I have discovered yet again this week, that my transparency and honesty, with myself and with others, keeps setting me free. Although I write this post with some fear in my heart of how I will look, I know that only in writing this will I bring myself true freedom.
I have spent much of the last three years of my life in 12 step rooms, listening and talking about addiction, sobriety, and recovery. I have used the steps in my life. I have made amends and stayed in the day, and lived a happier, healthier life. I am completely grateful and inspired by that.
In addition to the help and support I have found in 12 step programs, I have also secured my own beliefs of what it means for me to believe in a Higher Power, and what I feel the true nature of addiction is. FOR ME, no one else. I have never believed that addiction, or for my purposes, alcoholism, is a disease, or a flaw in my brain. I have believed that alcohol has been a substance that I used in ways in my life that were not useful or healthy.
In the last month, I have actively set myself free from the fear that I have been consumed with at times. That fear has been about what role alcohol has played in my life. In the past, I have used booze, any kind really, as a means with which to check out. Whether it was to check out of a social situation out of nerves; a way to not have to deal with the problems in my life; or simply because I felt entitled to get drunk. All of these have been ways in the past to not deal.
I am different today. I am able to look at my life, openly even in fear, and deal with what is ahead. Sometimes, I don’t want to look at a difficult situation. When that happens, I put it to the side for awhile. I no longer have to check out from being connected with the world. I get to choose.
I always did get to choose, actually. It just felt easier to blame it on the world for much of my life, so that I wouldn’t have to take accountability for my actions. So I wouldn’t have to own that it is, and has always been, up to me to make the choice about whether to pick up a drink, or a second or third, or not to pick one up at all. The final telling point for me three years ago was me driving after drinking, and at the time, I blamed that on the drink, not on my own choice to pick it up or not. Fascinating revelations and work.
Today, I get to think about having a great glass of red wine with a good meal. I get to think about whether that occurs to me, today or ten years from now. Today, I am not afraid anymore of one glass leading to three. Today, I remember that I ALWAYS have been able to choose. Today, I am remembering balance.
The biggest lesson for me, in leaving abstinence behind, and choosing balance instead, is that I always get to enjoy the beauty of life, whatever that looks like. I don’t have to indulge, or hide, or mask my real feelings with substances, food or spending. I get to balance it all, and choose a behavior without guilt or without hiding.
I am afraid, and not, all at the same time. Like all of us, right? We are all human, and figuring it out as we go along. And getting wiser and more peaceful along the way. Today, I give myself permission to be, in balance and peace, and to embrace what choices I have to be in the world.