"At times I feel like I have lost my personality but I know that's a lie. What was my personality anyway? I have spent so much time with my drunk/high self that the thought of staying sober forever scares me. How ridiculous is that? Being the truest me scares me? To this day I am relearning what it means to be me...I have no fucking clue who I am, and I don't mean my name or where I come from... who I really am" - I wrote that early February, 3 months into recovery.
"I'll be going on a trip soon and I've been having thoughts about drinking again, I'm trying to keep them as just that...thoughts. I'm on the way to work right now and I have this tightness in my chest, a lethal mix of anxiety and panic. I'm thinking about how nice it would be to have a glass of white wine, fully relax, and maybe lose control, just once. I won't bring the drinking back to London with me, I promise. I definitely said that last year but it followed me back with a vengeance. I know what will happen if I so much as put a drop past my lips, what always happens, I won't be able to stop. I might even succeed in having just one, but then tomorrow I might have two, the next day three won't hurt right? I know I'm stronger than these cheating idealisations. Maybe I was never really that bad?"- I wrote this last week sometime.
When I read both those paragraphs back I realise how much growth I have experienced in the last 6 months but I also realise just how difficult it is to completely change your way of thinking. Although those words are in the past I'm still familiar with those feelings even to this day, they come around every so often, sometimes so strong I feel this insane tension build inside me. The illusion of being in control creeps up on you like a motherfucker! That voice that tells you it's been long enough, you can now drink/use 'safely' again. Is there even such a thing? Does safe drinking/using exist? That seductive inner saboteur pounces on you when you least expect it, everything it says seems logical and well thought out and reasonable, but it's all to assist you in failing. When we let our thoughts win they become reality, and my goodness, I have come too fucking far to let a temporary fix become a long term consequence. I signed up for a harsh reality and more discomfort than I could ever have imagined, all in the name of freedom. It has been such a painful process, but it's just that. A process. It will take time, there's no overnight fix, it is a journey of ups and inevitable downs and I have a bloody long way to go. Through all this its a must that I remain aware that I am injecting something beautiful back into my life. Clarity.
When I was buzzed or drunk, I felt more desirable, sociable, wittier....more 'me'. The ritual of drinking itself was also something that sparkled in my eyes. The moment of bonding when someone offers you a drink and you accept or hands you one without you even having to ask, the 'deep' transparent conversations after a bottle or few or other party favours, the declarations of love and compliments in abundance. Feeding the myth that you need to have alcohol/drugs in your system or in your hand to get a conversation going. Fast forward to the present day, to then have to readjust and remove all those beliefs, to remove the habits I've carelessly acquired over a very long period of time, and replace them with new ones. It can be so daunting, but I've made it my goal to normalise this new way of living, one day at a time.
I truly believe that the concept of 'one day at a time' applies to so much more than just alcohol abuse/drug addiction etc. To me it means taking the little steps necessary in taking control of your life. Those little moments of staying power add up to something wonderful! Just get through those first uncomfortable 24 hrs and you've already mastered something great. The trouble is that we assume tomorrow is promised to us so we tend to postpone things and avoid taking the first steps, but you only have this moment, right now, today! However many words we speak and the things we say we are going to do, it's no use if there is no action to follow it. Life-changes will make you feel discomfort, awkwardness and even pain, but on the other side of that lies the gifts of perseverance.
Today I am 6 months sober (6 fucking months! how did this happen, I am so thankful honestly) so I wanted to check back in and share my story thus far, I also wanted to make it clear that this is hard work! Some people assume its easy but that's because we work so hard to make it look easy. Please remember social media is a fickle place where we mainly share our ups and success stories and not enough of our downs and cries for help (although I always try to document my experience as accurately as possible on my sobriety instagram). I've cried till I couldn't cry anymore, I've hated myself for having this 'abnormal' issue, I've fallen into deep depression many times, I've nearly relapsed, and have ended up turning to therapy to get help with some underlying issues that have floated to the surface since I gave up drinking. All the scary stuff aside, it's undoubtedly been the most beautiful, rewarding 6 months of my entire life. I've never felt more alive + present. I have GOT SHIT DONE and got in touch with my spiritual side a lot more, which is another path I've always been drawn to. In all this, I have simultaneously become a better daughter, sister, girlfriend, friend and generally a better human being.
I was reading something the other day that reminded me that there are over 7 billion of us inside a tiny tiny tiny marble floating in infinite space with no definite idea of where we will ultimately end up. Yet we spend most of our time worrying about what other people think, and living to please everyone else but our true selves. We spend our lives trying to control what's on the outside instead of coming face to face with what's going on inside ourselves. This life can be so beautiful if we open our eyes to the wonders we have access to, it might sound cheesy but that's as real as it gets, take from that what you will. This isn't limited to travelling and seeing the world with your eyes, or having a lot of money so you can afford all the material things you've ever wanted. True sight is understanding who you really are, feeling your surroundings (wherever you are) and accepting that this life is not forever, being at peace with the knowledge that life as you know it could end at any moment. If you are reading this please know how much privilege you and I have to be where we are today. Make your mark, whatever that might be! Mine starts with freeing my soul of the external things of this world that I confused as being the true me, one day at a time!