I am grateful… so grateful, for where I am right now. But I do wonder when I look back at my position, how the hell did I get here? Inching out my twenties, deeply in love with the Lord, having found freedom and peace from anxiety and depression, a couple months sober, a few months into therapy, happier in my marriage than ever before. I don’t feel like I have a completely set purpose or path to pursue, but I’m so content in my career. Content in my relationships. Content in my ever-growing faith. Working on parenting. Working on my character. Working on better habits and skills and approaches.
And here I am. February 2019. Looking at AA meetings and searching #sobriety hashtags on instagram. Floundering a little on a daily basis as far as my temper and how I spend my time. Not eating healthy but wanting to. Not having my life together, but really deeply at peace. I feel like I kind of stumbled onto this sobriety thing… after striving for SOOOOOO long and desperately wanting it, desperately praying for it, then just giving up and fully surrendering to the Lord’s will, after dealing with all the other emotional baggage in my life… it just finally clicked. Now that I’m a few months out, looking back, I wonder things like, “Am I susceptible to relapse? Is this my life now?” I definitely get the whole “one day at a time” concept so much better in practical application. I desperately need the Lord’s daily bread, his daily portion of willpower and lack of desire for the things I sinfully pursued for so long. And in the beginning days, I didn’t look at it at all like it was a forever sentence (like I had in previous attempts to quit). I didn’t tell my friends, I sure as hell didn’t tell my family. I sipped ginger ale from a champagne flute at a Christmas party, made myself a soda water and lime on the rocks at dinner parties, and mostly kept conversation surrounding my changed drinking habits to my absolute closest friends.
So it’s just kind of surreal, out of body, to be talking to my therapist about feeling ever-so-slightly anxious about the possibility of traveling on vacation with our drinking buddies, and perhaps to be revealing more to him than I let on before about the reality of what my life looked like pre-sobriety. I didn’t think I’d been misleading, but as he put it, I “show” well. I can keep a job, manage my household, maintain my friendships, put on a very polished front… all while pre-gaming before social functions, pouring myself a glass or three of wine every night of the week, looking forward to entertaining not to focus on socializing but to have an excuse to down a bottle of champagne, occasionally lying to Drew about the frequency or volume I’d been drinking. I flirted a lot with “how much can I get away with before this is a ‘problem’?” I had cut down dramatically on work functions with open bars, especially after a few too many evenings I’d drive home completely intoxicated and completely in denial.
Maybe, I just wonder, how much was I in denial? Was it a legitimate problem? I have earned myself a bit of notoriety with my close friends for being the sloppy drunk wedding guest… more than a few weddings, I would either drink all day (#bridesmaids) or go hog wild by the beginning of the reception, and end up leaving the party early, embarrassing myself in front of family and friends, and/or puking my way to the car. Everyone tended to chalk my behavior up to “getting overexcited” at really emotionally heightened events… that was always my justification, for sure. But even things like a kid’s polar express watching party would turn into me getting shitty before 11am.
So now it seems so bizarre that I’m a few months in, feeling strong and content and so healed, that I have to remind myself of my humanity. Is this something I can’t get cocky over? Am I empowering that diseased nature of mine by even entertaining the thought that it might not always be this easy? I know it is only by God’s strength that I’m this far through it, but maybe this isn’t quite past the finish line? Or maybe… shudder… there isn’t a finish line? Can’t I just move on and forget it was an issue? What does true healing look like?
Perhaps for now, this is just life now. Constantly unveiling “new normal.” The Lord has given me several wonderful alternatives to drinking, a renewed and deepened faith, and a plethora of resources to support me through it. He’s carried me through the last few months and I have faith that He will continue to do so. It’s just kind of crazy.