Four years sober and I celebrate myself.
This morning I noticed stories in my head when I thought about sharing this celebration with a wider audience. The voice spoke of keeping myself small and the voice brought the idea that being proud of myself is wrong, that pride is “sinful”. The voice moved to a story that four years is not a milestone big enough to celebrate, outside of my immediate circle. Now five years would be acceptable. But, by who? Those people outside of myself, a culture who determines what year a milestone is worth celebrating? And there it is. The word. Worth.
Somewhere deep inside me I am still holding onto a belief that I am not worthy enough to share this celebration. I was buying into what the voices in my head were telling me that kept me in a state of perpetual unworthiness. The energy of it can be deeply unconscious and oh-so subtle. Yet there it was. In a sense, I am making myself big and taking back my power by sharing this news with you even though I can still recognize that part of me that doesn’t want to make you uncomfortable by making myself big.
As I became aware of what was happening in my inner landscape, I do what I always do. I opened my journal. I began to write what I was thinking and what I was feeling and what I was sensing. I created a space for the thoughts to tell their stories and for the feelings to flow through me. I took myself through a process that moved my energy back to a state of worthiness by being present in the experience.
Four years ago I knew I was done with alcohol. When I reflect back over the past decade of my life, I understand more clearly the difficult and challenging experiences fraught with anger, rigidity, and control. I didn’t want to be drinking and I didn’t know how to change it. So much of my life and the relationships in it revolved around drinking. I was angry at myself and at the situations I found myself in and I projected that anger through my rigid and controlling behaviors, on the people who matter most. My behavior generated more anger. Let me just say, they were ugly scenes. And I’m grateful they are a thing of my past.
I don’t miss drinking, at all. In fact, my life is more expansive without it. It felt so good to let go of the cost and the process and the destructive ritual of disengaging from my life. I don’t miss the room spinning when I lay my head down to sleep, or waking in the middle of the night with dry mouth or a churning stomach that sent me stumbling to the bathroom. I wake up every morning feeling refreshed, alive, and ready to start my day. It is magical and healing to feel the freedom of regret and disappointment in myself and to be free from the compulsive addiction of alcohol.
Being present with the thoughts, voices, and feelings I was so desperately trying to hide from by drinking, is rewarding, empowering, and healing. Sobriety has given me the gift of coming back to myself. I feel alive and engaged in every area of my life, even in the messy, confusing, uncomfortable, and chaotic moments. I’ll take living my life to the fullest any day over the consumption of alcohol.
My hope is that by making myself big and celebrating this milestone I have inspired you to look at your life and to take the necessary steps to change what you know you want to change. You can do this. You are worthy enough to celebrate any and all changes you make in yourself and in your life in order to live the most authentic version of who you really are.
Self-Awareness and Transformational Coach, Inner Child Advocate, and Yin Yoga Teacher.