“Survivors are the ones who write history.”
I heard this and it truly resonated with me because that is exactly what I am and exactly what I am doing. I am surviving and writing my own history. Life isn’t easy. There are still days that I wake up utterly depressed. I don’t know why. I just feel that sadness. Yet, now, I know how remedy that unexplained feeling. I know what to do. I don’t let it over take me. I pray, put on some essential oils and get up, get dressed and start my day. The feeling passes as I pray my gratitude for the life I have.
2016 was one of the best and worst years of my life. There were days that I wish I could erase from my memory, but I am glad they happened. They allow me be reminded of the good that can come out of the bad. I now know that the bad things will pass and the good will prevail. I just have to keep on moving. My mom always says, if you are having a bad day, don’t worry it will pass and if you are having a good day, remember it because it too will pass. Life is about this ebb and flow. Life is made up of moments and details.
Being a mom has really taught me this more than anything else. There are times I don’t think I can handle her, that I am failing. Then there are times that are so amazing I can’t contain my joy. Overall though, being a mother is truly the most wonderful experience I have ever had. Watching this tiny human grow and learn about the world around her is the most fascinating thing one could experience. Getting to experience things for the first time is awesome. It makes all things new again to me, which I need. I even crave that with her. I became a single mom this year and there are times I feel overwhelmed.
I also hit 5 years of sobriety on November 29th of this year. It almost seems surreal that I have been sober for so long. It is like that person I used to be is fading and I almost forget about her. Yet, I have these daily reminders of my addict behavior. I know I can never really forget that part of myself because it truly never dies. It is like cancer in remission. It could come back with vengeance at any moment. I am forced to address any issues I have and try to grow.
I have had many people come to me and ask me how I do it. How do you stay sober? How are you happy in sobriety? Is it real? My answer is not a simple one. There is no trick or perfect plan. I don’t believe AA is the end all be all, many people do. I don’t think there is one way to be happy in sobriety, just like there isn’t one way to stay healthy in general. For me, my sobriety is evolving and becoming something new every day. The growth isn’t sudden or even obvious at a glance. It is slow and gradual. My dad has always said, if you aren’t growing, you are dying. This is just fundamentally true in every aspect of our lives. Death lives in stagnant places. Life is moving, changing and growing. I find that learning is where my growth thrives. Find new places to go. Deepen your knowledge of your hobbies or topics you enjoy. Make new friends while developing your relationships with your current friends. Look for ways to learn more in your work. Find new things to take classes on. Spend time in your faith. Take things further.
This being said, be careful of busyness. This has been one of my problems. While growing and doing are good things, it is easy to get carried away and do too much. Then I find that you can no longer enjoy any of the things meant to bring growth because you can’t truly focus on any of them. I did this. So now, I am working on prioritizing, one thing at a time. I need to be able to relax and focus on family and friends, not constantly thinking about what I am supposed to be getting done. I was missing all the details, which was one of things I really love about sobriety. Having a clear mind and heart allows you to truly be in the moment. When you are truly in the moment you tend to notice things that you were oblivious to previously in addiction. I found out that addiction can take many forms. When busyness was blinding me from the details, I realized I was addicted to the busyness. Yes, staying active is good, but being too active and moving too fast eliminates the enjoyment of the activities. So this year I am working on focus. I have many things I love, but only so many hours in a day. It is time to focus and prioritize. This is not easy. It is also not something that happens overnight. Self-awareness is key and being honest with yourself (which is often painful).
I know I have quoted my parents in the post at least twice. I don’t know how people make it without a solid support system. I couldn’t imagine doing this without them. They have been patient, loving and kind. They continue to let me make my own mistakes and never make me feel lesser than. I often feel like I should have known better. I beat myself up for seemingly obvious mistakes. I am reminded often that sobriety is somewhat like starting over. It is a new world that I am learning as a new person. The decisions I made in my using life were not my own. These past 5 years have taught me more than my entire life has as a whole. I finally feel like I am on the right track, but I know I probably wouldn’t even be on track at all if it weren’t for the understanding and supportive nature of my family. I hope to provide that for my child. I hope to be the type of parent that teaches my child unconditional love and support. I hope I can instill a love of life so deep that no addiction can steal that from her. I know that is what has allowed me to thrive in sobriety. Joy was fostered in me my entire life. I knew that true joy came from God my entire life. I knew no material thing or ideal situation would give me the joy Christ could.
I am not perfect. I am by no means a model person or Christian, but I do know that the love of Christ lives in me. I make mistakes every day, but I know that Jesus loves me regardless of those mistakes. I try my best to learn from them and not make the same mistake twice( or 50 times) but I am human with a sinful nature. My God loves me anyway. I can’t do life without my faith. His power is truly made great in my weakness and I am very weak, so I hope that His power is seen clearly in me.
I know, my posts always take strange turns. The base of this post is survival. I am surviving. I know I can and will make it through whatever comes my way. I made it through divorce, moving, a career change and a the beginning of a relationship that started in some not so favorable conditions. As I look at 2016 I see all the pain and tears and days I didn’t think I would make it. I also see the joy and remember those feelings of triumph when I did make it through those incredibly hard times. I can say that many of those difficult experiences forced me to find strength I didn’t think was possible. I feel the effects of making it through those horrific moments. I learned and grew tremendously. I feel like a person I can be proud of for the first time in my life. I am a survivor. I am thriving. I am because I just didn’t give up. I am no better or special, I just don’t give up and I keep moving. I just need to change my pace so that I can enjoy the journey a little more.
Side note: I plan on writing and sharing more in 2017. I am so excited about this year and all the things that are on the horizon. The best is yet to come.