Tomorrow I will be 5 weeks sober. I’ve been thinking a lot about what has gotten me to this point. Those of you who read my blog will know that I have been trying for months to get sober. I had 20 days last March or April, and almost a month this summer (but I had stopped posting), and COUNTLESS day 1’s, 2’s and 3’s in between.
A sense of belonging to this sober blogging community has helped me a lot. These blogs have been here for me and not a day has gone by that I haven’t checked in online. I am not a big poster. I have no intention of becoming a writer. I enjoy writing, and I used to aspire to write, but it’s not the most important thing to me. Really, reading these blogs every day, commenting, connecting, and learning about everyone’s tools and strategies has been so important on my path to sobriety. I have a couple of sober penpals that I email with, which is amazing.
This is a concept from AA, and I don’t totally understand it yet, but surrendering has been something that has been working for me. Surrender to what, I am not completely sure. The universe, maybe? Life energy? It is more the fact that I surrender the fight. I give up trying to control my desire to drink. I give up on the internal dialogue telling me that somehow it will be okay to drink again, or that I can magically moderate now. The urge comes to drink, the thoughts come trying to convince me it’s okay, I start the back and forth, and I just say to myself, “Self… Surrender. Give it up. Let it go. Move on.”
I was emailing with an addiction counsellor, someone that I had met a bunch of years back under different circumstances, and he said to me that the trick of addiction is the thinking of “just one more”. He said if I can break that pattern of thought then my life will open up. My drinking has been a series of Just One More Night and Then I’ll Stop. The problem is, there is always another night! There is always tomorrow. It is never ending. So as soon as I hear myself think something along these lines, I remember that this thinking is the problem. It is a big giant lie. And so I try to live in the moment and I don’t drink.
Just as much as a lie is the illusion of how good it feels to drink. I had some good times, this is for certain! It was all sex drugs and rock n’ roll for a lot of years, and I wouldn’t give a lot of that up. But it had pretty much stopped being fun. I was miserable and trapped in a self-imposed prison. This is becoming clearer and clearer to me. The beginning of a drinking evening, that might feel good for a bit, is always going to lead me to a place that I hate. That is just the truth.
Things were pretty dark. My turning point to get me where I am right now was actually the suicide of Robin Williams and the suicide of my husband’s friend this summer. I don’t want to die and I realized that it could be possible for me to feel so low and in a moment of despair, end it. I don’t mean to sound morbid, I am just being honest. I had been connecting the dots for a while now and seeing how awful my mental health became when I drank heavily (which was usually how I drank). I decided that I wanted to do whatever it took to not feel that way anymore. I decided to go through whatever I had to go through to get sober. To feel all the feelings. I am only starting my healing, obviously, but I have to say that I already feel so much better. I feel joy and peace and confidence and excitement.
I think I am being brave, and slowly, the veil is lifting. My vision and my life is starting to expand.
I have started to think about other things that make me feel alive, and have started to do those things more. Yoga, hiking, spending time with friends, being outside, reading, learning, seeing independent films, cooking while listening to music. I have started to dream about what I want to do with my life again. For me, this has been crucial. Doing all of these things sober, so far, has been hard at first, but excellent. I feel moved a lot of the time, like my senses are coming alive. I feel inspired again. I am having beautiful moments of serenity and connection. And this is only the beginning!
Anais Nin was right. Have courage.