It hasn’t been on purpose, but I realize I have been conspicuously absent from this blog for most of the summer. Rather than finding myself hunched over my computer, I’ve been out and about savoring every bit of this glorious season’s sunshine and warmth and, well, just participating in life. It has been a total gift to have had the opportunity to preach occasionally and, beginning this October, I will have a somewhat steady gig with a congregation currently in a pastoral vacancy. I have been finding myself re-discovering who I am and what gives me joy. That may sound elementary, but to this recovering alcoholic, reclaiming life has been no easy task. I wasted a great deal of time feeling sorry for myself. I was sure I had ruined everything and there was absolutely nothing to look forward to our hope for. Yes, there was a time I believed I could never have fun or enjoy myself, let alone be ‘happy’ without alcohol. Not true! I haven’t had a drink in nearly a year (I will mark one year of sobriety this Friday), and, while I have no idea what my future holds, I am finding myself pretty jacked up about it!
I don’t think about a drink anymore. Really. The AA folk used to tell me this day would come and I didn’t believe them. But it really has. I’ve gone places and done all sorts of things I never thought I would go to or do again—at least not without booze—and have enjoyed myself! Seltzer with lemon has become my drink of choice (I prefer the sodium free when I’m stocking my fridge at home, but any seltzer will do, even club soda if need be, just please squeeze a wedge in it!). I’ve been to concerts and clubs and birthdays and funerals and celebrations of all sorts—and have come through unscathed. I think it is because I am so damn happy; I don’t want to risk this sense of well-being and deep-seated joy ever again. NEVER. I never want to slip back into the abyss that was my life prior to getting sober. I shudder at the thought of all the years I wasted. Never again. Life is too good, its gifts too precious, to risk missing even another moment of it.
At the risk of sounding like one of those AA folk (and yes, I still go to meetings), I want to reassure anyone who’s a few hours or weeks or days into sobriety that it absolutely will get easier and so, so much better! I thought my experience was as bad as it could get—rehab, job loss, compromised health, but I could have died. I know that now. If I could have gotten away with drinking for another month or year, I could have very easily killed myself; if not by alcohol consumption directly, then by a car accident (thank God I never killed anyone!) or some other reckless behavior. Looking at things from this perspective, I am one incredibly lucky woman: lucky to be alive and sober and able to sit by the pool and look up at the night sky and experience joy and thank God over and over and over again! No matter that I considered them lies, the promises are coming true in my life. Slowly, but surely, I am reemerging as someone more true to herself than I had ever imagined possible.
Hang in there, peeps. From the one year mark, and for as far as I can see, life is looking oh, so good!