Well here I am, at the crest of 8 weeks sober, and it seems a good time for another reflective post. And yet as I sit down to write, I’m not sure what it is I have to say. Sobriety is no longer new; it’s no longer exciting. It has become, well… normal.
56 days in, I find I don’t have the “a-ha” moments that I did at the start. I’m not triumphing over habits and cravings, because those habits and cravings have ceased to exist. I’m not rediscovering my interests and passions; I’m simply living them instead.
I have settled into a daily routine – into a lifestyle – without my long-familiar props, and I’m happy to say that it suits me just fine.
What does stand out to me is all of the time, energy, and space that has opened up in my life. Instead of spending my evenings zoning out to the television, wine glass in hand, I find myself crocheting, coloring, cooking, cuddling. I have the emotional stamina to process my thoughts, my feelings – even my worries – and to let them go. I have the mental space to consider new opportunities, to make new plans, to knock on new doors. Simply put, I have so many more chances to be present, to live my life instead of just surviving it.
And really, as I write these words, I realize that’s what I had been doing for so long: surviving my life. I was living in the future, always waiting for and worrying about what was coming next. And I was living in the past, consumed by experiences and hurt that I couldn’t let go of. I was living in fear that if I removed the crutches with which I hobbled along life’s path, I would be flooded by my demons, unable to move an inch in either direction.
And yet, on the contrary, I have never felt freer. I have come to see that in pushing myself out of the nest, in taking that leap of faith, I was also making a strong statement of self-belief. I was saying, “I can do this,” even though I wasn’t at all sure that it was true.
I have in fact spent years practicing faith on mere principle. I have wanted to believe that if I put the right energy out, I would get the right energy back. I have wanted to believe that things happen for a reason, that there is a time and place for every moment. I have wanted to believe in cosmic justice, in a guiding force too large to see. And so I have spoken the words and thought the thoughts just hoping to co-create their truth. A purpose, a wisdom, a balance in the universe – it was all I could do to believe.
The more time that I spend with myself, the more that faith begins to evolve. I find myself asking less and less for answers from the universe and more and more for answers from myself. In moments of doubt I turn inward, led by a powerful sense of my own intuition. I have started to understand that the very thing that is so much larger than me is in fact also the thing at the very core of me.
Talk about a shift in perspective.
I can imagine that to an outside reader, my musings may be starting to sound like a particularly mellifluous AA espousal. So let me be clear: I am in no way saying that using alcohol was preventing me from having these realizations, from taking taking these actions, or from fully engaging in my life. Using alcohol was just a secondary symptom; it was a bandaid covering the real problem.
The problem was that I did not trust myself. I did not believe that I had all that much left to offer. I was afraid to even be alone with myself, quite certain that I would not like the person I found there.
The real problem was that I did not know myself at all.
I knew what I loved and what I hated, what I desired and what I feared, who I was to the people around me and what roles I could fill if I tried.
But I didn’t know me –
the part of myself made of stardust,
the infinite piece of my soul.
I had lost my own essence. And, worse yet, I didn’t know when I had lost it.
People go to extreme lengths to find themselves, to talk with their true inner beings: they perform fasting meditations; they take silent retreats; they go on solitary vision quests.
This is my fasting meditation.
This is my silent retreat.
This is my solitary vision quest.
Each moment, each step, my path is becoming clearer to me. My inner universe is expanding – I can feel it shining in my eyes and radiating in my smile.
And I am so grateful that I have chosen to take this journey now, when I have so much of my life left to live.