28 Days and Sobriety Reflections

I was watching 28 Days, one of my favorite movies, and I think in many ways is a pretty good movie to reflect the experience of addiction. Every time I watch it I feel different about it. When I was struggling with drinking I would watch it and cry so hard. When I first was in recovery it resonated with the experience of rehab bringing a variety of different people together you would never know or interact with normally, and how denial was such a huge part of the struggle and ultimately one of the first things to address and reach acceptance and willingness to change. As I was in recovery longer, I could watch it and laugh, because a huge part of my recovery is learning to laugh at the struggles and how common the experience is between people who have struggled as well.

“If that will make you happy, I will stop drinking. And then I would tell myself tonight I will not get wasted. And then something would happen. Or nothing would happen. And I’d get that feeling and you all know what that feeling is; when your skin is screaming and your hands are shaking and your stomach feels like it wants to jump through your throat. And you know that if anyone had a clue how wrong it felt to be sober, they wouldn’t dream of asking you to stay that way. They would say oh geez, I didn’t know. It’s okay for you. Do that mound of cocaine. Have a drink. Have 20 drinks. Whatever you need to do to feel like a normal human being, you do it. And boy I did it. I drank and I snorted. I drank and snorted. I drank and snorted. And I did this day after day, day after day, night after night. I didn’t care about the consequences because I knew they couldn’t be half as bad as not using. And then one night something happened. I woke up. I woke up on a sidewalk and I had no idea where I was. I couldn’t have told you what city I was in. And my head was pounding and I looked down and my shirt is covered in blood. And as I’m lying there wondering what happens next and I heard a voice. And it said man, this is not a way to live. This is a way to die.”

This quote just hit me today, and made me so grateful to be sober. This quote just nailed how I felt about drinking. I may have set out to not drink, and make promises to myself (and maybe others) that I wouldn’t drink; then something would happen in my day, and no matter whether it was a bad day, or a celebration, or just a quiet boring day, I would find a reason aka excuse to drink. This absolutely was the way to death. At least for me.

I also remember a part of the movie that talked about instant gratification, where she wants a pill, something to just get it over with. How many times in recovery have you said to yourself “I just want this to be over. NOW.”??? I know I felt that way. I just wanted to move on, have everything be fine, and stop talking about it. Awe the naïve early sober Kendra who had no idea that recovery is absolutely a journey, of acceptance, willingness, learning about yourself, learning new coping skills, being accountable, and being vigilant. Now it seems second nature, and do not need a road map to find my way. Rehab is just a starting stone, a place to being the journey for many. The work comes after.

Another part of the movie that sometimes is really hard to watch are the family sessions. When I was IN my struggle and abuse of alcohol, all I could see was how awful my life, how hard it was, how no one understood; basically a ME ME ME attitude, never even taking a second to consider others. Addiction isn’t a single person struggle, it is a family and community struggle. I had to get sober, and sit through these family sessions, to see that I affected others. It wasn’t just me drinking, and leave me alone. I was affecting everyone around me, and getting sober and facing that was a huge challenge. I had to be willing to listen, be open to others feelings and experiences, and learn to really say I was sorry and mean it.

Today I am grateful. For the family that stood by me. For sobriety. For friends. For knowing I always have a choice, and that the lessons I have learned in recovery are ones I have applied to all areas of my life. Being honest, open, willing to change, and be accountable to my choices, words and actions has literally transformed my life. That is the way to LIVE.

I wake up and sometimes need to pinch myself for the life I have now, full of friends, family, roller derby, work, and an upcoming move to NYC.

I chose life. I had enough stories. I chose to create a life.

And a life I created! And so can you!

2 Responses to 28 Days and Sobriety Reflections
  1. Kelly
    August 20, 2012 | 9:52 am

    I enjoy that film too… I liked it even before I found Recovery. I should watch it again.

  2. jan
    August 20, 2012 | 1:29 pm

    Nicely done. I will print this for someone just beginning this journey…..

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