Disclaimer: I started this post just over a year ago. After reading what I started, I’ve decided to keep my original words and just add to it, as I’m feeling similar feelings today, except, for totally different reasons.
I am overwhelmed with feelings today. Lots of feelings ranging from extreme sadness to extreme gratitude. The self-reflection that I have been doing is almost too much for me to handle. At 7+ years sober (now 8+), I see so clearly now how what goes on in my head can debilitate me and why I drank for so long to escape all the extreme emotions.
At this stage in my recovery, I’m so happy and surprised at the same time. I no longer fight the desire to drink my feelings away. I no longer fight the notion of “someday” recapturing the feeling of freedom alcohol gave me in social situations. I no longer carry the shame, guilt and remorse for the things that I did under the influence. That right there, is a miracle in and of itself. I never thought I’d say that and yet here I am.
I am by no means cured though. Nope. I’m still fighting the battle of self and all the demons and character defects that were present long before alcohol was ever a part of my story. Check this shit out:
The very last sentence at the bottom reads: I wish I could forget the frustrations aside.
Then on the other side, a final two sentences:
And think of the lives with the pain and sorrow. Then think of my troubles tomorrow.
I wrote that poem on August 30, 1995 – I was 15 years old.
And that was 25 years ago…today.
For old time’s sake, let’s take a moment and acknowledge the numbers 15 and 25. In Skeletons 1.1, I used my discarded shoes as metaphors to talk about “the story of my life before and after recovery” and how God was doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself to restore me to sanity. I mention my husband, whom I met at age 15. I got my first DUI at age 25; which was God’s third attempt at getting my attention with regards to my drinking. And THAT was 15 years ago.
What’s my point? My point is God has been involved the entire time, I just ignored Him. I ignored all the “signs” and got in my own way of living a life free of guilt, shame, remorse, worry and fear. Even after the alcohol was removed over 8 years ago, I still wanted to live my life MY way, do recovery MY way, do everything MY way and thought I could fix my problems MY way.
Humilty, my friends, I needed to be humbled. Even at 15 years old, I was convicted, but it took 25 years for me to really humble myself the way God wanted me to – to smash my ego and humble myself to see His true will for my life.
So much changed since I started this blog almost 3 years ago, but the most change has happened in the past 3 months. I’m not going to talk about that just yet and want to circle back to how my feelings today mirror those that I was feeling last year but for different reasons.
Last year, I was feeling tremendous gratitude for my life and how far I had come in recovery. Life was good! But life wasn’t good for others and I was greatly saddened. A dear friend’s sister (who was also my friend but we weren’t close) had just suddenly died from addiction. Another friend was “on the run,” unable to see her children and fighting major demons. I was seeing alcoholism wreak havoc in the marriage of another couple who I love, and watching another friend continue to sabotage his life with booze. My heart was hurting.
One year later, my heart is still hurting. Our country has been turned upside down with a global pandemic that has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands and upended the lives of millions. Our “new normal” has brought about extreme stress, fear and uncertainty. Racism and police brutality has been brought to the forefront, resulting in mass protests and riots, turning people against each other. Humans are acting like wild, untamed animals. Politics, I’ve never been a fan but what’s going on right now is just an utter shit show and has caused me to lose trust in our democracy. I could go on and on but you know, you’ve had a front row seat as well.
Yet, life is still good. In fact, life is better today than it was a year ago.
How is that? How can I say that my life is better now than it was a year ago when you consider what’s been going on this year?
I can sum it all up in 3 words and 1 acronym:
3 in 1: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
I have been restored.