Like the onion itself, my mask has many layers. For years (okay, decades), I didn’t even realize I hid behind one. When I caught wind of it, I thought it must be “only sometimes in certain circumstances…” on a kind of “as needed” basis, like when I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin, as they say… which was basically all the time…
I think this sobriety recovery thing is pretty great. Even when it’s not very exciting. Even when it’s not even advancing–it’s better than feeling anxious all the time and sliding backwards like before… Even when I’m not capable of jumping onto a more positive train of thought in the moment, I can put the brakes on the negative one. And be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
I was a high bottom drunk. In my alcoholic, comparison-based mind in the early days, I perceived that as underachieving as an alcoholic. I had no DUIs, no rehab stories, no arrests… I was a high bottom drunk. But therein lies the key word – Drunk. Someone early on told me he was a high bottom too, but “just as sick as that guy living under the bridge.”
As I see spooky scenes showing up, I know it is the perfect time to stand calm and courageous. As the world puts on masks, I boldly remove mine and let my light shine like the warm glow of an October dusk. Any fears or beliefs that no longer serve me gently fall away like leaves fluttering to the ground. I am grateful to know that I am in the perfect place. I know that what falls away gives space for new growth that will come at the perfect time…
Whether you’ve been sober for 10 hours or 10 years, it’s a great beginning. You may have noticed it keeps getting better. Life rolls out the red carpet when we fully engage with our recovery program and keep open at the top. Wonderment ensues. What can you add to this list?
To me, the concept of a Day of Atonement, which includes a day of fasting, feels more relevant to my life today when I think of it in terms of making amends. It’s becoming clear to me that humans have a wired-in need to come clean with our spiritual self, to clean the slate, to clean our side of the street and live from a place of peace and harmony. Interesting, and for me somewhat challenging to really think it could be done in one day, one clean sweep so to speak. Clean and sober – I see a trend.
In the early days and weeks of recovery ‘feeling all the feels’ is like being on a furious roller coaster. After I quit my heavy drinking habit I lurched from one emotional state to another like a crazy woman. One minute screaming at the kids, then crying for no apparent reason, feeling waves of awful hopeless, and often this horrible itchy boredom. But slowly – very slowly – things calmed down. I got better at navigating my way through tough times. I became familiar with my anger and sadness and less reactive to them. I was able to stop myself from losing the plot at the drop of a hat.
What if my alcoholism is my greatest asset? Not when it was alive, active, and devouring me––no. But when I came to my senses long enough to catch my breath. More like the moment it became my reality check, and then the climb back up from that. If I hadn’t hit the place where I was able to admit that my life had become unmanageable, I would likely never have done the depth of work on myself that is requested/required in The Steps.