Epilogue; prologue–ONE YEAR SOBER!

19 Mar

11:44 am

Some of you were like, Hey, how come you saved the best for last? Well, of course, I wasn’t going to gloss over my ONE YEAR SOBER “BIRTHDAY” today!

First of all, WOWIE, thank you ALL for your awesome, supportive comments. Second, I must clarify: I have two brothers; the one with the girlfriend is NOT the same as the one who is getting married in May. So, I am not the photog at her wedding…

Anyway, the epilogue to yesterday’s “drama in my club” is this:

When midnight came, I admit, I was still exorcising my anger and bitterness by journaling. I did actually get to some good points–great points–about how I feel now and what I get from being sober. I re-read an entry I wrote last year, on this very day, when I was sitting on my couch, passed-out-ish, throwing up onto the towel strategically placed (by my boyfriend) on my chest, before stumbling into bed in a blackout. That day last March, I had nearly six months of continuous sobriety. I have not drunk since then–a full, continuous year. It took me almost two years of trying, but I got here. (Mind you, and this is important, I started trying to control my drinking all the way back in, oh, 2004! I was blacking out then, things got really bad in grad school–I even tried AA in 2006–and I began consciously trying to go for days in a row without drinking starting in 2007–I made it 30 days once, back in the summer of 2008, but more often, I’d only go for 3 to 5 days before going back to my bottle.)

What triggered me?, I wondered, which is why I went back to re-read. Well, it was stuff that would probably not trigger me today, stuff that would not carry as much emotional weight: feeling isolated, feeling attacked for being a “hermit,” which I admit I had become (like, hey, does ANYONE think outside their own asses these days; my landlady literally physically jumped me when I got home that day, scolding me about how I ignore her and I can’t get away this time–needless to say, that woman has CODA issues, and I have rightfully decided to keep my distance), feeling stressed (I was running every day, almost 6 miles one day, 3 miles the next–too much). I had to baby myself then, which makes sense–in early sobriety, everything hurts your raw nerves; nothing makes sense. While my mind is still a buzz of thoughts, back then, everything triggered me to anxious and obsessive thinking.

But, we get through this shit, our minds calm down, and the obsession to drink leaves. Not entirely, but there was this shift that happened for me around 15 or 16 months (I started my journey, a first attempt at getting sober, in June 2012, so this was August of last summer), where I just stopped wanting to drink around every turn. Stopped automatically always assuming/believing that drinking equals relief, escape, fun. Now? Well, that has died down even more, and I see that it’s a real improvement; the thinking goes away. You learn how to live without the reward of alcohol. In short, your mind bounces back. And from what I’m seeing now, your mind not only bounces back, but it keeps going higher and higher!

The epilogue to yesterday’s message from the one brother’s girlfriend is this:

I DID call him, and we DID talk. I was nervous, and upset, but I got through it. And, it left me feeling VERY ambivalent. He basically insinuated I was lying about any message having been sent–she denied it (she probably forgot because she was blacked out when she sent it), and he believed/defended her–which pissed me off to no end. We are NOT that kind of family; there has never been this kind of “he said/she said” drama. That comes from her. Anyway, it bummed me out, and I expressed my frustration, that I cannot do more than I’ve done. And, he continued to keep his list, you know, the one with all the reasons on it to hate me, to hold up his (her?) grudge. And I was like, Dude, I’m not saying you can’t hate me, what I’m saying is, your girlfriend can’t bully me. I get to choose that. Period. (Plus, no one needs a reason to hate someone; hate is irrational, and no matter how many lists you make, hate is a choice, not a must, or a rationalized “to do.”)

On the one hand, he was like, I don’t know why it took you so long to call; on the other, he was like, Well, why do you have to go dredging up the past? I was confused, obviously, mostly at his utter lack of self-observation–you do realize, I wanted to say, that you’re saying two different and opposite things and that both allow you to maintain your grudge, no matter what I say or do, right? He said something about, Well, there’s nothing we can do then. And I was like, YES, brother, there IS something we can do here, and it’s what we do, as humans: we can work together toward forgiving one another, and we can work together toward reconciliation. (I actually said that; I felt proud!)

Honestly, I realize the elephant in the room is his toxic, 15-year-old relationship with cray-cray. And, I see how messed up she is, and how IF he wants to change the situation, he’s going to have to confront her, call her out on her act, and stand up for himself. One, he’s never done that in 15 years; and two, I assume that he knows that IF he does that, he’s going to unleash her beast (she’s threatened to kill herself if he leaves her; which, in my opinion, is part of her act, but which I don’t think my brother is so sure).

GAH. Talk about Relationships 101. And, I realize now that it’s none of my business anymore; I don’t need and never did need to keep this shit live. That’s my problem, wanting and expecting people to align with how I see the world, to forgive and/or like me. Lesson learned: What other people think of me is none of my business; and let it go, let it go, let it go.

However, I was proud of myself! Once I got over my fear and pounding heart, I was pretty good at explaining myself. I know I did wrong, and MY crazy while blacked out can put off anyone for good. But, what more can I do? If they want to continue to buttress their grudge just to hide from reality, well, at least I don’t have to live in that place. I did send him the email she sent, and then we “chatted” about life, and then I hung up. And then, I called my other brother–we’re much closer–and he basically talked me down for the next hour and a half. All in all, it was cathartic, if not healing. I’m still not looking forward to the wedding, but at least now I KNOW I can stand up for myself–I won’t fall down and die.

The prologue is this:

THIS is just the beginning, this sober thing here. I feel like now, (my) sobriety is taking on a shape of its own, starting to live outside myself, direct me when I’m lost, prop me up when I’m weak and scared. I know it’s me, doing this, but it’s somehow more than me. Maybe it’s simply an accumulation of this constancy of self–I can rely on myself. I can rely not only on remaining sober but also on…this Truth inside to guide me, to steer me, to fill me up, to make me righteous when I need to be, to help me–allow me–to make the right choices, and not just the superficial ones that I “should” make.

It’s growing, and building, and I’m becoming more and more sure of myself, of this path as being the right one, of sobriety as being the right choice, and not just the good choice. It’s right because it’s allowed me so much growth this year, emotional and professional. It’s right because it helps me to really see my relationships in action, and to identify problems on my end. It’s right because, I don’t know, I’ve talked about this nebulous idea before, but protecting The Body is so much bigger than just not trashing my own temple. It’s about this connection to heaven, as it were, which is here on Earth–the body, this body that I’m in, this mind and body, is a holy ground. It is where I stand; it is the only place I can be, which means, feel safe, be connected to…the Truth. A calm. Something that says, it will all be OK. There is nothing too big or scary; nothing is big or scary, actually. It’s all good, baby.

Even more, I don’t have to rely on anything outside myself to connect to this truth anymore; it is right here, and it is growing. Sure, I want to drink sometimes, but I know I can do well without. And this truth, it gets bigger now with every day sober. I can’t tell you what a strange thing this is to say, because up until about a few weeks ago, I was still struggling with Not Drinking. Sobriety is about me not drinking, big deal, no one cares, it’s just alcohol anyway. Somehow, that has morphed. Maybe it’s as simple as momentum: my sober car is rolling, still picking up speed, and I’m finally able to look back and see just how far it’s come!

So, one year is a prologue, it seems. The best is yet to come. Sounds SO preachy and AA-y, but…it’s real. I think it helps to confront your shit–I am learning to do that as it happens, and not wait (um, two years). But hey, the things I’ve learned and what’s helped me become more empathetic toward myself and others is this: we all make mistakes in our lives, but we all evolve (if we try). And strangely, as you’re fighting to evolve, sometimes it’s YOU who has to help someone else learn this about themselves. Like, to tell them, You can change, you can evolve, you are bigger than you know.

Another one is, I forgive you. I mean, getting sober has taught me that I must (not should) be prepping to forgive all the time, because I DO want to be that person who is READY to forgive when someone who’s hurt me comes with a sincere apology. Forgiveness is hard, and you really do have to be prepared to offer it to someone; I don’t want to not be able to give that. People deserve it. I deserve it. So, in addition to not being hung over all the time, I’ve been able to learn the value of cultivating forgiveness in myself–for others’ health, for my own. DEEP THOUGHTS, people. 😉

Tonight is the wine bar event–well, we’re gathering at a wine bar/resto. On the one hand, it’s just another day sober. On the other, I feel better and more hopeful and less burdened than I have ever felt. And, I feel like I am more confident and settled–this isn’t going to go away with a mood swing because this is real, I made this. I built this. And, I think the struggle is what makes it worthwhile, because without that constant fighting against the wolfie in your head, there would be no…reference point. The whole process of building your new statue–becoming sober–is what helps it stick.

Thank you, friends. I would NEVER have gotten this far without your support here. Thank you from the bottom of my heart–your comments were touching and some brought tears to my eyes.

Now, another 90 days? Another 100-day challenge? Onward for this “user bitch cunt!” (I hate to tell her, but it’s no secret I can be a cunt; and, I still love me. So, GOTCHA, bitch! Of course, I’m not above resentment yet, my friends. LOL)

(Btw, I think my present to myself for a year sober might be a trip back to Mexico–I loved Mexico City when I went a few years ago, so…I don’t know why, but it sounds like a good idea!)

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18 Responses to “Epilogue; prologue–ONE YEAR SOBER!”

  1. furtheron March 19, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

    What a fantastic post!

    Huge congrats on the year anniversary – that is an incredible achievement. It also shows me about recovery working – that gives me great strength to draw on again in that here is someone doing it for real, getting over the gain line and making progress – that is something I can do if I work at it like them. So thank you for helping me find that strength in you to use for me.

    I remember my 1 year anniversary. My sponsor personally presented me with a 1 year chip at my home group and I was asked to speak. I was so over the moon that I’d made a year. My family were so proud of the chip when I got home they asked to see it. I did then go a bit flat – a bit of a “is that it?” thought or a “I thought that was going to mean it got easier/better etc.” Also I stopped all the “this time last year I was…” stories which I’d been using I needed to learn a bit of a new lesson cos I was now over a year sober… “Over a year” I remember thinking that for a long time.

    Again – huge congrats and good work around your brother and his gf – I love how you dealt with it – you swept your side of the street as they say and you’ve recognised what you cannot change in them and how you have to move on with that.

  2. jenisthesoberist March 19, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    Happy Birthday, DDG! I absolutely love this post- especially the part about forgiveness. That really hit home. It is so cool to hear how much you have grown. Hugs!

  3. Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com March 19, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

    Congratulations friend!! Yay for you, girl.

  4. fern March 19, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

    What progress you have made. I love to hear the positive self-thoughts!!!

    You are an inspiration. Congratulations!

    Fern

  5. Trisha March 19, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

    Wow. What an awesome post. Very deep and profound. I’m going to save it and reread it. I’m suffering it a little since when I found your blog last year I was just about 2 weeks behind you but fell off and hard at around 5 months and struggled to climb back on the wagon. I would be coming up on a year beginning of April! Found Belle’s 100 day challenge through you and am now on day 45. Not looking back. No matter what. Anyway, thanks for your honesty and know that your struggles and triumphs and breakthroughs have help many. You have helped me. Congrats on a year. It’s a big deal!
    Trisha

  6. momma bee March 19, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

    wow, I am so glad I read your post today. You have no idea how much I am taking from your post today and how much I can relate to you. I didn’t even get to slow read it as my work phone keeps ringing but I will later tonight when I am alone. its so comforting to know your not alone or others go throw some of the same things. congrats again on your year and I look forward to your future posts. B.

  7. lifecorked March 19, 2014 at 10:39 pm #

    Congrats! And, yes, being able to forgive is life changing. It sets you free!

  8. Iambizi March 19, 2014 at 10:57 pm #

    well said! happy for you!
    bizi

  9. Lilly March 19, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

    I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: May it RAIN DOWN glittery unicorns upon you in a gigantic parade sister! Having followed you pretty much from the start of your blogging journey it has been so awesome to see you come all this way, through all the twists and turns, ins and outs, and growing self realisation. A trip to Mexico sounds like a fine way to celebrate. And I very much hope you will keep going, keep blogging about it. As you’ve said, it’s just the beginning. You’ve laid this amazing, solid foundation and now you can built upon it and reap (even more) of the rewards.

    Yay yay yay yay yay!!!!!!!!

    And your brother’s girlfriend is an *&^%$ unspeakable. I think you’ve MORE than done your bit to try to reconcile from your own mistakes. Time to let it go and let her wallow in her own cuntulence.

    xoxox

  10. good2begone March 20, 2014 at 12:34 am #

    Powerful post. A ton of growth packed in a 12 month span. Congrats on the accomplishment!

  11. Al K Hall March 20, 2014 at 4:15 am #

    You go, Drunky Drunk Girl-friend! Congratulations on a hard fought and much deserved year of sobriety. And to think, it just keeps getting better!

  12. Rebecca A. Watson March 20, 2014 at 8:15 am #

    Wow, what a great post. You just seem so grounded. And I guess that’s what sobriety can do for you 🙂 Super huge congratulations to you!! How very exciting and can’t wait to read more as the new year begins.

  13. Theresa March 20, 2014 at 9:48 am #

    Congrats… it’s really an accomplishment.

  14. earlysobriety March 20, 2014 at 10:01 am #

    Many congratulations on a full year of sobriety!!!!!! I am a new reader, but your blog has been a real inspiration for me the last week or so, and has got me motivated to start my own blog, and join the 100 Day Challenge!! Day 2 for me!! Good luck as you embark on Year #2!

  15. mariusgustaitis March 20, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

    Congrats on your sober circumnavigation of the sun, dear one. I wish you many more orbits. (orbits beat obits, hands down) I can honestly tell you each one gets better. Now get on with your bad self, girl, and keep showing us how you do the funky funk while not drunky drunk.
    Love, Marius

  16. Mrs D March 20, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

    The cray-cray people in this world (and I’ve got one of them in my life who has done unspeakable stuff directly to me that I have never blogged about) are always going to be there. They cause us terrible shit but they are a part of the fabric of this world and it’s learning how to accept them and all their hurtful shit without turning cray-cray ourselves. (love that cray-cray word!).. Anyway.. that is what you are doing my friend and you are totally AMAZE-BALLS I think. For me shifting the huge knot of anxiety in my tummy that my particular cray-cray person had given me came down to listening to Tara Brach’s talk on forgiveness. It’s free on her website. Totally wonderful. That worked for me anyway. and congrats on one year woooo hoooo!!! xxx

  17. cb March 21, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

    A big, fat hardy congratulations. I am inspired and in awe!

  18. Amy March 22, 2014 at 6:57 am #

    Oh, a year! What a hard earned lovely wonderful thing. I remember thinking, just a few short months ago, “How can it be even possible that I haven’t been drunk in a WHOLE YEAR???” And then there was the relief and delight that “HEY! I haven’t been drunk in a whole big fat year!”

    I always love reading your blog- we have so many of the emotional things in common- it’s nice to read what I.m thinking but in your way so I can see it different. Thank you so much for your honesty and for writing. It helps me.

    On to the second year! 🙂 xoxoxo

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