In need of a 7-second delay.

20Nov08

stop handThank God I’m not a radio host. I’d have incurred some hefty FAA fines tonight.

After dinner, I completely lost it with my 11-year-old (a.k.a. Control Freak Jr.).

She got frustrated while doing her homework and I got frustrated at her frustration.

She started yelling and I started yelling about her yelling.

She started charging up the stairs and I started channeling George Carlin.

The Foul-word Usage Count (FUC), to my best recollection:

“Goddamn”: 2

“fuck”: 3

“shit”: 2

Mind you, I didn’t say anything abusive to her or about her. My outbursts were more along the lines of “stopping this shit right now” and “that goddamn book.”

After she had tearfully retreated into her bedroom, I felt like…well…shit.

I promptly called my AA sponsor and got her voicemail, so I left a message explaining my situation and asking her to call me ASAP. There are three mini-bottles of white wine in my fridge right now — part of a four-pack I purchased to use in risotto the other night and in next week’s Thanksgiving cooking. It was all too tempting to break one open in the name of soothing my nerves.

I didn’t, though. By the time I left the voice message, I had calmed down enough to head up and talk things over with my daughter. She had calmed down, too.

I apologized and she apologized and we talked about getting frustrated and angry and how it all happened. We both vowed to try harder next time we sensed something like this coming on, and to not let it get so crazy. I feel that in spite of how it began, it ended well.

Back downstairs, I called my sponsor again to let her know I was okay, in case she’d gotten my message. She answered and we chatted. She told me it was a really good thing I’d done — calling her and not drinking. And, she said, by talking things over with my daughter and owning up to my angry feelings and my part in the fiasco — as opposed to just hitting the bottle and glossing over that uncomfortable incident, I had actually been a good role model.

Role model? Role model?

Fuckin’ A.

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7 Responses to “In need of a 7-second delay.”

  1. You’re only human. I’m glad it all worked out ok.

  2. 2 C

    Thank you. At the time, and for a long time afterward, I felt subhuman.

    But it did seem to work out okay – and this morning she was great, and so was I. Best of all, I wasn’t hungover.

  3. I did something similar in sobriety, sending my daughter to school on the bus with tears in her eyes from my yelling. I vowed not to do that again, and I haven’t. Reading your post makes me realize we are good role models, especially if we can learn from our mistakes and do better next time. Alcohol tends to make me learn nothing and do the same useless or hurtful things over and over and over again.

  4. 4 Liz

    This makes me really happy. LUMI.

  5. I think sometimes you just have to remember that it really is okay to lose your temper with your children. They need to see that people get angry but know how to deal with it. It’s normal. It’s part of life. Apologizing is always the bravest thing you can do, and it doesn’t happen enough! I am glad you didn’t drink. That must have been tough.

  6. 6 liz

    i know those feelings. i have been sober for 11 years and i am grateful. never grateful enough… i am hard on myself all of the time, all circumstances. the gratest gift of all is being sober for our children. i have enough guilt always trying to do the right thing, for good example teaching them by example. the cool part is not drinking, getting drunk, saying, looking acting stupid and have that guilt after. now, whatever happens, i know that i have done my best. our kids don’t know the life they have with sober parents and how much more stable the home is. i had an alcoholic dad, who died from alcoholism…when i was 13. my mom got crazy trying to fix him, look good on the outsides…..it was a scarey and sad atmosphere. you are a gift to your children and no matter what comes your way, you will handle it better sober with a clean inner self.

  7. 7 liz

    i know those feelings. i have been sober for 11 years and i am grateful. never grateful enough… i am hard on myself all of the time, all circumstances. the greatest gift of all is being sober for our children. i have enough guilt always trying to do the right thing, for good example teaching them by example. the cool part is not drinking, getting drunk, saying, looking acting stupid and have that guilt after. now, whatever happens, i know that i have done my best. our kids don’t know the life they have with sober parents and how much more stable the home is. i had an alcoholic dad, who died from alcoholism…when i was 13. my mom got crazy trying to fix him, look good on the outsides…..it was a scarey and sad atmosphere. you are a gift to your children and no matter what comes your way, you will handle it better sober with a clean inner self.


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