"Most people believe vulnerability is weakness. But really, vulnerability is courage.
We must ask ourselves...
are we willing to show up and be seen?"
I couldn't tell you the last time I had a drink. I may never know the answer to that. But I can tell you the day I decided it had to stop. And that I couldn't do it by myself. All the endless bargaining, shame-fueled hiding, broken promises, looks of disappointment, destructive lies had to stop. It was killing me and those I love. And relationships were tested beyond measure. Feelings ran cold and people were effortlessly discarded. There wasn't an area in my life that this addiction didn't touch. Alcohol is cunning, baffling, powerful and consciously optimistic is about finding a sense of self and a life in recovery.
I thought a really long time about this post and if I should write it at all. You see, there will be plenty of those who never had an inkling that this was my life. This is where my disease had led me. And honestly, it has been a mere blip of time since that decision to go to treatment. Months, really. But my secrets will keep me sick, if I keep them secrets. So here we are.
Drinking is hilarious, right?! I mean that's what moms do! We get together for our girls' night out's and pour bottles of wine down our throats, while talking about whiny kids and sex lives. Well, some can and be fine the next day. Others of us have to keep going. And can't stop. I will never understand the person that can have just one drink. Why would you drink for any other reason than to get drunk? And, man, the opportunities! I drank to celebrate. To erase a trying day. To numb pain. To feel pain. To socialize. To isolate. To laugh. To cry. To mom. To wife. To function. To live.
And still there are times when I get angry with myself for screwing it up. Screwing it up enough that I can never have another drink and expect anything other than disaster. I romanticize my relationship with alcohol and think about all the good times we had on patios, at BBQs, in bathtubs. I'll never have that again. It's so crazy to think how easy it is to focus on the one thing we don't have instead of looking at all of the things we have and can have as a result of its absence. And there are times, and forever will be, from what I gather, that my sick mind tells me I can have a drink noooow that I've taken a little hiatus. I needed to be scared straight and now I'm cool. No. Not so.
This is not a place for war stories. We all have plenty of those. Instead this is a journey away from the battle ground. It is a place for hope and honesty. It was the stigma attached to all the "ism's" that kept me sick. In treatment, I honestly looked around and thought to myself, "How did I get here? How did I get with these people?" I got "there" and was with "those people" because these sicknesses know no boundaries and no one is above being struck at any moment, so why not grab reality by the balls and live life on purpose.
This is not a blog about alcoholism. Not even one about addiction. Addiction is a part of my story but not everyone's. But this is a blog about recovery. Living life on the other side. Will I be funny? Will people want to hang out with me? What do I like to do? Who am I really? Will I laugh again? All questions I've asked myself and all questions I continue to find answers to. And people recover from all sorts of things. Not just alcoholism. Not just addiction. Depression. Grief. Co-dependency. Abuse. Cancer. We need to know that there is hope buried in all of those that plague us. It is not our fault. It is our responsibility.
In treatment, I decided that I was going to do things differently. Not take things for granted but rather be grateful for all that I had because I heard so many stories from those who had less, lost more. I got back to the gym and in three months, lost 30 of the 90lbs I had gained in a year (calories on that booze will blow your mind). I am working to connect to my higher power. I'm also working on honesty, it's not my jam but I am getting there. I'm repairing relationships, even the one I have with myself. I am searching for self, and probably will be for eternity.
I'm not perfect. Nor do I claim to be. Nor do I WANT to be, for that matter. I'm not going to get it all right the first time. More than likely it will take lots of times. Well then, isn't it totally cool that life gives us chances? We have endless opportunities to get it "right." And we will fuck it up. But we will also conquer it.
And we will laugh again. And we will learn who we are. And we will like it. It is all about being aware, mindful, and positive. It is a belief that something greater than ourselves can guide us. It's owning our shit. It's being vulnerable. It's finding a reason to get out of bed every morning for something good! It's being consciously optimistic.
Fate whispers to the warrior, "You cannot weather the storm." The warrior whispers back, "I am the storm."