“Hey, little one! Yes You Little Miss Sober, sitting in the back seat of the bus! Can you please come up here, and sit by me, your bus driver?”
I’ve seen you back there, quietly minding your business, but I’d like for you to sit in the front row now. I’ve ignored you too long, and it’s time for me to be your protector.
And you get to be my new co-driver!
So here are the rules. There are some bullies on this bus and you need to know who they are… and if they come too close to me, it’s your job to tap me on the shoulder to warn me, okay?
See that loud, sassy girl, the one who won’t listen to the rules? She never stays safely in her seat. She is the one dancing in the aisle and bugging everybody else! She’s the wine witch, her nickname is Witchy. Witchy likes to stay up late and break all of the rules. She likes to tell me what to do. Witchy thinks that she should be the bus driver. She used to sit where you are now, but she isn’t safe, so she can’t sit by me anymore.
Witchy has to sit in the back seat.
See that bossy boy, the one who thinks he’s always right, and likes to pick fights? That’s Beer Boy. Beer Boy likes to hold hands with Witchy, and when they sat in the front seat together, he would convince me to trust Witchy after she was bad. Beer Boy lied to me, and so he can’t sit up front anymore either. He needs to sit in the middle of the bus, away from Witchy and away from me too.
Sometimes I will have to stop the bus, and get out of the driver’s seat. When that happens, Little Miss Sober, I need for you to sit in drivers seat until I get back.
I might be out doing something tough, like changing a bus tire, all by myself. Or I might have to round up some rowdy kids and get them to stand in a straight line before they can get on the bus with us.
It will be your job, Little Miss Sober, to sit in the bus driver’s seat until I give you the thumbs up that I’m back and ready to drive again.
You are my co-driver.
When the day is over, and everyone gets off the bus, you get to come home with me! On the way home, we might stop at the grocery store for dinner. I promise that I will listen to you for dinner ideas; better yet, you get to pick out dessert! Now, if we happen to see Miss Witchy and Beer Boy at the store, your job is to hold my hand and squeeze it tightly. We will stay away from them because they don’t live with me anymore.
Little Miss Sober, you may be small now, but you are going to grow up with me. As you get stronger and grow taller, I will always be there to hold your hand, too. Some days, I will need your hugs when I’m sad… and if Miss Witchy and Beer Boy ever TRY to pick on you, I promise that they will not hurt you! Even though you are little now, I will always Protect You. I won’t ignore you anymore.
I promise. ❤
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.
Sometimes I think of my sobriety as simple as riding a bike.
Do you remember the first time you rode a two wheeler? Maybe you were 5 or 6 years old, with the safety of training wheels stabilizing your efforts. There may have been a Mom or a Dad (or both!) walking along your side, encouraging you to multi-task.
“Keep looking forward. Your feet will do the work on their own, watch the path ahead!”
“Don’t start pedaling too quickly! Slow and Steady!”
“Nice and steady…. your steering just fine. No sharp moves, follow your eyes.”
“Perfect! Now, let’s apply the brakes, softly, Softly, SOFTLY!!!”
Once you had enough practice, the training wheels were removed, and your Mom and Dad learned the fine art of jogging without losing consciousness, for you had the strength and coordination to ride the bike on your own!
And then, one day, it happens:
“Oh no, you fell off!!! Are your knees okay? No road rash on your hands? Good thing you were wearing your helmet.”
“I know that Dad told you to look forward whilst you were steering. Were you distracted by the cute squirrel along the sidewalk?”
“The squirrels will always be there, sweetie. Don’t focus on them; just be alert and get ready to steer around them or brake if they run into your path!”
The first few tries to get sober are like this young child, looking at the grown ups who make riding a bike look so EASY! Why don’t they ever get distracted by the beer bottles and wine glasses lining the streets? How come they don’t fall down?
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.
Know that even experienced bike riders can get distracted…. but later, after pedaling for so long, they’ve learned to count on the basics first taught by Mom and Dad. Riding the bike becomes second nature, which gives the opportunity to look up and enjoy the sights…. enjoy the family, the nature, the love that surrounds us. As confidence grows, the ability to let go of the handlebars grows, too!
But if you are new to riding a bike, and you need those training wheels, that’s okay! The important thing is to keep pedaling… If you fall, it’s okay to cry, but brush your knees off, straighten up your helmet, make sure the chain is back on the sprocket, and get back on that bike.
Protect Your Quit. 🧡
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