Waking up with a mindset that today is another one without a drink, was kind of like changing sides of the bed and wearing someone else’s shoes in the beginning of my recovery. Facing my problems after running away from them like a train was always at my heels, is strangely relieving, and feeling my emotions as opposed to altering them, has woken me up to the fact that I am susceptible to being moved in life, rather than feeling numb all the time. All the discomfort in the beginning of my sobriety has shifted to curiosity. At age 38.5, I’m still learning how to navigate through my days as if I were a child. It’s kind of incredible, and somewhat embarrassing that I’m a little bit behind most people in their late thirties. Perhaps I’m just telling myself this, however. I know a lot of “normies” my age who are still confused as ever.
I’ve learned that I’m either living in the emotion of fear, or the emotion of love. There is no in between when you get right down to it. And fear is simply an arrow pointing me into the right direction (most of the time). If I’m scared to do something, out of insecurity or pride, but I know it’s something I need to do, then by all means… I must go forth. Most of the time, I’m creating a monster out of a mouse, and it’s important for me to know this about myself today. How many monsters have I created throughout my life, which were simply guiding posts into my own liberation? I’m thinking about the times I wanted to quit drinking, yet I feared my life without a drink. How miserable would I be living like a Quaker in a world filled with partiers? When I finally faced that fear, I was surprised to discover the immense clarity I received, and the excitement of getting to know myself on a much deeper level. Most people aren’t walking around drunk or high all the time. This was news to me. I didn’t know how people functioned in the world without a substance to keep them happy. This was all a delusion in my own mind.
I used to wake up feeling horrible, longing for something to make me feel better. I got out of bed late, stumbled around confused and barely made it into work wearing a fake smile across my bloated face. If there was any drama going on, I was usually the center of it, and if there was trouble lurking, I was drawn in like a fly toward dung. It was ridiculous how I was flung around in life instead of standing tall and walking in complete awareness of where I was going. This is how my own recovery has changed things up for me. I’m CLEAR now. I don’t need all the drama or the nonsense, which was simply a means for excitement when I felt so damn empty inside.
In sobriety, it’s like we shed old skins which used to feel so comfortable while we were using. They no longer serve us now. We don’t need to pretend to be something we’re not, or fake being sober. We don’t need to create diversions so that people don’t catch onto our antics. We don’t need to create soap operas out of daily endeavors. We simply learn to BE, like a tree standing firm in the vast field of life. We can take it all in now, rather than lashing out at the world. All that craziness we thought was occurring, was really just a delusion in our minds. We made monsters out of thin air… remember those times?
Today when I’m feeling anything, I just feel it as it comes. When I’m confronted with life, I really try to face it rather than run away. When things hurt, I allow the pain to overcome me. There is something incredibly beautiful about being able to take it all in now, rather than batting it away. Even in moments of monotony, I enjoy the realization that I don’t have to drink or use over anything anymore. It’s so liberating to not be shackled to the bottle… wouldn’t you agree?
For me, recovery has been like flying after several years of drowning. I’m getting to see the world from a much broader point of view. It’s fascinating and a little bit scary, but it’s so worth walking through all the fear to discover life is simply an experience. It’s not a monster, or an impending train at my heels. It’s not that bad, actually. In recovery, it may feel awkward in the beginning, but keep marching on. It DOES become easier. It certainly FEELS better. And it is so much more exciting! You don’t ever have to use or take a drink again. You really don’t… and neither do I.