Life After Love

I suppose you could say that I’ve reached the calm after the storm. In a lot of ways it’s relieving but in other ways it’s devastating. It’s relieving because the chaos has subsided and my life is balanced and manageable again. It’s heart breaking because that means it’s over. The battle is done and the process of moving on continues and although it’s not as excruciatingly painful as it was when he left, there’s a dull pain left behind and it quietly aches in my body.

When my relationship ended I was so scared to go through it sober. I had no idea what that was going to look like. A year and almost 9 months substance free seems like an eternity but really, it’s only the beginning. There have been days over the past few months where escaping felt like the only possible thing I could seek. I didn’t feel like drinking but I sure as hell didn’t feel like being here. But somehow, through a higher power that’s greater than me, through the tools I’ve learned along my journey of sobriety, and the loving people who surround me daily, kept me going. Getting my heart broken in sobriety is a first and it’s painful but it’s also beautiful.

There came a time during recovery while I was in my relationship where I became complacent. I wasn’t working as hard to keep this gift of sobriety I had so freely received and I became pretty defeated. I didn’t believe that I could learn anymore–I thought I knew it all. And that’s why for me, getting hurt and being angry has actually been an amazing experience. Why? Because it means I can feel emotions. It means I can grow and learn. It’s humbled me and has brought me back into active recovery. Those are things that I couldn’t do in my disease of alcoholism. I couldn’t face life on life’s terms because that was too scary. That was too hard. But now with every new experience, I learn how to get through it with dignity, grace, and humility but most of all I get to get through it sober.

I’ve watched fellows that share this disease of mine turn to the bottle again, people I never thought would. To watch this happen is beyond heart breaking. Your soul actually feels shattered for a moment because you know that there is nothing you could have done to prevent it. There are moments of anger and even a sense of betrayal after all you have shared. Then the sadness comes and so does the fear. The fear that one day that could be me because when you’re an alcoholic, to drink is to die. Picking the bottle up again is like playing russian roulette, it’s a gamble but in this case with your own life. It’s not a joke, it’s a fatal reality and when I see this happen it reminds me to hold on a little tighter. To work a little harder. To be a little better. Because I don’t want it to happen to me.

But in that, I don’t stay sober out of the fear of relapsing. I stay sober because I want to. Because it’s my only chance of living an honest and meaningful life. It’s the only stretch of time in my life where I have consistently been okay and content and even happy. I had a lot shame about who I was before I started recovering from alcoholism. I was told that I was too sensitive, that I took things too personally, that I loved the wrong people and I told myself that I wasn’t ever gonna be good enough. Today I’m not ashamed to tell you all that yes, I am sensitive, I care deeply and I love to love because that is simply what I do. That is who I am and today, that’s good enough for me.

Clarity is one of many gifts I have received. I have the clarity to realize that even through the dull aching pain of my love leaving me, I am happier now. I am better off now and I know that not only will I be okay, I am okay.

So sitting in the calm after the storm of my break up is where I am today. I’m learning to embrace the good of the days and to be honest with the sadness that surfaces in some moments. I’m learning that I wasn’t ever a half of a relationship that made me whole. I am whole and I know that continuing to do the right thing, to be a good person, to be kind to all, and to seek spiritual answers rather than humans ones will get me through this. Every morning I ask my God to keep me sober–physically, emotionally and spiritually and with that, I have faith that my life is exactly as it should be which grants me daily serenity and that is the greatest gift of all.

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