Today, I celebrate seven years of sobriety.
But there was a time I couldn’t imagine life without alcohol. And I was right. I couldn’t imagine a life without alcohol because a life without alcohol is better than anyone could imagine.
Ok, that last line was pretty full of cheese. But seriously. You guys. The life I live right now? Wouldn’t change a thing.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s not all unicorns and tortilla chips. I still get mad, sad, depressed, scared, worn out, bad hair days. Bad shit still happens. But (and this is the flippin’ sweet part) – I can handle the bad shit, without losing my own shit and making a shitty situation shittier. Basically, me + alcohol = lots of shit.
Seven. Siete. Sedam. Seacht. Saba. Syv. Yedi.
What changed (besides giving up the hooch)? I got tools! When my husband pisses me off, I talk to him (crazy, right?) instead of getting smashed and making questionable choices. When someone *cough my son cough* irritates me, I don’t explode in a fireball of unnecessary anger – I check myself before I wreck myself. I feel things! I feel the whole range of human emotion instead of chasing them away with compulsive behaviors. I find my self-worth in me rather than in a bottle.
In addition to better handling the hard stuff, I appreciate the good stuff more. Ordinary life is so beautiful to me. I love knowing there is no longer an undercurrent of anger and mistrust between my husband and me. I treasure quiet days at home. I can go out to places (with people!) and not feel like I have to impress everyone with how “awesome” I am. I can just be me, and it’s enough. So refreshing.
Though alcohol hasn’t passed my lips in seven years, I’ve only been working on the emotional stuff for one year. I have 30 years of compulsive behaviors to work on, as well as making amends to all the people I hurt along the way. Yowza. This is going to be a hard process for me for the rest of my life. But it’s ok—I welcome it.
On this happiest of days for me, I have some gifts to share:
For the newly sober:
Thank you for taking that first step. It is soooooo hard to do, but you did it! I’m so proud of you. If I may share what has worked for me: Take it slow – one day, one hour, one minute, one second at a time if you have to. Find your tribe – that community of people who will love and support you on your new path of sobriety. Work on loving and forgiving yourself. You are a person of worth and I’m so glad you’re here.
For the long-timers:
You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your stories so that I may learn from them. Doing the next right thing is so much easier with y’all cheering me on.
For those not ready to try sobriety:
It’s ok. We will be here if you ever need us. We will never turn our backs on you and if you ever decide you need help, all you have to do is ask. You will only find love here.
My heart is full of love on this special day. Recovery has made me a better human being, woman, wife, mother, daughter, friend. I like me, and I love that I can share it with all of you. Thank you for celebrating with me today.