And it’s here.
Today marks one year without a drink, and I celebrated with my “teetotaler” tattoo.
On this day last year, when I decided to quit, I had not crashed at rock bottom. But… I HAD crashed into the bottom so many times, my life was like a trampoline—up up up, boom? ! Up up up, ? boom!
I knew if I didn’t stop drinking, that I’d be back hitting the bottom of the trampoline soon enough.
The question was whether the trampoline had the resiliency to catch me and not tear straight through the next time.
(I wasn’t too sure.)
I had struggled with depression for years (decades?). I even had a doctor swing wildly towards diagnosing me as bipolar, and prescribing me some medication that made me almost catatonic. Let me tell you how hard it is to train for triathlon when catatonic. I have learned over the last year that these bipolor episodes are actually not that—that while I am probably a little manic, in general, the wild bipolar-like swings have dissipated. And honestly, without my little bouts of mania and madness, my creativity is dead. So, while yes, maybe it’s inconvenient to be a raging insomniac… it’s also a blessing and a big part of what makes me tick, write, and be.
It was the drinking. (Please note that I am NOT saying that depression, bipolar, and the like are not real issues, should not be taken very seriously, etc… I am simply anecdotally sharing my story–one that was full of depression and darkness. For me, quitting booze and controlling my sugar have been the two major turnarounds for my mental health issues.)
Yes, I still have dark spots.
But where the darkness was full-throttle, pitch black before… where I was stuck in a cave with no air, no sight, no movement, and no freaking way out kind of darkness? Yes, I have been there, and that hasn’t happened to me in a year… well, eleven months.
(I say eleven months, because the first month sober was unreal hard, and pretty dark and scary.)
But then, well… things changed. I have noticed over the last eleven months, the darkness still comes, and I see it, and it’s dark.
But there is always a light, somewhere. Sometimes there is large light that screams, “Right here, you dumb chicken. Open your eyes and walk towards it! LIGHT! Helllllllo!”
Sometimes I have to squint, but I see it–a tiny pin-prick light–and I crawl towards it, eyes with tears, but I go. I can see it, feel it, and move towards it.
This past eleven months there has always been a light—always.
And I honestly can’t think of the last time I have gone a year without total pitch darkness encompassing me at some point.
That is grace and sobriety, and grace. Lord, it’s grace, and I am thankful. My family is thankful. I am so thankful.
Sure, I still bounce up and down. And yes, life sucks hard sometimes. BUT, that’s life. But I know that I can handle it now. I know that the sucking is more of an enjoyable, capable and tolerable suck fest, a more manageable ride down on the trampoline, with a slightly gentler landing. Instead of “Ohhhhhh $&@?!!!!!” I hope that this trampoline works.
I have faith that the trampoline will hold me now. I know it will. Somehow. And the light will be there. That too.
(And even if the trampoline doesn’t hold me, I’m going to be fine. I know that. I believe that).
Last year, I didn’t lament the departure of the booze that much.
[Maybe a little.]
But. I knew saying farewell was the next step for me, my life and my future.
Wasn’t easy. Still isn’t.
But when I decided to lay it down, I knew it was over. Booze was no longer invited over to party. (Bring on the seltzer!)
There are some things, people, places and behaviors that you can turn your back on and just KNOW it’s over.
And today, I am a fabulous, one-year proud #teetotaler and I ain’t ever going back.
Will I always have it together? Certainly not.
But I am banking on myself and staying sober.
So, I am saying it with the type of certainty that I must live this way. That I will be a Teetotaler. A proud one, at that.
I. Will. Not. Go. Back.
On this day last year, I knew exactly where I stood.
And today, I know where I stand.
And maybe it’s too much, but like Holly at Hip Sobriety says,
“And I think, I like this girl I am. I like that she’s too much for some and too little for others, I like that she is strong enough to be disliked and still be exactly who she is. I like her a lot, because she’s mine.”
I may be a little much or not enough, but I am just enough for me.
And I know where I stand.
#grace #day366 #teetotaler #hipsobriety #justkeepmovingforward
* * *
A big thanks to HipSobriety.com for the Hip Sobriety Manifesto and inspiration for the #Tt.
I am all in for the movement. Let’s do this. (Below is the highlights of the Manifesto… please go visit the full site for the entire manifesto and SO much inspiration and joy in sobriety).
“1. You do not need to hit rock bottom…
4. It’s not a sad consequence. It’s a proud choice…
5. You need a holistic approach. It’s not about just cutting out the addiction or “just stopping”. It’s also about what led you to the addiction in the first place and what keeps you going back to it. To truly break from addiction – without transferring it to something else or just white-knuckling through it – you need to address the drivers that led you to it in the first place, and the addiction and related complications. Furthermore, you need to develop an entire arsenal of healthy coping mechanisms to use in place of the shitty ones you are using now. There is no one silver bullet here. To truly be free, you must holistically address the underlying cause and the addiction.
9. Your hangovers go away. Your social life doesn’t…
11. You’re not weak or powerless.”
For those of you who might be struggling, please know that you are not alone. Do not be afraid to ask, seek, look and reach out for help. I’m also here if you want to chat, or confess, or just need someone to talk to. And I really do mean that.
SMART and SMART Friends and Family
(*I am not a psychologist or health care provider, and am not pretending to be. Just sharing some links, some stories and some struggles/successes. Feel free to add your own links, comments or other that might be more helpful in the comments below.)