My total transformation in 9 months sober feels something like the evolution of a baby from conception to birth. Nine months is long enough to transform a twinkle in the eyes exchanged over a candlelight dinner, to a healthy, bouncing baby. Cells grew and evolved. The changes were hidden at first….your private secret, held close to your heart. But with time, the changes within you grew enough for others to notice the difference.
“You look different”, you may hear….
Soon, the world could tell you were different, but in today’s world, if someone flat out asked you, “hey, are you expecting?”…. well, they can get ostracized and accused of bullying, so instead of asking you, they talk about you…. “is she expecting?”
The same can happen when you’ve stopped drinking. Holding the secret close to your heart, you share it with your inner family circle. With their support, you grow this non-drinking seed into something bigger and better, and you transform with it. All along those first 9 months sober you may physically change – eyes become shiny and maybe the waist line shrinks? People know there’s a difference, but they may not know why. You seem kinder. Funnier. A better version of you?
At the end of a pregnancy, when that magical day happens, and the baby is delivered, your world as you know it changes forever! Upon its arrival, your baby has strong little lungs and a voice to make sure you remember to feed it. Your job is not over after 9 months of development – it’s a new chapter, but it’s no longer a solo mission. Yes, the day old baby still relies on you, but you can rely on those that surround both of you. The solo mission transforms into a group effort, and your circle of loved ones will protect your baby with you.
Can you raise a baby alone? Certainly. But if you want the baby to become a better version of you, then it needs the input, love, and support from others. No one likes a spoiled baby that grows up thinking that the world revolves around them! You invite in the Village.
My 9 month old sobriety journey is transforming too. Like the newborn, it needs to be nurtured, but I cannot let it become the center of my universe. It needs to know that it is important to me, but it cannot become the only reason for existence. It needs to recognize that while I’m the primary caretaker, people around us will help protect it too… I see new signs of support, like when my husband stocked up the pantry with new alcohol free drinks, and refills my candy jar with my favorite dark chocolates.
Did you ever meet someone who recently became a consultant for a multi-level marketing company, and they are now selling their most favorite widget? They’ve studied the market and they know every FAB- feature, advantage, and benefit- of the products they are peddling. Somehow, through a Facebook post that you “liked”, they ask you to host a party. Sure, you innocently agree, because everyone needs…. pots and pans… face cream…. vitamins…. handbags… whatever. You host this “party”, and once all of your friends are guilted into buying something, you think your commitment to the widget business is over. Surprise! Your consultant friend tries to coerce you into becoming a consultant! “Ah, sheesh”, you think,” I have no time for selling that thing!”, and you politely decline. But every time you see this person, all they can talk about is the widget. Next thing you know, your friendship with this acquaintance fades into the background, as it’s no longer balanced: Every conversation is guaranteed to be about this person’s widget- and never about life outside the widget world- never about health, family, jobs, dogs, home renovations. Bolt for the stairs! )
At 9 months sober I know that I don’t want my sobriety to be my widget thing. If it becomes my widget, then after I get tired of it, I will kick it down the same stairs that I once used to bolt. For the next year, my sobriety will continue to be front and center, but it will have to be weaned away, and just become part of me. It will get stronger and transform from simply being there, to rolling, crawling, walking, and running.
I’m using the 9 months sober mark to define my “before” and “after” pictures. For the last 9 months, I’ve grown the seed of sobriety into something new and healthy. My sobriety is now strong enough to live by itself, outside of my womb. I will need to feed and cherish it, and I will make it strong enough to breathe on its own. It has to learn to live with its brothers and sisters:
– the physical fitness brother (dare I call it an athlete?)
– the spiritual sister
– the romantic sister
– the healthy choice diet sister
– the crafting sister
– the gardening brother
– the dog rescue brother
– the cooking sister
-the home renovation brother
My sobriety cannot be the only widget in my brain. It will learn to simply co-exist, like muscle memory built up by exercising. As it grows stronger, it won’t need as much individual attention. It will not be forgotten and left to wither away. I promise to protect my sobriety. I will nurture it, love it and watch it grow. ❤
In one year, We’ll celebrate with cake and balloons! 🎂🎈
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