I spent many years trying to be the person I thought others wanted me to be. I tried to act the way I thought they wanted me to act; look the way I thought they wanted me to look; say the things I thought they wanted me to say. Getting sober didn’t just give me a second chance at life; it introduced me to a whole new me – the real me. I was finally able to discover who I was. It was scary at first. I felt like I was learning how to live life all over again while getting to know myself. It was like dipping your toes into a steaming hot bath, until gradually your whole body is emerged in the water. And, once in, you take a deep breath and exhale, because at that moment all seems right in the world.
Very slowly, little by little I immersed myself into discovering who I was. What did I like? Who did I enjoy being around? Without booze, how did I react to boredom, anger, sadness, happiness? It was overwhelming at times, but also exhilarating. I’ve come a long way since those first few months. I’m settling into living life as me – just me. I like the person I see looking back at me in the mirror. I’m strong; I know what I like and what I don’t like; I’m okay with my imperfections; in fact, I embrace them because they are part of what makes up my imperfect self.
Lately, I’ve found myself at a loss for words when it comes to my writing. I’ve come to a place in my recovery where I don’t have daily struggles. Wait, let me re-word that. I don’t have the constant weight of recovery on my mind. Sober life and life have become one, which I believe is a miracle all in itself. Is life perfect? Heck, no! I still struggle like any “normal” person. I’m challenged daily by insecurities and relationships. However, I face those challenges with a strong sense of who I am and who I want to be.
When people ask me how I am, I say “Good, really good.” And, guess what? I mean it. For many years I didn’t mean it. Things might have been good, but there was always a “but.” Nothing was ever okay, just the way it was. There are certain areas of my life that I wish were different. Not everyone likes the person I have become. And, that’s okay. Like we say in recovery, it’s none of my damn business what other people think about me.
For now, I’m just living life. Enjoying those silly and sweet moments with my kids and husband. For those in the beginning stages of your recovery or who continue to struggle with staying sober, I hope you can find encouragement in my story. Life will never be perfect, but if you do the work and stay sober, you will discover a simple, enjoyable and rewarding life – a genuine life that is worth living.