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Sober Nation

Putting Recovery On The Map

02-19-20 | By

To All The Alcohol I Ever Used And Abused:

Are you sitting down? Good. I don’t want to beat around the bush here—I’m done with you. The shop’s closed, that ship has sailed, we’re finished, finito, it’s the end of the line…

Goodbye.

Geez, I only wish it were that simple—For you to be here one day and gone the next—but I know it’s not. As Sinatra sang, “I’ll be seeing you in all the old, familiar places…” You might very well be present, but I won’t need or want, nor continue to fall prey to your manipulations and alluring, but false appeal.

You know, it really doesn’t matter how long it took me to get to this conclusion. It matters only that I’m here. Believe me, I don’t relish reviewing the facts of “us”: how easily I slipped into your embrace, how willingly and completely I believed that you’d shield me from having to confront the things causing me such dread.

You were exactly as I needed you to be… until you weren’t. But by then, you had your claws dug in deep. I watched, helpless and drunk, as you diligently worked to grind me nearly to dust. It no longer mattered that I willingly handed over my vulnerabilities to you, it not longer mattered that my body was breaking down, it no longer mattered how isolated I became, and it no longer mattered that I couldn’t process, and felt little, when confronted with the ashes of badly broken relationships. I had let you infect me completely. In so doing, you unmoored me, sending me perilously adrift. I became lost, even to myself.

The decision to seek out help, to find my sobriety, and to begin living a life in recovery, has, by turns, been humbling, harrowing, and extraordinarily exhausting—but I’m doing it. And you know what? Despite my bumps and bruises along the way, choosing a sober life has also been beautiful and illuminating. Day by day, I can feel your heavy clouds lifting up off me. I see it like this: I don’t have to play Artax in the Swamp of Sadness; no, NO… this is no Neverending Story. This is me. And I realize now that I was, am still, and always will be the agent of change in the course of my life’s story. I can see now that what you offered wasn’t the safety and comfort of escape. Your sole function has always been to keep me down—make me a stranger to myself and others. You painted over the intricacies of my character with gross brush strokes.

You Betrayed Me.

I take heart in knowing that I’m catching up to you. More than that, I’m proud of the ability and desire to keep calling you out for your many injustices.

I am, however, human— imperfect by nature. Let’s talk about slipping up: when it happens, you make me messy and careless. I can’t stand that. I’ll admit it, my sober standards go lax. I become rash and wrong in thinking “I got this.” Why? Because honestly, “I don’t got this.” What I mean to say is that I am discovering is that, at thirty four, I hardly know me. How can I protect that which makes me ME if I don’t even know half of those qualities are?! So I guess that means you’re still here…and I’m pretty sure you always will be—in some form or another. I have no interest in becoming a career relapser in order to gain personal insight.

For what it’s worth, I bear you no ill will. Regardless of your heavy burden and the countless tumbles I’ve taken, you have taught me that the path in life is rarely straight in the beginning. It’s all just a work in progress—one that evolves over time, if you let it. But now?

 I Want My Power Back.

So when the light turns green, you’ll go one way, and I will go another. That act of separation—letting you go—will free me. I am eager to get to know myself, to discover my purpose, and to cultivate my self expression.

Surprisingly, I feel as though I owe you a debt of gratitude. For, in knocking me down, I learned I actually did have the strength and determination to get back up. In your own twisted way, you got me to open my mind, my eyes and my heart. There is joy in exploring my growing sense of worth, and seeing my self awareness come into focus. I know now that thoughts of the future just make me anxious…and no matter how much I want it, the past doesn’t change. I believe that the present moment is the best place for me. I want to take it from here.

So let’s just shake hands…no need for a scene. Honestly, I wouldn’t wish your effects on anyone. But I’ve learned to see the beauty in my experience, and am grateful for my journey. I know now that I am here for a reason—whatever that may be.

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