This page has been staring empty at me for a little while. Then I filled it with words and deleted it all. I think it’s one of those moments when I put pressure on myself, like I have to say something really great and profound because today is my ten months sober. Then I wiped it all away with a swift select all and delete because all I can really say is this: I FEEL GREAT!
Going slow has never been in my nature. Being a fast learner is a blessing and absolutely this has made many things very easy going for me. I sailed through school and university with good grades and zero effort. In fact, during my last year of high school my absence was nudging 30% and university was no different – I hardly bothered showing up yet ended up with a strong 2:1 degree and then missed out on a distinction for my Masters by only a fraction despite completely winging it. This probably sounds like bragging but it isn’t – I’m outlining how a Ferrari was parked on my drive and yet I was too lazy to learn to drive. That’s an obnoxious and undesirable trait, this laziness. That Ferrari will just sit there, gather rust, fall apart and lose its value. The problem is that if you don’t also have some built in ethos to work hard, it means that unless things come easy like they normally do, you just don’t bother simply because you don’t know how. In that way I was spoilt and that makes me feel quite ashamed. Some people have to really fight to get by due to learning disorders or just finding learning hard. Joke’s on me though because I didn’t care much and if you don’t develop a habit or desire to give everything your best shot, it almost doesn’t matter what hand you were dealt.
An unfortunate result of having it easy is that I’ve always been really rubbish at those things that do require a bit of perseverance. Even in areas where I have perhaps shown a tiny smidge of talent – like writing – I haven’t shown any grit, and certainly not enough to follow through on anything. Probably from the age of five, my answer would have been the same if you’d asked what my dream is: be a writer, write for a living, write books. I can string a sentence together, right? I mean, there are SO many books out there – best selling books even – that are so poorly written! And I have had lots of stories percolating in my head that might just work. Again, there are SO many books out there where you just wonder how in God’s name they got published. I’ll tell you how: those writers worked at it. Few people sit down and type up a perfect book just like that. It isn’t something that “just happens”. And if I don’t possess the determination, perseverance and ability to stick at it until it bloody works, then it doesn’t matter if I can describe how summer rain feels on your skin so well that you’ll feel it. Not saying I can, by the way – I’ve never worked at honing my skills so perhaps I couldn’t and if I continue the way I’ve been going we’ll never find out, will we?
Good news is that sobriety means I’m at least back to being the real me. I’m no longer Drunk Me who is either plastered or hungover. My mind is clear and alert, and I have energy and an inner calm I don’t actually know if I’ve ever felt before. Will being sober suddenly transform me into a determined and hard working writer? No. Unfortunately I would still have to work and work hard if I even want to produce a draft, let alone one I can submit. All sobriety means is that my drinking is no longer blocking my way. All that work however, I’d still have to do. We’ll see. Perhaps I never will, but what I do know at ten months sober is that booze isn’t going to be the reason why.
Perhaps all you clever folk always had that built in hard working quality I admire so but never had myself. Maybe we sat next to each other in history class. Whereas I scanned through the books quickly the night before an exam and did well, maybe you spent a bit of time every evening leading up to the test and took great care to learn it all. Perhaps we even ended up with the same grade just because I found memorising easy? You know, this makes me think of K, a girl in my class in high school. She was rubbish at math. It was, alongside languages, my strongest subject and I never in my life did any math homework. It just clicked straight away and I got it. Plus I enjoyed it, which helps. K, on the other hand, just couldn’t grasp a lot of it. The poor girl fought like a mad woman to even pass. She sat at the front in each lesson, asked questions that made me roll my eyes (it slowed the lesson right down), and she worked super hard and studied endlessly only to scrape through. I imagine if she’s applied the same approach to life in general she’s a CEO these days – I’d actually be surprised if she isn’t. Very few people just slide in to glorious success on a banana skin, just like very few people hammer out an amazing novel without trying hard.
Well. I’m working on it! Yes, progress is frustratingly slow and sometimes I can just about hear faint echos of Drunk Me who’s getting impatient and ready to move on to the next thing, but it’s starting to come right I think. It’s not like drinking created this in me because obviously this was my nature all along, but I do think drinking exacerbated it. To better myself in whatever way it may be, I do need to be sober and at my full faculties, so it’s down to Sober Me now.
And what do I want? Well. Recovery is pretty big for me. I’d like to see if I can carve out a place for myself in the recovery services. Yes, it’s the hard work approach, that slow and steady path I’ve always avoided. I’m not fantastic at it, but I’m learning and I’m beginning to like it. I suck at a lot of it, it has to be said but whereas before I would have given up and moved on to the next thing, I’m trying to stick at it. My DBS check (a UK security check you need to pass in order to work with children, vulnerable people, etc) has come through and this means I can start the volunteering for the rehab by giving every other Saturday to them. Then, once I hit my one year sober, the rest will hopefully open up a little bit. As for writing… Well, I’m obviously blogging and that’s got me back to really enjoying it again. With any luck this will trigger my love and passion for it all over again. One thing is for certain – I can’t freaking hide behind alcoholism as the reason why I’m not achieving anything worth writing home about. It’s on me now. It’s on ME. Yikes!
Shit! I really wanted to have something really great to say on this little milestone but there we are, just another load of waffle!
Today I’m not going to drink.