1,084 days, 6 hours and 42 minutes and…93,667,839 heartbeats! I have a sober anniversary fast approaching and decided to plug my sobriety date into one of those online sobriety calculators.
So what does 1,084 days feel like and what does it mean to me? I am suddenly flooded with clichés related to time. Such as “time heals all wounds”, “time marches on”, “hindsight is 20/20” and “time takes time” etc.
What does it feel like? It feels incredibly great. And by “great” I definitely do not mean all good. But great in the sense that I now have an awareness, an understanding and acceptance that life is an on-going series of “good” things and “bad” things. Events that will bring you great joy and happiness and events that will bring you much disappointment and sorrow. That, I believe is called the Balance of Life! Knowing and accepting this balance has been gut wrenching at times, confusing, curious and joyful. Overall, it has been 3 years of real maturing development for me.
One of the best messages that I could pass along to someone who is just joining the ranks of the “ex-drinker” is that Time Takes Time! That’s a bit redundant and easy to remember. From my experience, the first thing that I wanted to do newly sober, was fix things as quickly as possible and put back all the time that I thought I had lost. No doubt there was a ton of wreckage behind me. I needed to mend relationships, get a job, lose 40 lbs, get my brown lawn looking green again and go out and proclaim what good fortune had come upon me. In hindsight, I would have been better off going down to the ocean and trying to stop the waves from breaking. That’s a good visual of what I was trying to do with my life.
If it feels like you are trying to swim against the rapids, chances are good that is exactly what you are doing! With hindsight and the passage of time, my advice to anyone today would be to recognize what you “want to do post-haste”, put it aside and focus squarely on taking care of yourself. There is no need for proclamation either. People are happy that you are showing a want to bring yourself out of a nose dive and they will be supportive of you. Keep the proclamations in your support circle as a constant need for that and that is the proper place.
Surround yourself with others who have been there before you and heed their advice. Learn how to a sober person – that takes time! Take walks instead of runs. It took a long time to put on those extra 40 lbs. and it will take time for them to come off. Water your lawn which will slow you down. The lawn will eventually turn green again but it will not be over night. And it will not be restored by flooding it once or twice. It will come back to life through nurturing and daily care. Your life will come back to you in this same way. Turning your face into the sunlight will help too!