Today marks 6 months of sobriety from alcohol and pot. It also happens to be my seven-year anniversary with my boyfriend, which is…holy shit.
I want to say things have been good lately, but I guess a more true statement is they’ve been up and down. Around month 5 I hit a rough spot and started having some cravings again, I think mostly due to the fact that this was right around the inauguration of our new president and my anxiety was through the roof with his daily insane actions. I felt so afraid and unsure of the future. I was living in a constant feeling of unease about what was to come next and about what my role was in “fixing” this whole mess. I just wanted to escape that feeling.
I’ve gotten that more under control as I remembered that it’s not mine to control. I’m staying away from facebook and the news for the most part and making my voice of dissent heard in the ways I can. It’s important to me to stand up for what I believe is right, and not stand passively by while our government separates and marginalizes certain groups based on their race and religion. To do that I have to pay attention and educate myself on parts of politics I never wanted to be involved in before. But I can’t be successful in that, in sobriety, or in any part of my life if I let myself get overwhelmed by despair for everything that’s happening without recognizing that my sphere of influence is small, and staying sober is the number one priority that makes all the rest of it possible.
I recently completed my 4th step and am partway through my 5th step with my sponsor. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this step (or any of the steps), and I was really surprised at how useful and revealing I found it to be. I’ve only talked with my sponsor about my resentments so far, but the process was cathartic and like I said, revealed a lot about myself that I didn’t know. I am grateful to get to know myself more – I’ve always loved taking personality tests, from the serious ones like Meyers-Briggs and Enneagram, to the fun ones like What Type of Pizza Am I? I can see I’ve always craved to know myself more. One of the things I loved most from IOP were the days that others had to say something about me. It feels like such a gift to me to see myself through someone else’s eyes, and I can feel how much my confidence has grown from those exercises and the kind things people said to me.
Anyway, about the 4th step, it helped me make connections between things that happened in my childhood and patterns that have repeated through my life. I never felt that my parent’s divorce or other choices my parents had made affected me. I think now it was my way of protecting myself from the hurt of it, and protecting them from what I saw as blame. I didn’t even put any family stuff on my resentments at first because I don’t blame my parents for the choices they made. I understand why they did what they do, I know they had the best intentions, and I have never doubted their love for me and my brother..
But my sponsor helped me understand that it’s not about blame. Something I’d talked through with my therapist in the past, too, but like so many things, it’s not as easy as just hearing it once. So by listing out the things that happened and how they affected me, I was able to see the underlying reason behind choices I’d made later in life that I never would have connected in the past. I think probably way back then was when I started to try to avoid my feelings, or deny my feelings, and that’s what made smoking and drinking so attractive to me right from the beginning. It was a pattern I’d never seen or acknowledged before. In my mind, I had a happy childhood without any real problems.
I wrote this post almost 3 weeks ago so I’m ending it here and hitting publish.