If you had told me six months ago that not only would I be grateful, happy, and proud to be attending recovery meetings, I likely would have laughed out loud at you (in my head). If you had told me that not only that, I would be arriving at 6:30 in the morning to unlock the doors, put the coffee on, and set things up so that I could serve by CHAIRING the meetings I might have subtly stepped back away from you fearing your mental health status. Nobody is more surprised than me to find out that all of the above is true. And I could not be happier about it.
I am doing things differently this time around. On previous attempts to get and stay sober, I wanted ONLY my drinking to change. Take the drinking off the table and leave everything else as is – no change required in other areas of my life. For me, this approach simply does not work. I have found that when I take drinking off the table, if I want to keep it off the table other things MUST change or my sobriety will be shaky at best. This past Monday marks five months of continuous sobriety. I have reached this milestone previously but I have not experienced such peace and pride around it.
This time I am reaching out and making some new SOBER connections and friends. That is a change. Before I wanted to keep my old friends and just not drink around them. My old friends are great but they don’t understand my struggle with alcohol like my new sober friends do. When I talk with someone who has the same struggle we are instantly on “deeper ground” because of our shared pain. I need these connections to remember I am not alone and I am not a loser for having this struggle with alcohol. These were the beliefs I had before I made this change and began reaching out through recovery meetings and the internet. I just spent the most amazing weekend with a group of SPECTACULAR women whom I had NEVER met before. That in and of itself was scary. Socially awkward and quite shy is how I describe myself even though I often don’t present that way. So to throw myself into a group I did not know and the only thing we had in common was our struggle with alcohol was a huge change. It was a willingness to do things differently. What blew my mind was how quickly I was comfortable around each of them. Our conversation consisted of deep, life changing exchanges that will be with me always. I actually came away from the weekend with a pride of being a person with an alcohol problem who is doing her very best to deal with it. Before I would have never entertained the thought of hanging out with a group of strangers, let alone sharing some of my biggest fears, failures, and struggles with them. That is change. And man was it good!!!
So I am trying to embrace change this time around and even though parts of it are very scary, I am trusting that inevitably everything changes. Even my best friend, alcohol changed from being fun, sexy, and predictable to scary, ugly, and wildly unpredictable. So to do my life without alcohol, for me, means that things MUST change if my sobriety is to be sustainable. It is the ripple effect – throwing that stone in calm water will create ripples of change in the water. No matter how much I resist those ripples shall persist. This time I am not resisting change – my mantra is “Bring it On…” On my strong days at least 🙂 and that is a start.