Today marks one full year of being sober.
I have said that out loud a few times today. This past year has been a blur at times, with so many parts of it sectioned off and different from what came before and what came after. The decision to get sober paved the way for all of those rapid changes through all of the ups and downs. Being short sighted kept me from seeing what this stage in my life would look and feel like, although I think it was more about not getting ahead of myself. I had a lot on my plate, namely working on a lot of my flaws, accepting the mistakes I made, and showing remorse.
I made this video when I was 3 months sober. In it, you can hear me describing what I was going through to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. I spoke about accepting what had happened up to that point, namely my fiancé leaving me, and how I understood that this was what had to happen in my life. Less than two hours after this, she contacted me after a month of total silence. At the time, I looked at what had just happened as a sign.
Of course, she ended up leaving again, which was a painful experience and caused a lot of questions and self doubt to arise. “What was the point of all of this” and endless thoughts about why she came back at all filled my head at the time. Now I look at what happened as being part of the biggest growth I made as a person this past year.
A challenge in staying sober is coping with situations that would have caused you much angst prior to getting sober. Whereas before you would turn to drugs and alcohol for a coping mechanism, now you are left dealing with things head on, often while still struggling with the fact you are no longer chemically dependent. This “answer to my prayers” type of moment and the subsequent plunge back into disappointment ended up being the ultimate test to my sobriety and forced me to ask myself if I was serious about living this type of life and the changes that absolutely had to be made no matter what. Life just doesn’t flip a switch and become perfect just because you have made the choice to be sober. It does, however, become a challenge that you can handle in a way that will allow you to grow and learn from. Her coming back and then leaving was just the universe’s way of guiding me on my path.
I had gotten sober for her. I stayed sober for me and the people I cared about that were still in my life, especially my daughter.
From there it was a matter of staying in motion. Getting healthy again, both physically and mentally. I sought out counseling and went to rehab. Whenever I felt like I needed to give myself a reality check, I went to AA. Sometime along the way, after six months of sobriety had gone by, things had become different. I had put to rest a lot of demons, and after each one was slain, I felt a little better. I got rid of some toxic people and situations. I had changed enough to where I could start to appreciate little things in my life. I took up yoga. Started paddle boarding with my daughter. Woke up every day with a resolve that it was going to be a good day. Sure, I still had plenty of bumps along the way. The difference was that I could finally handle them then and there and not let them knock me down completely. The lesson will always be wasted if you cannot learn from your mistakes.
We’re all capable of making mistakes. Sometimes, these mistakes are enormous. Eventually, if your family, friends, or the law wont call you out on them, the universe will. I did a lot of damage, made a lot of mistakes, and they cost me dearly. I could sit here all day writing them out and saying how much regret that I had. If there are people you need to apologize to, do it. Even if things cannot be salvaged or rectified, don’t leave a situation smoldering or the people that cared about you believing they weren’t worthy of your true character. (I would like to actually write this out and apologize profusely for showing up at my ex’s parents house completely out of my mind wasted, having drove both of us across town to get there. That was one of the most embarrassing nights of my life looking back and I never said that I was sorry for it). You will need these humbling moments of humility going forward, and showing an ability to admit when you were wrong and apologize is something everyone needs. I’m still trying to get better at this.
I am going to stop here and attempt to drive home one last thought. My life now, is better than I could have ever imagined it being. I cannot say this is how I always dreamed things could be like, because I couldn’t get out of my own way enough to even fathom any of this. I wake up every single day feeling fortunate and appreciative of an opportunity to live out a fulfilling day. I smile SO MUCH NOW!!!!! A very important person is by my side now and I thank her so much for being a supportive and positive bastion of love and strength. I know with a certainty that I could never have been in a healthy relationship like I am now, if I had not made the ultimate choice to become who I was meant to be. This journey is in some ways just beginning and I am looking forward to going through these doors that have finally opened.