Putting my program back into full swing as a good friend of mine who is sober shared that she had very recently picked up. Twice. When I asked her how it went, she replied, “…fine – really no big deal.” There were no shame-filled horror stories of antics she deeply regretted in the light of the next morning. None of that. We both were quietly perplexed and continued our hike. The conversations that have happened since her admission of drinking, while illuminating, have been not been helpful to my own sobriety. She has been investigating with a interventionist friend whether or not she really is an “alcoholic” or whether she was spiritually bankrupt and her life became unmanageble which led to some self-medicating with booze. Diving into the big book, she has come to the understanding that she is probably not an “alcoholic” after all.
One guess where my mind took all of this. Yup. Am I? Am I not? Am I? Am I not? I have a reluctance to attend my own recovery meetings right now as the gossip and BS that goes around those circles has been heating up of late. Damn drama. Also, I do not want to do the whole “birthday” thing as my two year date draws near. I want to mark the date by doing something awesome, healthy, celebratory. Not digging up the old stories and sharing them in a basement room. Super tired of identifying as someone who is still engaging in a behaviour that I am not: Hi my name is Shine and I am an alcoholic… feels wrong. Feels stuck. Feels like I have moved my life forward without wine but the group requires me to be that old version of myself when I am asked to share. None of this is required in the original program by the way. All of it is “stuff” people have added and it does not fit for me.
The problem is that since we have returned from our travels, many of the components of my program have fallen to the wayside. My yoga = sporadic. My meditation = sporadic. My posting here = not happening. My recovery meetings = not happening. And so not surprisingly, I am feeling wobbly, fragile. And then the discussions with my sober buddy…
On Friday night, with the house to myself, I gave myself the green light to drink if that is what I wanted to do. An experiment to gather data. My stomach actually rolled with nausea at the thought. My body’s vote is a clear “no thanks.” My mind keeps looping back to the idea though. I was so frustrated by the addict voice that I shared with my husband and another friend what was going on and cried. And then I walked my dog in the woods. I sat in meditation for 27 minutes. When I got to the ski hill, I did a Yoga Nidra for Recovery session. I changed my mantra from “I am thriving in my sobriety” to “I am grateful for my sobriety.” My new mantra became the focus of my bedtime yoga practice. And this morning I write this post. Doing the things that have given me my sober days so far. I am wobbly. Recognizing that, I am recommitting to my program. I have built this amazing life without my dependence on wine and I do NOT want to go back to where I was. Here is what I said to my friend yesterday as I ended my participation in that conversation:
“…I don’t need to argue labels and agonize over whether I am truly an alcoholic or not. Whether I have the allergy or not. Whether the craving sets in and how far I will take it or not. I only need to ask myself whether alcohol added value to my life, or took value away. Did it help me become the best version of myself or someone I could hardly stand? And when I think on the honest answers to those two inquiries I KNOW that picking up would be the very worst choice for myself…”
So I share this not to discourage. There are still some tough times. But I face my own truth and rally. So for right now, I will head out into nature and ski – that is my church this Sunday morning. And then I will walk my dog, meditate, do some yoga and most of all I will be grateful for my sobriety.