I started this blog one year ago today—the date that also marks my first day of sobriety. The blog was to serve as an emotional outlet, for I expected to encounter many struggles staying sober and figured the blog would help me sort out my feelings.
That same week, I joined an A.A. group for strength, education and accountability. I still attend faithfully, and I’ll celebrate and accept my one-year coin tomorrow with my ladies.
Who would I be in sobriety? That was the big question. Perhaps there were real skeletons residing deeply beneath the trendy wardrobe in my closet. I had no way to know what (or worse, whom) would await me, myself and I.
I fully expected to discover a yet unidentified gem within. I wondered if my new path would help me discover an untapped talent that had been suppressed deep in the cerebral bottle until uncorked in sobriety. Did I possess the Tolkienesque skills that would unleash sensational tales? I thought that fighting with MyGuy about petty differences would cease. Would we ignite that eternal flame in the absence of altercation? I just knew that those extra pounds would melt like a Popsicle on a hot summer day. I fantasized about a new job that would take me to the height of my career and that MBA that would soon be mine. Muuuuuaaah-ha-ha.
In summary of my first year in sobriety, I discovered that writing is HARD. And it is not my untapped talent. And it takes a long time for me to produce a short blog post—time that I would rather spend riding my bike, playing my flute, sewing or kicking back with MyGuy. Further I have no wild tales to tell, so my inner Tolkien will have to remain in the corked bottle with Genie.
I still fight with my boyfriend, however now our arguments are about real issues, and mature discussions often result in relationship growth. Gone are the pointless “who’s on first” conflicts born out of drunken confusion, where two people argue together about separate issues they have apart but are joined by offensive opinions in the judgments of the other’s truth when whatnot becomes here fore and…well, you get the point.
The weight did not fall off, but I did lose 14 pounds, and I earned every one of them a couple of times over. It turns out that alcohol is not the sole destructor of will power.
Finally, I’m still in the same job, in the same position. Except almost immediately, people started treating me differently. Management began incorporating me into their planning phases, and I received a substantial raise. More notably, something changed within me. I no longer schlep through the halls with the objective to go unnoticed. I began to hold my head up and knew that I was on equal footing with the rest of them. I had always brought talent to the table, but now I bring productivity.
Sans alcohol, what I found to be most challenging to deal with was the good times, not the hard times. Celebrations have always been marked with a drink and a clink. A malted frosty signals the completion of well-earned blood, sweat and tears while martinis welcome new beginnings. But how do you mark a special occasion without a drink? What do you do during the defining moment when you shout, “hurrah!”? And why exactly would I sit in the chilly outdoor air next to a fire pit without a glass of Cabernet? Needless to say I navigated around these festivities with interesting concoctions that I invented myself. I had managed to make non-alcoholic drinking a palatable hobby for the first several months.
What was the greatest gift of all? That which I sought when I began the metamorphosis. A friend in myself. The gem from within is self love. I no longer awake to the hateful verbal abuse I unleashed upon myself every morning, berating myself for a lack of self-discipline, not to mention the name-calling. One might say I weakened my connection with God because I no longer pray every morning—to quickly cure my hangover and remove this addiction from me. Now I pray to give thanks for recovery.
One year of sobriety down! I feel like marking this celebration with a well-deserved shot. But I won’t. I think I’ll go for…