Guilt and regret are the ugly Hyde to the Jekyll of sobriety, even years in. With new awareness, we relive past experiences---or in many cases bemoan what might have been. Pain and sorrow previously numbed by a drug or drink of choice is glaringly present, and strikes unpredictably---in the midst of a family gathering; alone, late at night; smack in the middle of an important work presentation, or during a particularly deep yoga class.
If there's one thing we've all been taught, is that the tenacious little guy can muster up the wherewithal to defeat a much larger opponent. I came across this scenario at a young age. When I was ten, my dad enrolled me in a judo tournament. Admittedly, this particular Eastern discipline commands as much respect as Jazzercise. But back in 1982, it was easily a solid 6 per cent cooler.
As a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, feelings of remorse exist frequently in the wake of nostalgia. I'm told that, with time, nostalgia and remorse will undergo a kind of mitosis, and begin to occupy different spaces in my consciousness. Until then, they are forced to coexist, making Memory Lane feel more like an unlit back alley.
Every person who's walked through my office door suffering from depression, anxiety, relationship or work problems, low self-esteem or addiction has a history of some type of adversity in their childhood. It's become clear to me by listening to their stories that were it not for these painful events, the person wouldn't be struggling as much as they are, today.
You wonder if it will ever get better. Wonder, too, if there really is a light at the end of the tunnel. Wonder incessantly if you will ever have energy again. All while you also wonder if you ever will see a semblance of your former self again. I hear you, friend, and I truly feel for you. I remember those days.
After what feels like a lifetime of battling drug and alcohol addiction, and my own tenuous mental health issues, three years ago -- at the age of 47 -- I finally found the strength to tell my wife and adult son that I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Like too many other survivors of childhood sexual violence who decide to go public with their disclosure, I have lost contact with my mother and my siblings as a result. If you really want to know how to destroy an already fragile soul, take away the one thing that a survivor of sexual violence needs most -- connection, which equates as validation and worthiness.
My experiences of childhood sexual abuse -- of incest -- had stolen many aspects of my life but most importantly, my identity as a Tamil woman. After I moved out, I was shunned not only from my immediate family members, but my uncles, aunts, cousins, distant relatives, family friends -- my Tamil community. It didn't matter to my 19-year-old self why you weren't there for me. The fact of the matter was that you weren't. I felt hurt and abandoned.
One of the earliest memories from my childhood is when you'd come home, I'd help you take your shoes and socks off. Memory is a funny thing though; it's not always accurate, but more importantly, and particularly in your case, it's oftentimes fleeting, and unreliable. You may not remember this, or at times fail to even understand, you have an illness called dementia.
Typical milestones are not the ones I celebrate with excited texts to my husband and best friends, or give my kids gleeful celebratory hugs over. In my own experience -- and I think that four kids under the age of seven counts as experience -- these are the baby and childhood milestones that are really worth celebrating.
Although we have more leisure time in our lives, we are having less fun. We could reap the benefits throughout our lives if we would give ourselves permission to indulge in some childlike fun. Realizing that I might not have been taking fun seriously, I'm committed to now share freely my own particular brand of fun without hesitation with anyone who asks.
For the most part, Hailey is just like any other seven-year-old. However, this past December, she was diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition called Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Hailey's wish is to have a pop-up camper so that she can go camping with her family and friends and play in the woods, stare up at the stars, stay up past her bedtime.
UNICEF recently released a report card ranking child well-being in the 29 richest countries on earth. Canada came 17th, placing us in the bottom half of the pack on factors such as child poverty, emotional well-being and life satisfaction. It's time to have a frank conversation about how our country approaches early childhood.
"Stop the car!" My son's shout panicked both my friend, driving, and I, fearful we were about to collide with something or someone. Liam pointed out the window at a women who had just walked past us, struggling to carry a laughably insurmountable load of grocery bags and boxes. "I need to help her," said Liam. And he did.
Summer is a time for play, and kids know it. The pressure is off, and it's time to relax! Homework and tests are replaced with bike-riding and swimming. If you're lucky, you even get to go to camp. What the kids don't realize is, there's as much to learn at camp as at school, and those lessons can't be taught with books. What they're learning is how to deal with life.
Being a good parent isn't always about supporting your child in their endeavours no matter what. Was it better that we showed our children our support even though we knew the probable outcome, or would it have been a more prudent decision to have been honest with them from the outset, saving them from wasting time and worse -- the inevitable disappointment of failure?