When I was a child I never thought much about a good night’s sleep. My mom always had us in bed at set bedtimes depending on our age. During the summer was the only time I got to stay up a half an hour later. As a kid, I just wanted to stay up as late as my brother. Fortunately for me, my mom knew what was best.
Due to my upbringing and my natural internal clock, I have always been early to bed (10 pm) and early to rise (6 am). Unless we have a special event, that still is my timetable. The only thing that has changed that over the years has been rising to feed babies, caring for sick children, and my reaction to my son’s addiction. Stress like that can really mess with your sleep. Constant worry about where he was, if he was ok and what could I do to help gave me countless sleepless nights. It changed me physically and emotionally.
I am grateful to say now that changes in my sleep are strictly related to aging. How have I overcome the sleeplessness that comes with being the parent of an addict? The first step was when he entered treatment. I knew he was safe and getting the help he needed. I was able to trust his care to others. I slept like a baby for 60 days.
At the same time my son was in treatment, my husband and I started going to 12-Step meetings. In 12-Step meetings you hear over and over about taking care of yourself and turning your will over to a higher power. All this time I had been going to the gym, and I knew the physical and emotional benefit it provided me, but I now also took the time to educate myself and get support from others. I also continued to attend church and worked on prayer.
We have had many ups and downs over the last few years. Fortunately, I have continued working on my recovery through it all. I work on taking care of myself and giving back to others. I have grown in many ways. I now know it is a lifelong process for our family. A good night’s sleep is necessary, just as it was necessary for my health when I as a child. But what has given me my night’s sleep back? As my journey has continued, I have learned to trust in my higher power. Going to bed and praying at night, I’m thankful for the day I just had, and when I wake, I’m grateful to see what unfolds in another day. Letting my faith come before my fear lets me sleep like a child once again.