“I never knew you were such a drunk?!”.. Was I? Am I? Here comes the wave of self doubt, seeping into every pore. What qualifies someone as an alcoholic? Does pissing the bed count, what about sneaking booze after everyone else has gone to sleep? Blacking out at the bar, waking up broke, broken, and ashamed, what about that? Honestly, it all sounds pretty normal to me.
One month in I shared that I had been booze free for 30 days with the Instagram world, just in my stories. It was non-committal enough and it would disappear after 24 hours. Realistically, a fraction of people would see it. Not too much accountability but it was still there. I was sweating, sick to my stomach, with a full blown anxiety rash. But I did it.. despite everything in my physical body telling me that this was dangerous.
At 30 days sober, I was isolated and I was angrier than ever. “Who do you think you are sober and sharing your experience with people? No one cares, get over it, it’s not a big deal.” I was suffering from shame and guilt. The feelings I had been numbing for years came back ten folds, slamming into me. Everything, embarrassing nights out, desperate hook ups, the lies I told to disguise my poor decisions. All I could hear in the back of my mind was, “They don’t like you, they don’t love you, they are embarrassed by you.” It was deafening. But who is they? I learned that “they” are the nameless and the faceless- and to my inner child, they were everything and everyone.
Therapy came more often and more easily after day 45, but I was still angry. I didn’t understand, but I knew I was in the right place. I was making choices that would at least save me some money & I wasn’t suffering from hangovers anymore. At this point the things in my life that were no longer serving me, were screaming at me and it was absolutely terrifying. That nagging self doubt was still poking her head out. Reminding me that no one gives a shit. And that I was helping no one in sharing my sober experience. But I started to believe her a little less.
Something changed around Day 100. I learned to work with that dreadful inner voice, and teach her new ways to manage her emotions and ways to keep her safe. Through meditation I discovered I could break cycles and create new patterns of self love, self belief, and rewrite the abandonment she experienced. My perspective began to shift and things were starting to get brighter. I was laughing with my family more, I was forming night time rituals, and putting my non-negotiables in place. My sober community grew and I dove further into my subconscious. Thank you Universe for giving me the signs.
I redefined my relationship with boundaries around Day 200. Through sobriety I learned that boundaries are personal preferences, if they are not communicated they will not be respected. While I was drinking they looked like a blow up fight, insecure reactions, or a silent cry in my bed, while I pushed my needs to the side. But boundaries began to take the form of reminders to hold space for myself, acts of love, or communicating my limitations to others. I began to recognize that my need for exterior approval came from a place of lack and fear. And then, everything changed. I am love, I am enough, I am abundant.
I have this vivid memory of myself that I used to play on a loop in my mind. It was crystal clear to me, I was crying at the back door of an ex’s house, sobbing uncontrollably in the cold and rain. I was physically on my knees, begging to be let in, and I never was. I was destroyed. I have replayed it in my head over and over again. The thing is, this memory looks like so many others that I have. Me, so easily handing over my power, desperately needing to be made whole. Asking them if I am worthy, always begging someone to let me in from the cold, to give me love, to show me affection.
Sobriety has given me the gift of replaying this memory with a new ending. I am no longer on my knees, begging to be let in. I am walking in. It’s warm, it’s bright, and it feels like love, and I am there to give myself a big hug. We just sit, by myself and with myself. You are love, you are loved. I am love, I am loved.
At day 300 I started a new life. I said goodbye to the life where shame and fear were in charge of my mind and my body. The nameless and the faceless no longer dictate who I am. Sobriety has given me the opportunity to do the work, and the opportunity to step into my self worth.