I am finding that one of the biggest challenges I face in my early sobriety is dealing with my identity. When I was a drunk, I was just that, a drunk. I found out that it’s pretty difficult to be a mom and a wife while drinking myself into a blackout every day. It was difficult to be an employee, daughter, sister or friend as long as I had that bottle to keep me company.
It has been a long time since I had any form of identity. Once upon a time, I was a great mother to great kids and a great wife to an adoring husband.
Once upon a time, I excelled at every job I had ever had and I was everyone’s “go-to girl”.
If you needed anything you could always count on me.
Then one day I woke up from a six-year alcohol- and drug-induced coma wondering just where in the hell I was. What had happened? I realized that I knew nothing about myself. I was almost 35, and I didn’t know my likes or dislikes; my needs or wants. I realized that for my entire adult life I had been making decisions based on what I thought other people wanted me to do or what would make other people happy.
Now, with a new outlook on life, eyes wide open, and free from the bondage of that bottle, I set out to decide who I want to be; instead of a drunk. I had to take some drastic measures but knew that fear was not an option. I started to put some distance between myself and the things that triggered, manipulated and oppressed me. I was going to any length to keep my sobriety.
I knew that if nothing changed, nothing was ever going to change.
Over the last few months, I’ve learned a lot about myself. Some are silly things; like the realization that I actually like the color pink. I spent years thinking I hated it, but according to my collection of pink things, I was wrong. HA! I’ve learned that I was on autopilot for a very long time and that it is time to start going in a different direction. It is time to let my higher power take the wheel. I’ve learned what I like to do in my free time, and what hobbies I enjoy. These things are not based on some image that I am trying to uphold.
Who am I today?
I am a strong individual who can handle way more than she thought she could.
I can go after my happiness, and not settle for what isn’t working. I am a caring and compassionate person that believes that helping others is the only way to live a happy life. I am a person that is constantly looking for ways to keep my sobriety in check and not let anyone or anything stand in the way.
This wonderfully thought-provoking post was submitted by Heather and originally printed in April 2014.