Funny. I appear to be quite good at viewing life through what I believe these days is a reasonably clear lens. On a conscious and rather rational level I accept that it can’t all be roses and rainbows, even to the point where I don’t just accept life’s lows but actually welcome and embrace them. Yet it takes so little to cause me to wobble in the moment. At the same time, my world is a bigger place now and I’m learning more and more that it isn’t just me who feels scared or worried or nervous in situations – I know this is the case for other people too. So I guess it’s two-fold, really, and what happens when you stop running away.
Whereas before, when I’ve felt out of place and uncomfortable, I would have felt alone, vulnerable and like I’m the only person in the world with these feelings, I now take comfort from not being alone. Hearing how others feel gives me a sense of balance. Like a compass, almost. Maybe it’s because I don’t trust my own instinct and gut feeling.
Let me explain.
On the counselling course, we are 20 students in the group. My therapist actually put to me when I, a couple of weeks in, told him I thought everyone seems gloriously nice, whether I was telling him that in a group of 20 I actually really like everyone. He was bemused and I had to giggle too. Of course not. But no, I didn’t dislike anyone. And I don’t now. But there are people – one or two – who trigger me. By ‘trigger’ I mean they provoke something in me. I suppose they get under my skin. By now I have learnt enough to recognise this is all to do with me and nothing to do with them. Sure, sometimes people are just shit, right? I’m not about to profess to being someone who internalises every last thing and make it my fault. I don’t. But when there’s a reaction, and particularly a negative one, to someone who hasn’t done anything wrong per se, then it’s a button in my soul they’ve inadvertently found and are pushing. What I realised last week, during session six, is that this isn’t going to be a love-in. This is going to push me into some uncomfortable corners but I have hope that I’ll come out the other end with insights rather than enemies. As long as we’re always prepared to look inwards, I believe everything else can be handled.
And I suppose it’s a little bit like recovery in that sense. I laid the foundations by going without. To build a life I no longer have any need to escape from, I had to go within. Always back to my core and what my heart and soul tell me – what is happening within me right now? And why?
I started this post Saturday morning and at the time I thought to myself how that was a good thing as all my posts seem to happen on Monday mornings. Yet here we are and it’s Monday morning.
Today isn’t just any old Monday morning, however. Today I am:
1,000 days sober.
Strictly speaking, I am 1,002 days sober but it’s the decision I celebrate rather than when I took my last drink. Fuck me – 1,000 days. Me? Are you fucking serious?? It doesn’t seem real. For all the right reasons.
Hubby asked me what had been the hardest thing. He caught me just as I was taking another big gulp of morning coffee and had suddenly got the urge to do a poo. Sorry, not sorry. It’s true. And it just highlighted another great reward – I’m really regular now. My body is happy, my heart is happy, my insides are happy, my soul is happy – I AM HAPPY! I don’t know what was the hardest thing about recovery, that might have to be a separate post another time. His question highlighted that without delay the rewards of recovery are all around me, all the time and in abundance. Right there in the very moment he asked me, there was something to be grateful for. Even if it was shit. I can even be grateful for shit. Isn’t that fucking awesome?
So many times I’ve thought about these milestones – 1 year, 2 years, 1,000 days and beyond – and thought how great it’d be to write a really wonderful piece about what I’ve learnt and share some gems about recovery. But there it is. It’s immediate and it’s right in my face at every turn – recovery has changed every last aspect of my life for the better. If I were to list the best things about it, I’d never stop writing.
And so here we are for the 1,000th time and I am making a real effort not to scream it from the rooftops, which is actually what I want to do:
TODAY I AM NOT GOING TO DRINK!