Homegrown Sobriety

“Maybe you came from one of those families where everyone just sits on the couch waiting for things to happen to them.” Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

I am not a person who waits for things to happen to them.

I am a maker.

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Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 7/13/17

Orchid

I remember feeling afraid to be alone with myself.

She’s a rose. I saw her standing there and thought, good job, girl. You are doing this. You’ve got this. I want you to win. You deserve to be here. I know myself better than anyone. We’ve been here through the thick and literal thin of it together, so life gained new meaning when I stepped into it as myself.

Sobriety is so much more than not drinking. It is the complete transformation of quality of life.

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Image via @sharonsalzberg

Once I could see myself as a friend and someone who I genuinely wanted to win, I was able to connect myself to others. Connecting myself to humanity kept me from feeling alone. I had the sense that I was sharing moments with all of those that had come before me. I know I am not the first person who has ever felt this way.

Our problems are not unique to us. Our problems are what make us the same. Do not make the mistake in thinking that you are alone in this. This is impossible. We are a part of something big.

Rose. She’s a rose. She rose from nothing and became something. She came back to life. Getting quiet lets something more valuable come to the surface. My authentic voice came up from down under when I got quiet and stopped telling myself who I was supposed to be. We already know who we are, so we need time to get quiet. I’ll never step into the rose garden, but I found out that this is okay because some of us are orchids. I think I might be an orchid.

I am learning really to be there for myself.

Traveling Sober Committee 

My husband fully supported my decision to get sober. He never questioned me about any of this, and since he literally does not drink because he simply does not like alcohol, it was easier to keep alcohol out of our home life for good.

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Edmonton, Alberta || July 2017

 

I got sober in Houston, Texas one year ago and met some of the most beautiful people that I still communicate with today. Kahanu Yoga & Meditation Spa was my sanctuary in the beginning. It will always be a special place.

We moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba and I started this blog. The OAM came to life. I brought my laptop to the aquarium and sat with all of the polar bears for hours and hours just writing.

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Assiniboine Park Zoo || Winnipeg, Manitoba (6/17)

We Moved to Edmonton, Alberta. I took Moksha yoga every day and dove deeper into meditation. I started reading heavily. I devoted days to nature. It got quiet in all the ways. Canada gets quiet like that in some places.

We moved to Portland, Oregon, and I went to Yoga Pearl every day. I walked downtown, and I turned 29. Portland will always feel like home to us. I think it has that effect on everyone it touches.

We moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, and I went to Yyoga every day. I walked by the water, and I let myself feel everything really loudly. I got angry and happy. I slowly started letting go of an image. I allowed myself to just go.

We flew across the world and moved to Tokyo, Japan, and I am learning what it means to just live. I am just living. I am one year sober today, and I am just living with my husband in Japan. I do not miss alcohol. I do not miss cigarettes. I do not miss hiding from myself. I do not miss the easy way.

A Widening Perspective

The halls that I walk so comfortably along now were not always so available to me. My mouth used to water at the thought of a way out. It was not so long ago that I ached for a sliver of this life. A pinky in the door of this house.

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Meguro River, Tokyo || Hanami 2018

In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert gives a beautiful description of how she could feel her perspective broadening while speaking to an 80 year old woman about learning. I understand this. I have felt my perspective broadening so clearly in some moments that I could almost hear the lenses rotating and widening the range of my scope. Sometimes we are this lucky. Sometimes we can hear ourselves growing. Like the note in between the notes. It is so light and so free, you could easily miss it. This is a sense of calm. This is like wind out of nowhere on a hot day in July. Calm like the click of an AC unit coming to life. Sometimes we are lucky enough to witness our own progression, but only for a moment in between the moments, before we stand in the way of our own destiny.

I opened the window for inspiration

in the middle of the night

I woke up gasping for air

Thinking this is it

Thinking this is the moment

This is the message

I opened the window for inspiration

in the middle of the night

I will not love it!

The person that I was before did not have any idea what the future had in store for her. All she could say was “I will not love it!” because it looked hard. This was hard, and it was worth it. I do not come from a family that sits around eating on the couch expecting things to happen to them.

 

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Meguro River Tokyo || Hanami 2018

I could not make it a day without changing my mind about sobriety. I never thought this was possible. Going one whole day without drinking felt hopeless. Crushing, actually. I always ended up drinking again. I never thought I could do this. I never thought I would get out of the loop. Today, I sit with myself and can honestly say to myself, Good job, Jacqui. I took the LONG WAY to get here, so I do not take this for granted. Never underestimate the power of a gratitude list. Go make one, or say one in your head, but never underestimate a gratitude list. I did the thing that I did not think I could do. Recovery is possible. Thank you so much for following me on this journey.

For more on the sobriety journey, follow The OAM on Instagram @the_oam, and check out The OAM facebook page.

Amazing resources:

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19 comments

  • Your words become more beautiful as swim down into deeper, purer waters. You really are a major inspiration to my writing and I’m awe of your literary eloquence. You MUST MUST write a book some day. Your story can help so many others. I’m currently reading ‘Recovery’ by Russell Brand which touches many of the themes that you write about. If you haven’t already read it then I would recommend it to you – Stephen

    Liked by 2 people

    • Brigett ! I think we will always be connected. We were just talking about how nice it would be to live in Houston again for a while after all of this. Hope you guys are doing well. All love to you and yours 😘❤️❤️💐

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love your writing as well!
        I was a gymnast when I was young, so not only do I love your site, I am totally in awe of your profession! Amazing. And you’re motivating me to get back into yoga. Also, all of my dad’s family is from Saskatoon, so when I saw the photo, I knew I had to contact you. 💕

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wow! We stayed in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on trip from Winnipeg to Edmonton, Alberta. Such a beautiful drive in the summertime! Yoga has been such a huge part of my sobriety. It really has helped ground me. This is an amazing discovery 💓

        Liked by 1 person

      • I grew up in the states but am still Canadian. I love going back there, but not in the winter. I’m living in a small town in North Carolina, so there are not a lot of options for things to do. Or maybe I’m just lazy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That is so amazing! I am from Atlanta, GA, but lived on the outskirts for a long time in a small town. I know what it’s like to have only a few options with things. I’ve been using the Yoga Glo app since we’ve been in Tokyo, and it has been really great!

        Liked by 1 person

      • My sister lives on the outskirts of Atlanta now, so I go down there quite a bit. I’m going to look into Yoga Glo as well. You clearly have more self-discipline than I do. 💕
        Off to breakfast. Have a WONDERFUL day!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Shawna,
      I am so honored to be featured on your blog. You’ve really brightened my day. What a breath of fresh air to be understood so clearly! It is pretty cool how people are thrown together online and just happen to click like this. Thank you for getting it, getting me, and just sharing who you are with all of us! All of the love from Japan,

      Jacqui

      Like

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