More often than not, the one person I need to cut out of my life and block from my phone, is me. The one person who belittles my worth and growth, who questions my ability, and laughs at my strength, is still me. I never thought I could hold onto any kind of lasting recovery because I knew eventually that voice would just convince it away from me again. I believed that voice was my truth, my inner guide, and I even believed that most of the time it actually kept me from embarrassing myself. You know, I really thought it protected me by keeping me from living in the light around all of the “normal humans”. Transforming my inner dialogue is a tricky process that does not lead from point A to point B, but this time, I have the tools to keep me moving in the right direction thanks to heroes like Holly Whitaker of Hip Sobriety, Glennon Doyle, Gabby Bernstein and countless others who decided to pave an impossible path so that we all could find a way to heal and recover.
The night that I really stopped drinking started with doing something different. I’d failed so many times relying on faded tips and tools hanging out in my mind that I was oversaturated with conventional recovery. I did not want AA, but I hated myself for not being able to change. As I go through all of this inner turmoil, scrolling through Pinterest, I see this pin that reads, Hip Sobriety | 13 Essential Books to BUILD A Holistic Recovery from Addiction.”What is this? and “Hello?” I think to myself as if she were talking to me directly. So many years of pain and illness shrank back into the size of a pin point in that moment. I couldn’t believe there was someone talking about sobriety like this, like me! It rang like a bell that only I could hear. I went to her website with my hands up and the mindset of please, yes I’ll do anything. She spoke the truth that no one else would, and it gave me the courage to do something about my pain in that moment.
Take it easy. It was important for me to know what a normal way of thinking looked like, even though I had doubts on whether or not this was something I really deserved. I had to start somewhere, and after living in distortion for so long, it needed to be simple, gentle, and on my own terms. As I went through the Hip Sobriety archives, I opened my heart to the idea that I was worth taking care of, and I could actually change my pattern of thinking. I found this circle exercise extremely helpful. Something about its simplicity allowed a HUGE and necessary mental shift to take place and set some sort of starting point for me.
Afraid to Quit Drinking? 3 Common Fears and How to Break Them (click link for access to circle guide tutorial on the HS blog.) Example: my circle exercise from that first night.
Some days it’s terrifying to trust this process and finally be a person who lives without the comfort of a middle-life because that’s the way it was for so long, but today, I am empowered by my sobriety. I crave the truth and tools necessary to own my existence. I thought that I was doomed since AA didn’t work for me at this time in my life. Hip Sobriety is not a gimmick or a cop-out to AA. Check out her article on Why I’m Not an Alcoholic . This makes sense to me, and it might make sense to you too. She is real. The extra something I crave now comes from within me, and it’s beautiful. I like that it scares me a little bit to rebel against that abusive inner dialogue. I know what it means to be brave and take the harder, more rewarding path.
Now, I want to take care of myself and heal. I used to throw my vulnerable parts away and hope someone would claim them just to let me know if they had value. Maybe if I get it out of my head, it’ll have a chance to grow. Maybe my honesty will grant me respect, if nothing else. I spilled my secrets into everything I made and then hated them for existing. I am nothing, if not broken, and I wanted to share that because I want a complete life. I’m not crying my eyes out on the curb of some bar at 3AM, totally belligerent. No, this is not who I am now, but I don’t have to hide that I was sick. I am healing. This is growth. Sober sobbing, sober living washes me out and opens my heart enough to keep going. I deserve sober tears. It’s worth it.
“Never question the decision.” was the game changer for me after reading Hip Sobriety’s article, 10 Ways to Evolve Alcoholics Anonymous. Thank you thousands of times from my heart. I believe this one phrase held together all of the thoughts running through my mind that first night and every single night since. It stands true always, for me. My biggest struggle was remembering and believing that I’d come to all of these realizations. I always drank again. Now, I just know every morning that, oh yeah, I don’t have to go back and forth about this anymore. It’s just my life now. I don’t drink. The rest falls from remembering this one thing. I’m worth sobriety and self love, the end. This statement sews it all together, however shaky.
(Me holding my NQTD script| hand painted by artist, Kal Barteski )
Thank you so much ❤