A life free of alcohol and drugs, is a damn good life. So much has changed for me in a short amount of time. For several years now, I’ve practiced not picking up a drink, every single day. Today, even in the most precarious circumstances, the last thing on my mind is having a drink. Sometimes I get through difficult situations without thinking at all about drinking. Afterward, I’m astonished that numbing out my problem didn’t even cross my mind. The practice of not picking up a drink, is working for me.
What I’ve discovered over these last four years, is that experiencing my life on an emotional level, is so much better than numbing things out, or putting off the inevitable. I don’t know why I was so scared of pain, sorrow, or loss. All of these emotions is what makes life so interesting. Without them, I could not be the artist/writer that I am. I’ve gone through terrible weeks when I felt the world crushing in on me, and I made it through the other side in one piece, knowing that nothing I feel is eternal. Life is about what I feel, no matter what is happening in the physical realm. We are all having different experiences (sometimes in the very same room), so it is clear to me now that my life is about my perception of things. I have the power to change my perception of my life without enhancing it with a substance.
I’ve experienced bliss beyond measure while I was sober, and heartache so deep that I felt my guts spilling on the floor before me, but I wouldn’t trade that experience for a day at the bar. I would rather someone rip my heart out, slam it against a brick wall while I watch it slide down onto the cement, then to numb my pain with a drink. I would rather feel everything as it comes, even in furry, agony and melancholy, because none of those emotions are eternal. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I get to feel elation, joy, and sometimes I see something so beautiful that it makes my heart ache. When I laugh now, it comes from my soul, and when I talk to people, I’m no longer flashing them a mask of my images because I am becoming comfortable with who I am in my own regular skin. The authentic me may not be a comedian, a model or anything spectacular or grand, but I like her as she is in her organic beauty. The more I get to know myself, the more I love myself, and the happier I am.
I’ve gotten to a place where I think about other people more than I do, myself. I consider other people’s needs, and wants, and I try to be accommodating. I’ve made genuine friends, and I’ve become one myself. I’m closer to my family, my children, and I am reuniting with my brother. Every day is a new adventure where I let go of yesterday and begin as if my slate is clean. I don’t hold on to anger, jealousy or other people’s wrongs. I am present more often than not. Sobriety has been gentle with me. It doesn’t kick me when I’m down or make me feel worse when I’m having a rough day. Recovery has given me the strength to walk through my fears, ignore all my doubt, and the courage to go after what I want in life without competing to win. I’m doing things now because I find joy in them – not because I’m trying to be somebody extraordinary. In my sobriety I’ve learned that everyone is extraordinary – it is simply up to them to discover their own unique place in the world. I’m certainly discovering mine, and life for me now is never boring. It is a gift. I wake up each morning so excited to be alive. On days that aren’t so good, I’m still excited to be alive. I know that my perspective is all I need to change, which places the responsibility of my life, on me. I like being responsible. Although it is scary, it keeps me awake to this human experience I’m having, and it is constantly reminding me that I have more control than I ever thought I did in my addiction.
Today marks four years without a drink, and I’ve come such a long way. I never thought I’d be where I am today. People trust me. I have a wonderful career. I’m taking care of my body, mind and soul, and I am no longer confused. I’m present for my life and for the people who are in my life. I’m doing what I love and I have more freedom now than I ever did in my addiction. I love my life. I love who I am. I love being alive. That’s something I could not shout out four years ago, so if anyone asks me if it has been worth it, I would say, without a doubt! Today I’m on top of the world (and tomorrow I will be too).