When I first started blogging about this recovery experience, I only wanted to read about folks who were newly minted in their sobriety. Somehow, years of recovery seemed unreachable and unreal. I couldn’t foresee hitting ONE month, much less ten or twelve or more!
And yet, here I am at one day past ten months. Recovery is just part of who I am now. I would no more pick up a drink today than I would willingly stand in front of a roaring train. I am a different person in so many ways.
I got here hour by hour, day by day. Just like everyone else.
I noticed a few things along the way. That’s how recovery works: We stay available to our environments and our feelings. We start noticing. And as we notice, we allow positive changes into our lives. We let go of the baggage, we sort out the detritus. We keep what’s important and we change the order of importance when it’s good for us.
In recovery, in sobriety, I’ve learned that what is good for me is sometimes uncomfortable for my family. They are going through all of these changes with me.
I’ve learned that I deserve a space in our home of my own. And out of that discovery, I’ve started using that space for all of the crafts that make me happy. If I wasn’t using it to sew or paint or doodle or whatever, I’d have put an easy chair there instead of a desk, and I’d use it to read. Because I matter as much as my kids do. I matter as much as my husband does. And I don’t only have to do for my family…I am allowed to do things for myself.
I’ve noticed that my family is uncomfortable with my odd sleep schedule. In fact, it makes my kids downright frustrated that I’m awake at 4a.m. and sometimes I take naps in the afternoon. You know what? I’ve learned to put myself first, even when it makes them uncomfortable. So tonight I went to bed at 9pm, and got up at 11:30 pm. I will probably stay up all day until the afternoon, when I will take a nap. And then I will go to bed tonight at about 11 pm. It works for me, and they will be fine even if they have to (gasp!!) figure out snacks on their own. 😉
(And I’ve started a photo diary of my boys’ nap habits…to use as ammo in the war for my own sleep. )😂😂
What about AA, you ask? Well, I gave up running the meetings, and I haven’t been to one in about a month. I love AA for being there for me. But I don’t think AA is a great answer. For one thing, I had to go to an AA group that was about as non-AA as you can get. I hate the “higher power” bit, and I hate the idea that recovery means you must go to meetings for the rest of your life.
Here’s what made me finally give up running the meetings: One guy, who has been there for almost 40 years, said to me when I first started at AA that “Nobody gets it right the first time. You’re going to relapse.” This is one of the guys that ran our meeting. When I took over two meetings a week, I really wanted to be the voice of the opposite idea: You can walk in the doors looking for recovery and find it THE FIRST TIME. I hated that sentence from him, a long-timer. Being there for newly-sober folks is a powerful thing. You have to treat that power with respect. That same guy, about a month ago, said to me, “I don’t know where X is. But I can tell you, if you’re not coming to meetings, you’re probably out drinking.”
That’s what made me so mad I quit running the meetings. I just can’t listen to that kind of crap any more. There are a million things to do in sobriety besides go to meetings. That mindset– meetings or booze, take your pick—is what turns so many people off to AA.
Anyway, it wasn’t a rage quit kind of thing, it was just wearing on me. Meetings might be part of my life in the future, who knows? But feeling like I’m fighting against this ridiculous mindset is just not something I need on my plate right now.
Anyway, life in recovery is so worth the struggle it was to get here. I’m dealing with some health issues-one of them is pretty serious (left ventricular hypertrophy)-and I can’t imagine I’d be facing this stuff *at all* if I were still drinking. I’d have my head firmly in the sand and it would all happen around me. And I’d be spending half my time freaking out about my heart and making it all worse. Then trying to numb the freaking out with more vodka. Which of course would make it even WORSE…etc etc. yikes.
I love being present for it all. Even the scary stuff is still there to be experienced. There’s nothing I can do for my heart issue…it is what it is. And that’s going to be part of my journey from here on out. And that’s ok. It’s amazing not needing or wanting to turn to booze.
So, happily in sobriety, I wish you all a beautiful end of January! We are heading towards -30F here, which means more Hobbit-time for me!
Here are my latest creations: