Sobriety and life right now feels to me like I’m building a giant puzzle. I had some pieces to start but didn’t know where they belonged or how they would fit. I felt unsure, nervous and even terrified of ruining the puzzle or losing the pieces, but I started building it anyways. More pieces started appearing, very slowly at first, but over time each new piece started to appear just as I needed it.
Now I’m gathering so many pieces that I’m catching fleeting glimpses of what the whole puzzle is going to look like. Just as I’m feeling the momentum and excitement, optimism and gratitude, I notice how many more pieces are appearing…. almost too quickly. I feel like I can’t keep up. They are piling around me and I’m desperately trying to fit them each in their right spot….but I feel rushed. I want to slow it down and really enjoy the process. Savor the look and feel of each new piece but I’m not the one controlling the speed of the pieces.
I’m only in control of my reaction.
And that’s ok. I CAN slow down. I do not have to rush myself while building this puzzle. No matter how much time I give myself to place each piece, the other pieces will continue to appear and they will stay there for me.
Sobriety is opening up my mind in ways that I never imagined. I feel like a sponge soaking up knowledge, inspiration and insight. It’s like my brain is catching up to years and years worth of truths I was blocking from myself. It’s like a constant light bulb or “a ha” moment happening over and over again. I’m grateful and happy about this and also feeling overwhelmed by it… so right now, I’m reassuring myself that it doesn’t have to happen all at once. I don’t have to understand everything right now. I don’t have to see the whole puzzle in order to keep building. I just have to take it piece by piece and KEEP building.
I strengthen my sense of safety when I keep promises to myself. When I make good decisions and commit to them. When I chose to care for myself each and every day and show up as the highest version of myself. When I allow myself to feel my feelings and find healthy ways to express them. When I ask for help when I really need help, but also when I am my biggest cheerleader and push myself to accomplish things I hadn’t ever known were possible. I feel safe when I honor and accept myself fully-the good, the bad and everything in between. I strengthen my sense of safety when my body knows I am listening, paying attention and responding to the cues it sends me; even those subtle ones that could easily go unnoticed. I strengthen my sense of safety when I recognize it’s time to move on from people, places and things that no longer serve me.
I strengthen my sense of safety, when I stay sober.
Every day I stay sober, I stay safe. I’m taking care of myself, cherishing myself, as I do my children.
Ever since my children were born, whenever I’d hear a love song on the radio, I’d think of them. Whenever I would sing a love song, it would feel as if I was singing it about them. I have never known or felt true love before them!
Tonight, as I was in the bath listening to music… a love song came on. I closed my eyes and sang along. And I smiled…. the BIGGEST smile. Without even realizing it, I found myself singing to myself. My eyes literally filled with tears…. this song I was singing was about ME and I was singing to ME. You know how people talk about out of body experiences? Yeah, I don’t know, but I feel like this is what that would feel like! 😄
I can truly say I’m at a place now that I love, nurture and care for myself just as well as I do for others. It got me thinking… how did I get this far? It wasn’t like I got sober and magically loved myself. I actually really really disliked myself when I was drinking. But even through the self disgust, I decided, on day ONE, that I would try to treat myself the same way I treat my children; with love, empathy, respect, gentleness, compassion, patience and I would also set firm but kind boundaries with myself and hold myself to them no matter what. I decided I would do this, but it was HARD. I had been so used to degrading myself, shaming myself, picking myself apart for everything and anything. I was very hard on myself and in the midst of alcohol cravings and mood swings, I found it almost impossible to think of even one good thing about myself.
So, I just took it day by day, just like I took sobriety day by day. As my sober muscles strengthened, so did my ability to find self compassion and self love. I gave myself permission to FEEL everything. I put myself to bed earlier when I needed to and ate too much sugar most days…. it was all about holding the very firm boundary… I will not drink today… and compromising with myself on everything else. I became my very own best friend, mother, lover and confidant. I was an open book to myself. I wrote everything down. I practiced apologizing to myself and forgiving myself. I practiced saying KIND things to myself, just as if I was talking to my kids. I began accepting every part of me and gave up the constant attempt at “fixing” myself…. I wasn’t broken… I just needed MY LOVE. I pampered myself with tea and baths and long walks… and every nagging, awful thought about myself that made its way into my mind, was met with compassion and understanding.
Is there someone in your life that you love very much? That you’d do anything for? That you’d sing a love song to? Maybe a parent, friend, partner, child… a pet? Who could come to you making the same mistake over and over and you’d still hold their hand and tell them things will all work out? Give them a hug and reassure them that you will always be there no matter what?
Could you do that for yourself?
What is your favorite love song? Can you please listen to it, sing along and direct that energy towards yourself today?
May you love yourself by being alcohol-free. May you love yourself to try again. And again and again.
“No problem can be solved by the same consciousness that caused the problem in the first place.”
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