Yesterday was my sobriety anniversary. If had told me fourteen years ago I would have the life that I have today I would have never believed it. I wouldn’t have been able to believe it. My life at that point had nothing to do with living and everything to do with wanting to disappear.
In many ways this last year has been one of the most challenging since I stopped numbing my life with alcohol and drugs. It has also been the year that I have felt the most alive, the most like my life mattered, with all of the contradictions and twists that go along with that.
This last year has been far from perfect yet nothing short of a miracle. I have been asked so many times to step up, to reach for what I want and it has been incredibly exhilarating and uncomfortable. There have been many nights I’ve cried my eyes out wondering if I would ever feel normal, that all elusive feeling I have been seeking my entire life. There have also been pure, raw moments of undeniable joy, bliss even, where I have felt so rooted, so loved and so like my life had true meaning.
If there is anything I have learned in these last fourteen years it is that everything and I mean EVERYTHING changes. More and more it becomes clear that in order to live in some sort of balance, harmony and inner peace I have to surrender to the present moment. THIS is where the real deal wading through mud, falling on your ass, getting back up, fumbling in the dark, crying like you’ve never cried before, this is where THAT surrender happens. And believe me when I say it’s worth it. Every ache, every negative thought, every loss. Because at the end of the day it’s up to us to suit up and show up with as much generosity and forgiveness as we can muster.
And some days that is really fucking hard.
And other days it feels like the most effortless, natural thing in the world. It feels so integrated into our being that there are no thoughts, only the happiness that comes from being 100% present.
Every month before my anniversary I feel waves of sadness. Waves of grief. Waves of wishing I had a different life growing up. The shift is that every year I feel all of this a bit little less. Yes there are parts of my story I am still trying to heal but today I believe in my core that healing is possible, that there is nothing too dark, too painful or too scary to heal. And in many ways this is the miracle.
At some point I’ll tell you my full story in a book but for know just know that I didn’t go to rehab at 21 years old because shit was good in my life. I was desperate, I was dying and there was a glimmer of hope when my parents sat me down in my Grandmothers living room and offered to send me to treatment.
For the first time in years I was able to exhale just a little.
And from that tiny exhale I began to bloom.
I’ve been blooming like a wild flower all these years and I feel truly blessed and grateful for all of them. My adventures in sobriety have been nothing short of real. And today I’ll take the full spectrum of feelings that are part of a real life over a life of trying to numb out all of the feelings.
Today I have been living sober longer than I lived in my addiction and that really blows my mind.
For so long a huge part of my life was devoted to my recovery. In those early years I learned some major life changing lessons and some of the biggest ones were that my story matters, I am a born leader and that I am here to guide people.
As I type this my heart is swelling with compassion and love. I am coming to understand in a deep way that I am at the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I am reaching not from a place of despair, loneliness and that scary underworld I was killing myself in all those years ago. That is part of my story but it doesn’t define who I am right now.
Today I am reaching from a place of wanting more, asking for the stuff I was incapable of asking for until now, committing to myself in ways that I couldn’t until I had taken all the steps that brought me to this moment. Today I am reaching for all the experiences, love, support and healing that I want because today I believe in my bones I am worth it.
Photo by Anaïs & Dax.