1,096 days, 42 minutes and 94694685 heart beats, so says the sobriety calculator. I say that it’s good to be alive and celebrating 3 years of being alcohol free – today!
Graced! That is how I feel today. I don’t think of myself as being any sort of deeply religious person, but no better word describes how I feel. I now realize that taking alcohol out of my body placed me at the starting line of life. Not a new life, but one that has given me the opportunity to learn who I am. It has given me the opportunity to put my “false self” behind me and to bring my true and authentic self to the forefront. At three years into this journey, I am overwhelmed with elation and I look forward to every day in front of me.
Reflecting back three years, for a moment, I have found this journey to be the most difficult thing that I have ever met in my life. At year one, I was “happy” for the most part. I was on a ski trip with my daughter for that anniversary and I knew that our trip would not have been if I was still drinking. What I didn’t realize at the first year mark was that I was still in an unconscious state! The full impact of the guilt, shame and remorse for the lives that I had affected, while drinking, had yet to wash over me.
On my second anniversary I was completely paralyzed with fear. I was definitely conscious and I was hurting. My critical thinking skills had returned to me and I was seriously questioning the ideology of AA. I wanted to move in another direction but found myself conflicted with the AA slogan that “this (AA) is the last house on the block. Only jail, institutions or death await you if you leave AA” brainwashing! Above all else, I didn’t want to run my life into the ground again.
Full of fear, I struck out on this journey of “self discovery”. With the help of a great counselor and the love and closeness of my family and friends, I made that journey out of darkness. I learned to forgive myself (that was tough) and I have found a wonderful life that makes me want to stay sober each and everyday. I also discovered that all that fear I felt in my second year – it was really courage! So that was an added bonus. I now know that courage does not mean that you are walking forward without fear.
If this post apply’s to you in any way, it my sincere wish that you will be able to find your place as a sober person and that you will be able to, or are already taking, an amazing journey of your own!