I’m not just saying that. I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know how to write a blog. I don’t know anything about it. I just know that I’m trying to live sober in my own skin and there are a lot of thoughts in my way too busy head. I can’t possibly contain all that. I’m trying to figure out how to even use this site. Hell, I’m trying to figure out how to work this Mac. I am a 54 year old woman who is 109 days sober today. I have wanted to write for quite a while; I’ve just never really done anything about it. I’m not a writer. I’m a pre-k teacher, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend. I know how to be all of those things. I just don’t know exactly how to be me. Just me. Who am I? I know the roles I play. I’ve played them well, I think. Mostly. I have had a few major screw ups. But, I know how to be a good mother. I knew how to be a good wife. I know how to be a good teacher. But when everything is stripped away, who am I really? And that’s really where I am in this thing. Who am I and how do I live a sober life?
The question, “Who am I?” seems like a really deep, philosophical question. Like only someone sitting on a mountaintop in complete self awareness and serenity would have the answer to. That’s the image I’ve always had when I thought of it anyway. But, I’m finding it to be something very different. The answer to that question is so simple that I was missing it.
Wait a minute….there is no simple answer to that question, but there is a path. I have been so caught up in my head that I was missing what was right in front of me. Obsessing over the future; over things I would like to do or might do or might not do. Will I open that restaurant back home? What would I do if I won the $162 million dollar lottery? Will I have to continue teaching until I’m 60 or can I retire before that? Will I ever get married again? And on and on. I became so wrapped up in all those thoughts that I spent 3 days hiding in my apartment in fear. I didn’t go to work for 3 days. And it wasn’t because of drinking, it was because of fear. Which sounds like the perfect invitation for an unwanted, former friend to come knocking at the door. And I can’t have that. So, after lots of prayer and essential oils, (Young Living Brain Power is going right now), here’s what I think. I need Good Orderly Direction. It’s that simple. I literally have to learn to live life without drinking. The path of good, orderly direction will lead me to the answers I need and surprises along the way. Because it truly is a journey. The journey I was on was dark, and now my journey is filled with light. It’s a better path.
For years, drinking was the undercurrent in my life. Everything got caught in it. Through every good thing and bad, it was always there. “Will they know I’ve been drinking? When will I get to drink again? I’m pissed off, I need a drink. Do I sound like I’ve been drinking on the phone?” Guilt. Regret. Remorse. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. This was my life and so everything else revolved around that central theme. Now, life is good. It feels good to not drink. It feels good to watch TV sober. To not have to worry if I disappoint someone I love tonight. I also have a lot to face. Sober.
My nest is empty. My daughters are young adults and we have a wonderful relationship today because of my sobriety. But, gone are the days of being dance mom; carpools; getting kids to school; curfews; cooking supper for the family; my yard being full of my kid’s friend’s vehicles because they’re all hanging out at my house. I go to bed alone and I wake up alone. Just me. For the first time sober-ever. It’s hard sometimes . But, there is a way to face all that. There is a way to live in this stage of my life and look forward instead of backwards. And here it is for me:
1. I must go to my meetings regularly. They are not optional. They are a part of my recovery. Those people inside the rooms are my people. They are me. I get strength there. I feel a little less crazy there. Part of my living where I am now is so that I could go to lots of meetings. I can’t afford to be too tired and curl up in a ball, which is my tendency.
2. I need to find a church. For the first time in my life I don’t feel like I have to go to church, but I want to go to church.
3. I need regular exercise. It helps keep me sane. I’m 54. My knees are too. I don’t have to prepare for a swimsuit competition, but I do need to move and breathe.
4. Go to bed early. Get plenty of sleep. Get up in time so that I’m not headed for school with my hair on fire. Breathe in the morning air. Sip coffee. Show up. Take care of kids. Love them because they sure do love me back. There’s a big payoff there and it ain’t money.
5. Be grateful. Everyday.
That’s the path I’m taking now, and I am so thankful to be on it, at last.