A friend sent me this quote because it made her think of me. It is exactly me. It is how I live my life. I don’t consciously make the effort to “live my life,” because it just comes naturally. I don’t intentionally try to be daring or take risks, in fact, the opposite is true. I know I take too many risks. I know I need to be more consistent. That is part of my recovery.Learning and growing to become the person God intended. I do really love being alive now and I think that shows. It was not always the case before I found sobriety. In fact, when I was using, I was waiting for death, the opposite of living. I had numbed all real feeling. The decisions I made during that time were not the person I am now. I don’t know that girl anymore.
I have not written lately because of all that is going on in my personal life that is not mine to share. It is hard for me to not share these times because I know that there are people that could really benefit from them. The past few months have been the hardest times of my life and probably not for the reasons so many people are assigning me. I have come closer to wanting to drink than I ever have in recovery. No, I did not drink. No I will not drink. There is no circumstance that will make me start using again. I learned that in these difficult times. While the thought crossed my mind to numb the hurt, I did not actually think about the action of drinking. Yes, I am proud of that. I am thankful for the love and support I have. I am thankful for my faith.
I have learned recently that there is recovery language so many are unfamiliar with. Even saying that I am sober or that I was not sober is a phrase that is misunderstood by people outside the recovery world. I grew up in a recovery family. I take for granted that my family understands the language. When I say I was not sober when I made certain decisions,that means that I was drinking then. It does not mean that I was just not drinking physically at the time. Some people use that word to say they are not drunk yet. I use it to mean a whole other state of being. When I was not sober I was focused (subconsciously for most of the time) on drinking. My main priority in life was to drink or use. I made decisions that put that first. I made career changes and marriage decisions based off of a part of me that I no longer know. Yes, it exists. I will always be an alcoholic. I like to think of it as going dormant. The addiction lives in my brain, but it is not active.
Sometimes those addictive tendencies appear and derail my thoughts. Yes, I am still an addict. I will and do get addicted to things still. I always will. I believe that is why self reflection and a deep understanding of who you are as a person when you are an addict are so imperative. I think that is also why I feel so deeply and am aware of feelings more than someone who is not an addict. I like to think I can use these negative qualities of addiction and turn them into something beautiful.
Yes, I make mistakes. I make the often and sometimes with an astonishingly stupid speed. I do not think I am perfect nor have I ever claimed to be. I try to do my best. I cannot make up for my past and I refused to be defined by my mistakes. I can’t live my life trying to make up for what I did as a using addict. Eventually, I have to forgive myself. Actually, I am work on forgiving myself every day. I work on making today better than yesterday. I work on being a better person than I was. I will spend my life doing trying my best to be the best version of myself.
I have heard some just truly intense rumors and lies about me lately. The ones that hurt the most were from the people I care about the most. I was shocked to hear how I have been called dangerous and not someone to be close to because of my past. I was hurt to hear about family members who I did nothing but support in their difficult times tell other people I was not worth their time. Yes, words hurt. I believe you can’t just shut them out, but process them. Forgive, even when no forgiveness is sought.
I did not think that at 4 years and 7 months of sobriety I would now be dealing with the reality of how people see sobriety. I honestly did not realize so many saw it as a negative. I was shocked. I never once considered being anonymous. I did not chose this disease. I did not ask to live my life in recovery. I will not be ashamed of a disease that I was born with. I will not be quiet about it either. I get messages daily from people who are grateful I am open about my recovery and how it has helped them either in their own recovery or with a family member. I will not be faulted for caring about others and wanting to help them in their recovery story. I do believe that if more people were open and honest about sobriety, we could lessen the stigma. If we lessen the stigma, we save lives.
I also believe the misery loves company. There are a great deal of miserable people out there who just can’t stand to see someone happy, especially someone who they think should be miserable like them. Yes, my situation is difficult right now, but it gets better every day. I will continue to be happy and find joy, as I have done since my recovery date, in spite of every negative thing that comes my way. I am happy, I have joy and nothing can take that from me. There are great things happening in my life, but that doesn’t mean I have moved on from healing from the pain of the past. I can have sadness in overall joyous times. I can have tears with a smile on my face. I can know I am making the right decision, yet it is still painful. These things are not mutually exclusive.
SO, let us recap. I love my life. I make mistakes. They do not define me. I am learning and growing, trying my best not to screw up in the same ways, but hey, I am human and it happens. Good things are happening after a month of pretty much the worst things ever happening. Life happens like that, just wait it out, keep moving forward and it gets better. I try my best to enjoy the details and to see the beauty of each day. I try to make this life the grandest adventure while still being a responsible adult. The adulting part is hard for me. However, success in the fact that I am closer now than I ever have been. I am more thankful for my parents than they will ever know. I am thankful for my friends for loving me unconditionally. Everything I do now, I put her first. Y’all, that is huge for an addict. Selfishness is kinda our thing. I am learning how to be the best mom for her and I am glad most everyone in her life is putting her first.
I do not regret my past and I decide to live in this moment. I decide to get the most out of my life. I decide to love my life, the beautiful mess that it is.