It feels like there has been a heck of a lot of change happening in my life lately. Or maybe it’s always that way. They say that change is the only constant in life, and this, I know is true. If I don’t like how I am feeling usually all I need to do is wait a few hours or go to sleep, and sure enough, it will shift.
But really. There’s been big changes and small ones. In the last year or so, I have started a new job/career, I have gotten sober, I have made peace with important struggles, and now I am moving house. I have been in my current home for over 8 years, the longest time that I have ever lived in one place.
We have built so many memories in this place, both good and bad. Almost my entire relationship has taken place in this house. We moved into it when we had been together for less than a year. I completed my master’s degree in this house; we have both hated jobs and have changed jobs; we went through some very trying financial times; I learned how to cook and appreciate food in this house; I have hosted bbq’s, work celebrations, birthdays, baby showers, new years parties, thanksgiving, themed dinner parties, a wedding reception, and sadly, hosted a wake in this house, we were once pregnant and imagined growing our family here- and then we didn’t; we housed dance parties and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning; I’ve wailed in this house because I lost people that I love way way too early; I’ve had my book club over every few months for over half a decade, sitting around the kitchen island eating home made treats; I’ve learned how to can and pickle in this house; I’ve practiced a ton of yoga and meditation in this house; I’ve savoured my view of the mountains every single day from this house; I’ve spent countless nights awake in this house; and I’ve drank more wine in this house then anyone will ever know.
If these walls could talk they could spill my secrets. They could tell about all the evenings I spent alone, drink after drink, hiding and replacing and covering. The nights I cried myself to sleep because I was so sick of drinking and I couldn’t stop. The mornings I spent staring at myself in the mirror, wondering what had happened to my life and how I had gotten so out of control. All the times I threw up. All the times I couldn’t get out of bed or off the couch. All the wasted moments.
I never want to forget what I went through to get here because I never want to go back to that.
I battled addiction in this house.
I got sober in this house.
It’s been a time of reflection for me, sorting through old belongings, photos, and clothes- packing the details and stuff of our life. I do feel like a new chapter is opening. I will move into my new home a solidly sober person! Those walls won’t know the me who drank so much and cried so much. But I won’t be a new person. I still believe I am still the same person as I was when I was drinking myself to death, but the positive side of myself is much much stronger and the negative side is smaller.
I know joy on a much deeper level than I did before. I had glimpses of it while I was drinking but it never got the chance to stick around for too long. I battled depression for many years. I don’t know that I won’t battle it again some time in the future, but I do feel as though I have healed. Or at least, I am healing. I didn’t know how to deal with my emotions, so I drank them away and as a result, I caused myself many more problems. The more time that passes, the clearer my addiction becomes.
I was reading today about a concept called radical acceptance. It means to fully accept this moment that you are in. It sounds simple but I think we spend a lot of time resisting our experience and wanting it to be different. No one wakes up and says I want to have an addiction. So we dance around it and make up stories and negotiate with ourselves to deny it. We can not change the past or what has happened to us. We may not understand the reasons why, or, maybe there is no clear reason why the things that happen happen. It doesn’t change the fact that it has happened. We don’t have to like it, want it or appreciate it but accepting it will help us to adjust and move on/forward/through.
The simple plain truth is that I was/am addicted to alcohol and it was ruining my life. Once I accepted this truth, fully and completely, I was faced with the choice to fix my problem. My life was never going to get better without fixing this.
I did lots of therapy and I studied yoga and meditation and health and healing for years while I was drinking but, like joy, these teachings never sunk in because most of my energy and power was enslaved to my addiction. I could never heal my emotional wounds or grow as a person because I was actually poisoning myself for years. How can a wound heal when you neglect it? How can you grow when you are drowning yourself?
So I am raising a toast to this house, these walls (edit- a non-alcoholic toast, obvs). They have been through a lot with me, they have seen me at my very worst and thank god they have now seen me coming into my best. I am leaving this house now, and I feel free.