I am so happy to be home. Arriving at home was not without some calamity during the 72 hours it took me to get here (of course)- but I am home now and that’s all that matters.
My step- son asked me how it felt to be home because he said I looked like I was “lost”. It’s true though- I don’t know how to act right now. I have been working 12-13 hour days everyday for the last 5 months, one day off during that time. Now I have time. All the time in the world with no specific tasks to complete.
I find that I am coping with the initial signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I am hoping it is just a temporary “readjustment” issue but I am worried. I am uncomfortable in open rooms and find more comfort sitting here in my room than I do in the living room that is open. I started having graphic nightmares 3 months ago. When you hear a loud bang over there everyone experiences the same feeling of “what was that????????..duck and cover”. Being in Afghanistan you have certain amount of …. uncontrollable chaos I guess…that everyone else experiences. We all get it over there. I am fortunate here that I can talk to my husband about all of the stuff that goes on over there and he can relate because he has experienced the same stuff.
Yesterday we were driving and we saw some bizarre random act of violence! We saw a small pickup deliberately ram a car stopped at a stop light…and continue ramming them! The victim finally maneuvered out of the way and sped off with the other car in pursuit. Weird. Normally that sort of thing would have been horribly traumatizing too me. Random acts of violence have always done that to me. Not yesterday though..I just sat back and said … “hmm, don’t see that everyday.”
I understand why drinking becomes a crutch for people with PTSD. I have a strong desire to slow myself to down to a speed that I can handle….or at least make the world appear to slow down. This two weeks home is important to me because I am learning how to cope without drinking with the support of my husband. When I come home for good in May there is a good chance he will be working overseas…. so my major support may not be here when I get home. I am looking for the tools now so I can continue to use them when I get home.
I am approaching 500 days of sobriety. Time sober is like time in Afghanistan- it goes by fast. Sobriety is a gift that allows you to enjoy life more thoroughly. There is not magic pill that you can take to make you WANT to be sober. Sobriety is hard work. For a long time I felt like there would be a magic last drink that would ultimately be “enough”. Like I could plan my last day of drinking and then the last drink I took that night would be THE one to finally satisfy my craving for alcohol. That drink doesn’t exist. When I first sobered up -the liquor aisle of the grocery store was tormenting for me! Like all the bottles were taunting me to get me to drink. Every alcohol commercial or ad was somehow personally directed at destroying my hard fought sobriety. Now I see- being sober is a daily decision. Somedays you will have to decide several times in a day whether or now you will stay sober. But most days I don’t have to make that decision.
I am grateful to be alive and well. I have learned in being in Afghanistan that there are a lot of people who do not have control over their daily lives. If you don’t have control over yours…wouldn’t today be a great day to start?