I know I’ve been writing a lot about my addiction and recovery lately. Hopefully it doesn’t scare anybody off, but there’s a few reasons for the trips down memory lane…
It’s partly because tomorrow is my fourth birthday, meaning, the marker of four years without alcohol. Birthdays tend to make me reflective.
It’s also because I’m embarking on step eight. You know, the fun one where you have to list all the people you’ve harmed and prepare to apologize to them. Yay. There’s nothing I like more than cataloguing all the terrible shit I’ve done to people.
I’ve also been dealing with addiction again in an up-close-and-personal way, though this time it’s not my own problem. I’m not going to discuss it here because it’s not my story to tell, but it’s someone I love. Being on the other side of the issue this time causes me to look back and ask myself, “Was I really like that?”
(The answer is yes, yes I was. In fact, I was
probably definitely worse.)
So while you guys are presumably way over hearing me talk about my past life as an alcoholic, I can’t just let this day go unobserved.
When I look back at getting sober four years ago, all I can remember is how hard it was, and how much easier it gets. This year especially has been easy – I mean, being around alcohol doesn’t affect me as much as it did in my first three years of sobriety. Yes, I still have my Spidey sense about the smell (with which I can smell a glass of wine being poured a full mile away), but I can basically be around it without getting all nervous (like last year), or worse, want it so badly I have to leave (like the first two years). Now, it’s more like a wistful nostalgia I feel for an old friend whose company I enjoyed until they started mainlining heroin and smacking me around.
This year I’m also more comfortable being myself. Case in point:
I would never have gone out in public wearing my glasses before. I’d have been nervous about going to BlogHer with the extra twenty pounds I’m carrying. I probably would’ve hidden in my room a lot more, eating a ton of the free donuts smuggled from the expo hall (I mean, I ate a lot of them as it is, but it could’ve gotten ugly). I was around a bat-ton of liquored up bloggers and didn’t bat an eyelash. No, really, it didn’t bother me at all. What a miracle.
This year has also brought about a change in perspective about being an alcoholic. I feel human, and I’m embracing it rather than seeing it as a point against me. I’m me, I feel all the feelings, and it’s okay. Coping comes much easier than it used to.
So happy birthday to me! I’m ready to rock year four.
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For those still suffering from addiction, or families and friends of addicts, watching this TED Talk helped me shift my perspective about my frailties.
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