Life, sober or not, is not always easy. We all face our own set of hardships and circumstances and often times the best solution is to escape from the pain through substance, even if it’s just for a few hours. Some can safely do this. Others can’t. Unfortunately or fortunately I am one amongst many who cannot escape from my problems through substance without running into danger.
We all have our faults, our set of ideals and we all have our truth. Here’s mine:
Over the past 3 or so months I have not been the best version of myself. I wish I could pinpoint when the change in me happened or what exactly set something off within me to stray to a different path than the one that had been so beautifully working for me. I can only take a guess as to why this happened.
My routine changed. Summer began, I got into a new relationship, I changed jobs, and I was approaching my one year sober anniversary. I think it’s safe to say I got complacent in my recovery and started neglecting the things that kept me sane and happy within being a sober, recovering alcoholic.
A few weeks after these subtle changes occurred, my world turned upside down and I lost my precious little kitty Oliver. The death of the being that was with me through so much left me feeling broken and I lost a lot of hope in the beauty of life. Then shortly after that, my alcoholic mother began drinking again and over the past few months has been in and out of the hospital literally fighting for her life because of the same disease I have.
I didn’t feel like turning to a drink but I turned away from my recovery. I stopped showing up for life in the way I had been. I stopped going out of my way to be kind to people, I stopped showing up for my commitments and I slowly drifted away from everything that was important to me and my sobriety. I was mad at the universe and didn’t trust that everything was going to be okay.
As a result of everything changing and allowing myself to just coast through life without any regard of how dangerous that is for me and my alcoholic mind, I started to lose everything. I started regressing into a mind set that somehow something, other than my recovery, was going to save me. I put a lot of pressure on my boyfriend and the people around me to somehow fix it all. To fix the way I was feeling and to assure me that I was a victim of my own life and that I had every right to be resentful at the world.
I lost my happiness because I was trying to find it in all the wrong places . I became depressed and I began to just go through the motions of life. My life got unmanageable very fast and I started to feel a lot like I did when I was drinking except I wasn’t drinking so what was happening?
I hit a bottom in sobriety and I am honestly really grateful for it. I felt that emotional vacancy once again that had only taken me to dark dark places. Substance was the answer to that vacancy but now that I am sober, what was I supposed to do? I took for granted the things that kept me happy and free and started living my life with the company of my alcoholic mind. Alcoholism isn’t just about drinking. I have a totally different way of thinking than normal people do. My alcoholism tells me the second I wake up in the morning that I am doomed. I literally wake up with wrong thinking and if I don’t address that wrong thinking and do actions to counter act it such as prayer and mediation, reaching out to others, getting outside of myself and trying my best to be the most selfless person I can be, I am a miserable human being and that is the kind of pattern that leads to a relapse. It’s not safe to sit in those kind of negative feelings and that is when drinking becomes the solution.
When my relationship started to fall apart, when I became a mean and cruel version of myself and everyone and everything became an inconvenience to me, I realized that I had to be doing something wrong. So I decided I had to I start over as if I was brand new to recovery.
I went back to the basics. I started doing the things I did when I was just a few days sober and things immediately got better. I am so grateful that I didn’t relapse over this and I am so happy to be discovering more about the answers to a great way of living for someone like me. It’s a great lesson.
A huge reason I got sober so young was because I identified with alcoholism early on. Seeing my mom battle this disease my whole life I knew what I didn’t want to be. I saw the consequences of alcoholism in my mother and when those same consequences started to show up in my life when I was drinking, I knew there was a problem. It breaks my heart that some people with this disease never find a solution for it. They can’t seem to grasps a certain way of living in order to fight against a disease that wants us alcoholics dead. I know I can’t control my mom and I sadly know that I can’t save her but what I can do is save myself from this disease by doing the things necessary in order to not only survive this illness but to thrive and to be happy. It doesn’t mean watching your parent die is easy but it means that there is hope elsewhere.
Last night I was driving home and for just a second, I felt like a failure. Even though I am back on track and everything today is great, I just felt so stupid for letting my emotional sobriety suffer for as long as I did. But then I started thinking about the time I was so drunk and was in the bed of a stranger’s pick up truck, laughing to the point where I couldn’t breath because of how dangerous of a situation I was in. It’s a strange memory but for some reason it’s an important one because through that hysterical laughter, that was the first time I knew my drinking was a problem but I didn’t care. And last night I thought, but today I do care how bad it was and that’s an amazing progression in my life.
I then started thinking about all of the small things that happen on a daily basis that are truly a miracle. Like the time this acquaintance I have asked me if I was interested in this job she couldn’t take because I was the most responsible person she knew or the other night, how I went out with some new friends and they had a few beers and told some guys they met “don’t worry, Carrie will take care of us.”
These little things seem like nothing but they are everything. There were a lot of words to describe me 15 months ago and responsible was not one of them. 15 months ago I didn’t even have the ability to take care of myself let alone anyone else. So those kinds of words coming from people around me truly humble me and allow me to change my perspective in dark times and realize that the progress I have made by getting sober is enough to get me to the next hour with some dignity and hope.
Some may never understand how crucial recovery is for me but the important thing is that I do. It’s all about perspective and mine just got lost for a little while and I allowed my alcoholic thinking to surface and it wanted to stay because my alcoholism wants me dead. But I don’t want to die spending my days smoking substances in which I spend my whole pay check on or drinking myself to the point of complete oblivion while hurting everyone around me and becoming nothing but a numbed out miserable waste of space. At the end of my life, I want to die knowing that I did the very best that I could and to be remembered as a kind a loving person who made a difference and fought everyday to overcome a disease that some never could.