Wow. Breathe. Slow. Pull back. Volume down. Close eyes. Relax shoulders. Inhale, exhale.
To say the past few weeks have been hectic would be an understatement. It’s all so positive and I am feeling incredibly motivated and energised, but right now I just need to breathe. All my senses feel heightened, even my heart seems to beat higher up in my chest and this morning is the first moment I have to just slow down, reflect and allow everything to just sink in a little.
My hours at the rehab, as well as my duties there, have increased and multiplied at break neck speed. I ain’t complaining! It’s going so much better than I ever dared hope and I’m loving every second of it regardless of whether the second in question happens to be one of hope or one of heartbreak. I’m gaining confidence and feel much more relaxed both in terms of understanding what I’m doing and being around clients – this isn’t always easy for someone who struggles with boundaries and mostly my own. I’m so used to just saying yes-yes-yes to everything and promise the world only to under deliver that it takes conscious effort to keep myself in check. I may be into my 40s but in many ways I’m learning for the first time to not only be ME but also to stay true to myself. The days of yes-yes-yes with no thought are over – when ‘yes’ passes my lips now, it’s considered and comes with genuine ability and desire to make good on my promises. When I say yes, it now means I will come through and do so gladly. It requires my attention however, to carefully keep those boundaries and respect where I am able to draw them because the biggest threat comes from within them, from me.
And so I’ve been a little quiet. Not because I’ve run out of things to say but because I just haven’t had a moment to myself lately. My head is buzzing with all these new things I’m learning and although I don’t want to share here, I’m also trying to process some saddening news. I hate being vague, but let’s just say life happens and I’m just very, very grateful that I’m now getting to deal with it sober – life will always throw lessons our way but without anaesthesia we are much better equipped to deal with it. Situations that would have sent me into a tail spin just 14-ish months ago I can now face and handle whilst feeling all emotions in their purest form. This is only positive.
Do you know what else is so amazing it makes my heart swell with joy and gratitude? Not drinking. Uhm, obvious I guess, but last night was a sweet victory and waking up this morning once again to face a new day sober is a miracle. Last night, you see, was a perfect storm and yet my little rowing boat wasn’t even rocked in the slightest. In fact, it didn’t even occur to me until the realisation hit me as I crept under the covers to read my book at bedtime. Hubby is away with work and Bambino was staying over at a friend’s place. Home alone. No work the next day. No one to see. No one to know. If that’s not a perfect opportunity to guzzle wine I don’t know what is. And yet it didn’t even enter my mind. Drinking isn’t part of my world anymore. OK, OK – I don’t for a moment consider myself “cured” or that I have all this sussed, but it’s freaking awesome to feel this way. Whether it’s a patch or stage that’ll pass or I feel this way forever is something else, but to feel calm and content and have no smidge of desire to drink makes me so happy. Long may this continue, one day at a time.
Life is life. River deep, mountain high. Sometimes we’re thrown those curveballs, it’s part of the deal and non-negotiable. But as one of my favourite bloggers put it, it’s learning to be content with the “gentle rollers” and finding our happiness there. Chatting with one of my new colleagues, one of the therapists, highlighted the same thing. I was describing to him how it’s the small things that make me so grateful and happy, sometimes something so small as standing up in the shower. Come on, that’s something most people take for granted, right? Hardly a life changing event. Or putting a security code into a door lock at the rehab after just looking at the combination the once – how many people do you know who smile at being able to do this? Well, you know me now, but beyond this? Or perhaps I’ve just joined a big crowd of other sober folk who feel the same way. Do you? Anyway, I felt a little stupid telling him this.
“It’s not stupid at all. We live in those moments most of the time,” my colleague said and smiled, “we don’t live in the big moments, do we? It’s the simple everyday things that count.”
Exactly! If you think about it, he really hit the nail on the head for me when it comes to my sobriety. I genuinely feel as I imagine I’d feel if I’d been in a wheelchair for all those years I was drinking. Suddenly I have the use of my legs again – I can stand up, I can walk, I can run. I was going to say “I can dance” but no one wants to fucking see that. For someone who can throw away their wheelchair after years of not being able to even stand up, what do you think will give them the greatest joy? A million in the bank or the feeling of strength when their feet are pounding the ground during a run in the park? Yep, quite right. I have many things to be grateful for in my life, but most of all I value sobriety. And let’s face it – without my sobriety there would be no life anyway and I swear on Bambino’s life that I wouldn’t want to drink even if you offered me millions to do so. I’ll take that run in the park any day of the week.
Today I’m not going to drink.