The first five years of my sobriety was one huge emotional and learning roller coaster ride. I was learning how to live in society sober, how to deal with actual “feelings” and how to be a better person day by day. It was as if I’d taken a five year teaching course. To hit that five year mark was definitely a milestone for me to say the least. But now that I’ve gotten here, there’s a part of me that’s like, “Okay, now what?”
I know what I need to do on a daily basis but suddenly it feels somewhat strange. I can’t put it into words exactly. One day seems to run into another and I’m starting to see things……..damn, I can’t put it into words. It’s like I feel like a child who is just now leaving home for the first time to go out into the big bad world on my own. I don’t worry about or even think about picking up a bottle and drinking, but I’ll admit I’m a bit scared. It’s like I’ve been reborn, retrained and reconditioned and now I’m being sent out into the regular, every day world. I haven’t spoken to my sponsor yet, so I’m not sure if what I’m feeling right now is normal or not. Maybe my emotions and my hormones are clashing and just making me fee overwhelmed. Who knows.
I DO know that no matter how crazy this may make me feel at the moment, I have every intentions on continuing to move forward and live life to the fullest. I’m just kinda frozen at the moment. This is one of them moments where having to “Feel” sucks to put it mildly. Having fears and admitting to having fears are on two totally different planes.
I’m quite sure the time will come when a student or sponcee will come up to me with these same feelings and fears, I’ll be able to speak from experience when I tell them “I understand and that it’ll pass.” I guess this is just a process I have to go through. Living in recovery isn’t always peaches and cream, but it’s all worth it. I wouldn’t trade my life now for the life I lived back then. Mainly because the life I had back then wasn’t any kind of “life.” In the past five years I’ve discovered a lot about myself, I found answers to the questions that always haunted me, I’ve discovered true humility and self respect. One of the most important lessons that I’ve learned is how to love myself…..genuinely love myself.
I just have to keep reminding myself that this is a life long journey. There is no certificates of completion. Does this get frustrating? I guess a little bit, maybe even a bit overwhelming but looking at it one day at a time helps to make it easier. Like in the very beginning of my recovery, I just gotta be brave enough to take that first step and move forward. Well what do you know? As I’m writing this, I’m getting the answers to my questions even now. One step at a time, One day at a time. No more, no less. Fear is one of the biggest downfalls to an alcoholic or addict. There is surely a life that comes with sobriety that is both purposeful and worthy of living.
I find myself often thinking back of how things were back then, and over the past few years, I’ve experienced brief memories that either I’d forgotten or experienced during a black out. I also occasionally find myself wishing I’d pulled my head out of my ass long before the age of 40. As my program has taught me, I don’t regret my past, nor do I wish to close the door on it. When I look back I don’t feel guilt anymore. The way I see it, looking back reminds me of where I don’t ever want to return to. To the outside world, I appeared to be confidant, happy. I got to be an expert at allowing the world to see what “I” wanted them to see (until the very end that is….) Inside I was so lost. It was like I was in a never ending maze and couldn’t find my way out even if I wanted to. I hated the world and everyone around me that was happy. I was consumed with more fear and self loathing than any one person could handle. There isn’t a day that passes today that I don’t thank the powers that be that I don’t feel like that any more.
At this point in recovery, using the tools I’ve been taught is imperative. I have to also remember where I was so that I don’t ever go back. Where do I go from here? Forward, one day at a time.
AJ Menendez, Master Male Illusionist.