For many people a new year brings to mind a new beginning. It's an opportunity to look at where you've been and where you want/NEED to go next. For some the New Year brings a commitment to stop bad habits and change old behaviors that haven't served them well in the past. But how does this apply to you? You're stuck in a never ending nightmare of legal issues, relationship issues, mental health issues, possibly even substance abuse issues at this point, but at the core of it all, you have children to raise and must awake from the nightmare and begin the task of committing to a new way of being. But how does one go about a commitment to lose the debilitating fear and anxiety that has plagued you for so long and been your constant companion? How do you learn to leave behind the debilitating mode of just surviving one more day and learn to live your life in a string of days, weeks, months and years just as you used to? What if you are so overwhelmed and blinded by your fear and inertia that you can't see three feet in front of you? "It's all too much, too hard. I' don't know where to begin so I'm not even going to try."
The first step toward a new life is to begin the process of removing the roadblocks that have kept you from forging a new path. But how do you remove those gigantic boulders that are blocking your way forward? It's going to take effort on your part. Doing nothing will get you nowhere and keep you in a place of fear. A body at rest tends to stay at rest. A body in motion stays in motion. The time has come to ACT rather than to continue to REACT. The sooner you can understand the dire necessity of acting in the now, the better off you'll be later.
The first roadblock you'll encounter is acceptance. You must accept the fact that life as you knew it is over. The happy family, the affluence you once enjoyed, the ease that each new day brought that was only tinged with the usual episodes of mild upheaval that all "normal" families have to deal with are in the past. What you are dealing with now is epic and requires an abundance of bravery and fortitude which brings me to the next block you must remove and that is an unwillingness to rise above the ashes. You must be able to put aside your pride, let go of being a victim, (which you are but getting stuck in that particular quick-sand pit won't serve you well), and stop hiding. Your children are watching your every move and looking to you to lead them through the dark forest of fear and humiliation that has been bestowed upon them by someone they love and who supposedly loved them. Your confusion and fear becomes theirs. Remember this.
You have been through hell and are likely still going through hell but if you are going to come through this you are going to have to commit to it 100%. In essence, you are going to have to raise the Titantic! It won't be easy but you must bring yourself back to life! And you're going to have to do this with or without outside support. But how? If you've never worked a day in your life and need assistance, then ask for it. There's no shame in getting help for yourself and your children while you seek training for a job or a roof over your head or food! If you've worked in the past but have been out of the paid workforce for many years it may take several months or even longer to find work in your previous profession. In either case, you will need to find paid work. Apply for EVERYTHING. Any work is better than no work. If you are far away from family and friends who can help with your children then by all means, move to wherever your support systems are.
The third roadblock is keeping the past in the present and not in the past where it belongs. How can you focus on the future if you keep looking back? Would you drive your car looking backwards? No. It's dangerous and you'd crash. Would you push a baby stroller backwards? Of course not. Navigate forward. Looking back keeps you in the past and in harms way. Looking forward will keep you moving forward. I remember when I learned how to ski I instinctively kept looking down at my feet, (like most new skiers do), and it looked as if I were going faster than I actually was, (a common illusion for new skiers). As as result I panicked every time I looked down and then crashed because I had not utilized the key ingredient in remaining upright and moving safely and pleasurably down the mountain. Because I was only paying attention to my feet and not on the rest of my body, I crashed every time and nearly gave up. Then my instructor taught me to look up and focus on where I wanted to go and to point my body in that direction and guess what? I forgot all about what my feet were doing and if I'd look right and focus on moving in that direction, well, that's where my body, (and my feet), would go! Just as she described to me. So whatever you do, don't look back and don't look down! Keep looking up, stay focused, point yourself in the direction you want to go and you'll get down the mountain safely. I promise you this.
Making the necessary changes this year will help you to forge those new paths that will lead you to your own new beginning and upon the arrival of the next New Year let's see where you are. You may not be very much further down the road but then again, you'll be making some progress and, well, isn't that enough for now? Step by step and day by day. We'll all get someplace else. And isn't that better than where we are now?
I'll be keeping you all in my thoughts and hoping for a better life for all us as we continue down the path of recovery and on down the mountain.