many), I headed to London to start University at the age of 18. Moving from Riyadh, where I was accustom to always asking permission from my parents before going out, having a chaperone with me in the car with the driver, and living my life as a little cog in a beautiful machine of family bonds and obligation for the priceless gift of a built-in support network.

Then suddenly I’m in London, freaking out at my sister for expecting me to take a cab home alone when I wanted to leave dinner early. It was a rude awakening, but I adapted quickly. It took one trip back home after feeling helplessly homesick to realize that home was there, very much the same as I had left it. And that was the beginning of my love story with London.

Today I look at Saud, my 18-year-old son, getting ready to go live in London, and I am sifting through my experiences to find some wisdom to give him. Some grain of truth that is still true today. Except I cannot find any that would be useful to him. 

Is it because he’s a boy/man?

Is it because he went to an American coed school and interacted with many different people from different backgrounds?

Is it because the world has become a fishbowl with the same exact references, musical preferences, and lingo?

If I knew then what I know now, it would be utterly useless as well. There is equally more and less to be scared of. Or just different things to be scared of. For me, as a parent, I mean. He has the baseless fearlessness any 18-year-old boy has, going into the world. 

I got married right out of University. And I had Saud before my first anniversary. 

Having him at the age of 23 means my memories, feelings, and experiences of those 4 years in London are clear in my mind.

Saud and his friend on graduation day

It also means that the lines blur in my head at times. Yes, I do know that I am preparing him for University, not myself. (My husband keeps reminding me.) But when I told my friend in London that I was feeling emotional about him leaving she said “because you’ll miss him? Or because you are jealous?”

And if I am being 100% honest, it is both. 

Before I go on, I am designating this as my safe space to say how I feel, not how I will act. So reading on, do not worry that I will a) hold Saud hostage in Riyadh or b) enroll in his University (I think he genuinely is a bit worried this will happen).

I will miss this cog in the machine of our family that will leave a space we will all have to move and adjust to fill. He has a significant function in this machine. I don’t want to get used to him not being here. When one of my children is away on a sleepover or such, there is something odd about the rest of us there without them, like a car missing one wheel. I don’t know if I want to get used to missing a wheel.

On the other hand, I cannot forget the feeling of walking into places full of people who have no idea who I am or who my parents are. 

The luxury of no one recognizing my name (because everyone knows everyone in Saudi) and asking, “How are you related to so and so?”

Or not having someone wall up to you to tell you they know your brother/sister/mother/cousin etc.

In London, you are just a person, in a class, with other people, and no one could care less. 

For a brief moment, you are just ‘you’. You are not everyone you represent (if you come from a community with big family trees and tribal roots you will understand where I am coming from).

What I also am, maybe, a bit envious of is University. I do want to do it all over again.

My son put so much more thought into it than I did and wants to go back in time and make better decisions.

Granted, we were of the first generation of women of our family who studied abroad. Actually, that’s not true… My mother studied in Switzerland, and we had many women graduate from world-leading universities for generations. But we were the first in our small community, I guess. 

There was not a calling behind me choosing my major. My sister went into “Visual Communications”, So I went into it because it looked fun.

I want a do-over. But with a time machine. I have no inclination to enroll, as a 41-year-old with a bunch of 18-year-olds. 

I want to share with you the advice I gave my son for his first time away from home and ask you to share with me your advice for him. Although some of mine are based on our culture and religion, it does not mean the principle behind it does not apply elsewhere. At the core, we all want and need the same things. To continue to pray on time and with intention*. It took me a while to figure out that praying is for my benefit. That I need to pray, not have to pray. We begin to ask our children to pray with us at 7 and are expected to pray consistently from 9. It doesn’t always become a habit at that age, but it’s something we all do at the same time every day, 5 times a day. Eventually, it’s a habit. But the beauty comes when you do it with intention. The benefit of habit is exercising your ability to consistently do something every day of your life. How would that work if you applied the same commitments to other areas of your life like exercising or reading or work? The spiritual benefit is standing between God’s hands every day, 5 times and day, and opening your heart to Him. To leave any situation that goes against his values. I remember clearly being in a specific situation where people acted in ways that went against my values. And I just sat there. I want him to have the strength to leave when he’s not comfortable. This is the only time in his life he will be held accountable to himself alone. Before this, he was held accountable by the teacher and us, his parents. After this, he will be held accountable at work. Now it’s entirely up to him what choices he makes. There is a beauty in that freedom but also a responsibility. I want him to revel in it and at the same time not take advantage of it. To keep his apartment clean! Mostly because I plan to come by as often as possible and because it’s good life skills. I think there is no better indication of adulthood than a person who can keep their space clean! 

And then my advice runs dry. 

I have volumes upon volumes of advice I learned when I was a teenager. And I unfortunately still have to give my daughter.

Such as how to hold her keys between her fingers so she can punch someone and make it hurt if she’s walking home alone. 

How to always have a friend tracking her location when she’s going home after dinner. 

How not to leave a drink on the table un-watched if she goes to the bathroom in a crowded restaurant. But this is a whole other article.

 What advice can you give my son before starting University this fall? 

*As Muslims, we pray 5 times a day. While abroad for study or for work in a situation that does not always accommodate, we can pray some of the prayers together at one time for convenience. Praying is the foundation of our religion. 

Mama B (Saudi Arabia)

Mama B’s a young mother of four beautiful children who leave her speechless in both, good ways and bad. She has been married for 9 years and has lived in London twice in her life. The first time was before marriage (for 4 years) and then again after marriage and kid number 2 (for almost 2 years). She is settled now in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (or as settled as one can be while renovating a house). Mama B loves writing and has been doing it since she could pick up a crayon. Then, for reasons beyond her comprehension, she did not study to become a writer, but instead took graphic design courses. Mama B writes about the challenges of raising children in this world, as it is, who are happy, confident, self reliant and productive without driving them (or herself) insane in the process. Mama B also sheds some light on the life of Saudi, Muslim children but does not claim to be the voice of all mothers or children in Saudi. Just her little "tribe." She has a huge, beautiful, loving family of brothers and sisters that make her feel like she wants to give her kids a huge, loving family of brothers and sisters, but then is snapped out of it by one of her three monkeys screaming “Ya Maamaa” (Ya being the arabic word for ‘hey’). You can find Mama B writing at her blog, Ya Maamaa . She's also on Twitter @YaMaamaa.

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Alcohol Addiction: Swimming To The Surface

Alcohol Addiction: Swimming To The Surface

Two heavy blankets are on top of me. I am shivering so hard that my teeth are chattering but I’m also sweating so profusely that I look as if I’ve been standing in a rainstorm. My hands shake, my legs twitch, I pull my legs up under me and then I stretch them out, ball them up and stretch them out.

I repeat this routine for hours. I smell myself and it’s not good. I haven’t had a shower, and if I’m being honest, it’s been more than a few days. My stomach rolls and I’m nauseated. I try to drink water and Gatorade but I know they’re both going to make me vomit. My mind tries to remember when I last ate; I think it was five days ago but that might not be true, it could be longer. My hair is matted from the sweat and my curls are turning into massive knots. I toss and I turn and time drags endlessly. What feels like hours has only been an hour.

I always count down the first 24 hours because if I make it through the first 24 hours I know it’ll get better. I hope this time I don’t hallucinate. I’ve actually had that happen before and it’s extremely scary. As thoughts raced through my mind and anxiety and worry and stress and beating myself up for being so dumb once again, I wonder why am I doing this. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this; this isn’t the second time, third time or even fourth time. Detoxing from alcohol use is a hell that I keep allowing myself to go back to voluntarily.

The worst part about it too is that I am an angry raging drunk. I’m not a sweet, fun, happy drunk – I’m a lay-on-the-loveseat-binge-drink-and-cry drunk – one who lets all her anger from past traumas out on everyone around her.

I ruined my last relationship due to this. I no longer speak to my mother after the last time I cussed her out in a drunken rage. My youngest son no longer speaks to me due to how I talk to his grandmother. My dad and I did not speak until recently.

Every time I wake up from a binge I nervously look at my phone to see what craziness I’ve posted on Facebook, or what friend I have cussed out – and there have been quite a few. I have ended some really good friendships and it’s always so embarrassing to see what I’ve done, but I do it over and over again.

When I joined World Moms Network 11 years ago, this was not how my life was going. I was 37 years old and engaged to my now ex-husband. Both of my children were involved in sports and school, I was finishing my bachelor’s degree and working full time at a job that I loved, and then in 2015 I had a gastric bypass. I was so excited in the first year because I lost over 140 pounds. I’d never dreamed I could be that weight again. I never dreamed people would tell me I was beautiful and gorgeous. It was something I had never experienced.

My surgeon did tell me to get counseling, because whatever had fueled my food addiction would not go away. I didn’t listen. I did not know at the time that a large percentage of weight loss surgery patients become alcoholics.

I always like to tell people that when it’s sink or swim time, I’ll always swim. However, I’m no longer able to swim as easily. It started off where I’d be swimming fairly proficiently. Then, as my drinking progressed, I’d slowly start to drown. I would always get to a point where I’d realize I was drowning and kick my feet as hard as I could, and I’d swim, swim, swim back to the surface because I could always see the light. And then the next day I do it again, and the next day I’d do it again, and the next day I’d do it again. Over time my body has gotten very tired of swimming back to the surface. Every time I drown I feel like I don’t care anymore if I swim to the surface. Everything in my mind tells me, Don’t swim, just go ahead and sink. I’ve gotten really close to completely drowning a couple of times. My arms are tired, my legs are tired – but something in my brain keeps pushing me get to the surface and try it again.

So here I am, back on the surface, in the shallow end, trying it again. In addition to weekly therapy, AA meetings, and a strong network of support, I’m also taking medication. This time, things feel different. I’m still cautious, though. I am not going past the shallow end. Addiction recovery is not linear, and I’m wholly aware now of addiction transference. My goal is to heal my whole self and address the internal issues that led to the food addiction long ago.

Do you or a loved one have an addiction? Are you in recovery?

Margie Webb (USA)

Margie Webb is a forty-something, divorced mom of three biracial sons: Isaiah (25), Caleb (20), and Elijah (6/8/1997 - 7/2/1997) and two bonus sons: Malcolm (5/10/1992 - 10/9/2015) and Marcus (25). She lives in Lafayette, Louisiana by way of Little Rock, Arkansas, and enjoys traveling, attending the theater, cooking calling the Hogs during Arkansas Razorback football season, spending time with family and friends, and is a crazy cat lady. In addition to obtaining her Bachelors and Masters degree, she also has a Graduate Certificate in Online Writing Instruction and a National HR Certification through SHRM. She excels in her career as a Human Resources Management professional. Additionally, she has represented World Moms Network as a Digital Reporter at various conferences, including the United Nations Social Good Summit. Her life has been one big adventure in twists, turns ,extreme lows, and highs. After recently embracing her new lease on life and her identity in the LGBTQ community, she is excited about what is yet to come. She can be found on Twitter@TheHunnyB

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