I miss drinking.
I miss my buddy, booze.
I have what seems like eight million awesome memories with my buddy, alone and with family and friends.
That's true. It's my truth. It would be a lie to express anything else.
BUT, I don't miss the pain. I DON'T miss the suffering. I DON'T miss living through losing a job I loved and a relationship I cherished. I DON'T miss a near complete lack of health, wellness and clarity. When I am at my best for me I am at my best for all those around me...family, friends, colleagues.
I thought there was only one way to have a lifestyle of recovery, a lifestyle of sobriety. I didn't want that way. I didn't know of any others. Ignorance and stigma engulfed me while I was desperately attempting to break free from something I knew was only getting worse. I had awareness but the substance of alcohol still knocked me on my ass, face in the dirt.
A 12-step fellowship is the only way for me. Life without booze is not cool, is boring. Everyone drinks. We are raised to count the days until we are twenty-one. All these plus hundreds of other examples kept me from getting well. It took losing my job and a relationship to finally hit what was a "rock bottom" for me. Many do not like that phrase and do not believe it is necessary to hit rock bottom in order to find the final motivation to get well. It's not true, for all. It was...for me.
Genetics, common struggles we all face, wanting to celebrate life and that "weekend reward mentality" all played a part in my story. Not facing some profoundly key issues was the tipping point in pushing regular use into dependency and dependency into collapse and collapse - with much loving support from family and friends - into wellness.
But once the bottom was there, it was there. Once low there is only one way to go...high. No, not that kind of "high," silly.
I made the decision to let go of preconceived notions of recovery and sobriety. I made the decision to allow myself time to heal and to learn and to then take that healing and learning and turn them into true CHANGE.
A lifestyle of recovery and a lifestyle of sobriety are possible for nearly all suffering from Substance Use Disorder. This I sincerely believe. And, I also believe there are some common and key steps for most:
1. Take time to heal your body/mind/spirit (if you call it that). Contrary to perception these are not three separate things but one all in the same.
2. Take time to open-mindedly learn all you can about dependency and liberation from it. Expose yourself to everything under the sun, even the stuff that makes your head spin. You can do it. If I could I know that you can.
3. Take time to then place your feet upon a path or pathways and simply take small steps forward one day at a time. That's it. No need to think too far into the future. Just take small steps each day, practicing gratitude along the way.
There are thousands of ways and reasons into dependency. There are thousands of pathways out of it. These passions, these hobbies, these joys will walk alongside you as you take those small steps forward, each morning.
If you stumble and fall down or backwards? Just stand up or allow others to help you to stand up and take more small steps the next morning. Continuous abstinence is AWESOME. But, not all can do that. Whether you can or cannot we all stand together, no matter what others may say.
Be aggressively gentle with yourself. I believe you hold all the power within you whether you tap into that through a higher power or not. Simply do it small step by step. Little by little.
One sunrise at a time.