It’s been a while. To catch you up..I was celebrating the holidays, traveling home and back and coming the closest to drinking that I have since I quit. But I didn’t drink. I didn’t write either.
And the not writing slowed down my recovery. I wasn’t a fan of the word recovery. Just like I didn’t love the word alcoholic or sobriety..but all three words found me and revealed their true meaning. To me.
Alcoholic…to me means I am a person who can never just have one drink. I don’t want a glass of wine. I want 8. I use alcohol to avoid people and feelings that make me uncomfortable. I use it to remove myself from life. To check out from responsibilities. To numb.
Sobriety. Well that just means I don’t drink anymore. Not a glass, not a sip. I just don’t.
Recovery. That’s the part of this whole process that carries the biggest meaning. The one that brings the most gifts. It’s also the one that will slap you upside the head…and that hurts. Most times.
Recovery is the act of recovering. Recovering your true self. The person God sees you as. The person you were meant to be. But you got stuck. Your emotional growth was stunted. That same person never learned to cope, never learned to effectively deal with negative, painful feelings. Never learned to care for herself, to protect herself. She is lost. She is scared.
A little girl buried in years of neglect.
Some days you don’t want to find her and help her.
Some days you’re just there. Sitting with feelings. You’re hurting because of something someone said about you behind your back.
Some days you get into an argument because you vowed to stop being a people pleaser and to stand up for yourself but you don’t do a great job at communicating. Because you’re still learning.
Some days you just don’t know how to do the next right thing…so some days you just want to drink. Because that’s what you know how to do.
You don’t want to recover her, you want to drink her back to where she came from. You want to leave her. Again.
Then there are days you chisel away at a fear, at an unhealthy pattern. You write out your thoughts.
The writing is crucial to recovery for me. I honestly don’t know what I think until I write it down. I don’t know how drinking affects me or how sobriety is changing me until I write it down. Organize my thoughts. Recognize my- self.
Other days you talk with a friend who gets it. And there are days when you not only do the next right thing, you surrender all the worries and what ifs. You let God take you through the impossible.
That was last night. Last night was January 5th. A date that was on my calendar before I decided to quit drinking. My preacher asked me and my friend to speak at church. I said yes on behalf of both of us without a plan. Without an inkling of what we would talk about.
I eventually told Preacher Man that I was newly sober and asked if he still wanted me to speak. He said yes. He said he wanted me to share my experience.
That’s when I knew that God and I were getting in a better place. Because I knew there was no way I could do that unless I just gave it to Him.
So I asked God on a father daughter date night. No. I really did. I looked at January 5th at 5pm as our first official date since I got sober.
I put on a dress, curled my hair and jotted down a couple notes. Little notes that I felt He’d sent me along this journey.
I put together a simple slide show of video clips with my friend’s help.
But most importantly I pulled out all the thoughts of how I don’t belong on that stage, of how I am a fake, of how I don’t deserve to share my story…yet.
I also pulled out all of the whispers and assumptions of what other people thought of me. I threw them off to the side and let them rest on top of the shame I had boxed up and moved out for the night …
During the worship..God reminded me that He was on my side. He is for me. Not against me. That’s when I reminded myself that this was His night..He’s leading this dance.
God went up on stage with me. He did His thing. He carried me through the impossible.
Last night, I not only shared my biggest secret, I told on my addiction. I gave ugly details. I told my church I was broken.
That I showed up on Sundays, got Baptised, went to small groups, hung out with church leaders…and all along I was drinking bottles of wine behind closed doors.
When I got in my car I reached for the phone to call a friend to share this feeling I’d never felt. I wasn’t just proud. I wasn’t just happy. I was full. Full of joy. And I mean JOY.
FREEDOM. Not wanting for anything.
The feeling alcohol promised to give me all along….but never did.
My friend didn’t answer. Alone in the car, I heard myself giggle. Like a little girl. I sat there and just smiled before starting the car. I helped her last night. I helped recover that lost girl . She’s getting bigger. She’s getting stronger.
Later I would pile up in bed with my husband and little boy to watch a movie. Sandwiched in together watching Benji and laughing. I never thought about drinking. Not once. I thought about how amazing this life of mine is in that very moment.
Today my son asked me to promise him that I would never drink again. I said, “I can’t. All I can promise is that I won’t drink today.”
Because today I am recovering her.