I celebrated four years booze free on Saturday and it was only when I read my post on ViR sharing my two year anniversary to see how far I have come and changed in recovery. It seems like at year 2 I had some shame and concern about sharing my story or experiences with alcohol. I questioned if I would drink again. I was overly sensitive and worried about being limited to individual diagnosis’s.
My perspective and growth has changed drastically in two years. I no longer am concerned about labels, or diagnosis boxes. I simply do not care, because no one person fits perfectly into a box that was not meant to define identity, but to help guide treatment, and research. I had eating disorders, struggled with alcohol abuse and dependency, and struggling with cutting, anxiety, panic attacks, and loss of self. I had these struggles, but these struggles do not define who I am now, or who I was then. My identity and my struggles are separate.
I no longer questions whether I will drink again, because I simply do not have the desire to drink. Being sober is my normal now. I cannot imagine drinking, getting drunk, being hung over. In fact, a week ago I had an awful nightmare where I relapsed and the compulsion to drink after drinking just once, returned with a vengeance. I felt sick when I woke up, because it is not who I am now. I do not crave nor want to drink. I don’t even struggle with cravings, triggers, or what-ifs. After four years I am happy to live my life authentic to myself, and alcohol never allowed me the ability to listen and respect my authentic voice, because I couldn’t hear it when drinking.
I no longer feel any shame about my story. I am willing to answer anyone’s questions, and I currently blog over at HealthyPlace and share current research, news, and personal experiences of addictions to help debunk the myths of addiction, and help show people how complex these struggles are. Sure, I don’t share every detail of my past, because the topic doesn’t come up, but I consider myself an open book, and if someone asked me about my past, I would gladly share any part of it.
I still don’t go to AA, and never have had a sponsor, but let me be clear – I am consistently in recovery mode. Being an activist, advocate, mentor and social media recovery person, helps keeps me in recovery. I always feel supported, and have met so many wonderful mentors, friends, and allies, that I found my own way in recovery; and one that works for me.
I cannot possibly share everything single amazing thing to come from sobriety and recovery. I do know, if I wasn’t sober, none of my current life would be possible. And that is a blessing. A gift.
I am grateful and humble for this journey.
I am proud of myself for the fight within me to change my life.
I have kicked, screamed, crawled, walked, ran, and pursued the life I want. I am after all a Scorpio, determined, and however stubborn and emotional I may be; it has helped me in recovery. We often hear of the traits that make us more susceptible to eating disorders and addiction, such as perfectionism, impulsivity, OCD, sensitivity to critiques, etc, however these characteristics can also help make us THRIVE in recovery. My determination and pain in the ass attitude that kept me down in the depths of an addiction, have also given me the swift kick in the ass to continue to fight to prove people wrong, that I could in fact live the life I want. If anyone knows me, if someone says I cannot do something – better watch out, I will set out to prove them wrong.
I hope by having this blog, and doing my advocacy, people can see that recovery is possible, no matter how far you have fallen. I fell a million times, and yet kept pushing forward. I am truly grateful for so many people and things in my life. I am proud of myself. I keep repeating that statement because often we do not give ourselves enough credit in this journey. We have the right to be proud of all the hard work we are doing in recovery or life. We deserve our own love, affection, and kind words!
- My family, my guy and extended family (which includes blood and non-blood)
- Waking up to sunshine on a Sunday morning
- A brisk sunny walk or run
- Deep connection with my feelings, awareness of my emotions
- The ability and mindfulness to say “I am sorry”
- Colored gel pens!
- Never having to be reminded of what happened the night before
- Financial security
- My new car!
- Social media – my friends, allies, mentors. I adore so many people I cannot possibly list them all.
- My recent choice to pursue roller derby to be social, active and meet new people while kicking ass!
- The journey towards authenticity, self love, and honoring my body, mind and spirit
- Making jewelry, art collages
- Pinterest (had to add! I love it lol)
- Holidays with family
- The ability to see when I am being an ass, over emotional, over reactive, and catching it very early on in order to adjust, re-focus, re-align, reflect, apologize and move forward
- Knowing that the journey is like nature, constantly changing, beautiful, complex, and ever-surprising.
- I don’t have to, nor need to know all the answers. I like not knowing, and learning.
- Self-love, care and kindness are a daily investment, and one that has never given me anything but blessings.
- I can pursue anything in this life, there is no limit to my life, unless I put one on myself – and I refuse to do that!
Thank you all for being part of my journey. There are so many people I have known for years through this work, and I adore and appreciate each one of you.
I never could have foreseen have what social media would give to me, and am grateful for a walk home, an inspiration, and pursuing a vision.