Everything is upside down. I sometimes forget that I am still fresh into sobriety. I haven’t yet grazed the year end mark. However, it has become abundantly clear that I can think straight and trust my instincts. I’ve had my fair share of pain and I know that I can get through the uncomfortable times. It’s pretty amazing what happened this year since I extracted my head from my ass. Still, sometimes old habits die hard. In the big picture, I can see now that I have never really put myself first and I’ve suffered at my own hand. It feels selfish to do what I need to do for myself and my son, but there is a solid footing under these decisions.
I still crave being numb sometimes. I haven’t battled too hard with the actual cravings for alcohol lately, it’s more or less a need to escape my feelings. If I want to cry, the instinct is to suppress it. So instead, I’m fighting my learned behavior and trying to cope differently…and actually let myself have a cry. Last night I was sitting at the counter in the kitchen feeling emotional…I moved home to my mom’s with my son last month and I am feeling my world shift around. It’s a dichotomy of depression and happiness. My boyfriend and I want different lifestyles and have different goals. Everything is murky and undefined with us. However, I have my dream and a solid path ahead for my son. My son’s future comes first.
It’s been challenging to keep the bloodsuckers away. Over the winter I weeded out the friends who suck me dry and don’t give back. Man, those people are voracious…I am a magnet for complainers and chronic bad decision makers. Being done with drinking has allowed me to be done with bullshit. Once I saw how everything was connected, it became obvious that the drinking aspect was really just the tip of the iceberg! I have embarked on an entire life overhaul. I heard a lot of people using the word “authenticity” on the sober blogs when I first began reading them. I wasn’t sure how that would apply to me, since I figured I was pretty darn authentic at the time. Now I see that it takes a little time in the saddle to shake out all the bugs. It’s not just quitting a substance, it comes with much more work involved. The sauce is what stands in the way. Once you remove the vault door, there is quite a bit of exploring to do.
If I had to summarize my experience so far and give you an idea of what the landscape of getting sober has been like, I’d start with the physical basics. The first few months were a total roller coaster and it felt biological in many ways. I had to unwind from age old patterns and figure out the basics: learn how to sleep, manage my raging anxiety, return to eating normally, reward myself with mocktails, nourish my poor depleted body, play with supplements to get my brain chemistry working, allow my body to detox and heal, hydrate, and rest. After those basics were in place, it became less about physical things and more about the trajectory of my life. All these little decisions I made were adding up and suddenly I became aware of my TOTAL RESPONSIBILITY. I realized I was the one at the wheel. I stopped playing a part in the play and feeling out of control. It dawned on me that I was the director the whole time and life wasn’t happening “to me”, I had made all the decisions to put me right here and now. Equipped with a new found sense of life ownership, I began the process of reshaping my relationships. When I was drinking, I always had a fair share of shame to carry around. Maybe I said something I shouldn’t, or did something awful that I couldn’t remember. Sometimes it was a simple as feeling like I wasn’t being truthful with myself and in turn I didn’t feel like the best version of myself. I accepted more bullshit because I thought that I was the pot calling the kettle black. A part of me felt like I deserved it. I saw people taking advantage of me instead of realizing that I was the one allowing that to happen. Phase two was all about boundaries and healthy relationships. I made a plan to save my energy and spend it on myself (and the healthy people I love) and stop depleting my reserves. My world shrank down pretty small.
Now I think it’s about coming alive. I am remembering who I am at my core. I feel inspired again. I am making plans to better my life and create a good life for my little boy. I’ve made some new friends and they are teaching me what it’s like to give and receive. Apparently I never learned how to accept help up until this point. I am not strong arming it anymore, which feels good. I haven’t had even one drink in 9 months! It’s been amazing to see the things that were once out of reach becoming a reality. That is powerful to tap into. You have the power to change your life completely…and all it requires is fearless self inventory and dedication. I’m the proof that you can be a phoenix. Last November I hated myself…but now I feel proud of the woman I have become. I love her.