I see you. I mean, I really see you. The one who’s been struggling so mightily against the pull of booze.
I know you’re exhausted… you’re “soul-tired”, as I like to say.
It’s a tired so deep it goes right to the core of you.
You’ve done this for so long… you’ve tried over and over to quit – enough to drive you mad some days!
You start to wonder whether you even can quit. You think, maybe your brain is just wired differently – like maybe you’re that one person who just can’t be helped.
Or, maybe alcohol is a liquid wall between you and the world – it’s the way you keep people and things at arm’s length – and you’re terrified of having to navigate life without that constant buffer.
You do recognize what booze is doing to you, and you’ve come to hate the hangovers.
Your body feels older than it ought to. And, if you can even bring yourself to look, you don’t recognize the person in the mirror anymore.
Such sad eyes are reflected there.
What happened to the spark within you? You used to want to take on the world – you had so many plans! Some of the things that you did proudly achieve, you’ve now neglected or let go all together.
You know at times you’ve disappointed people – and you’ve absolutely disappointed yourself.
The idea of starting again is beyond overwhelming. Feeling the way you do most days, where would the extra energy come from? You’ve put it all into surviving – forget about thriving.
I’m writing this letter to you – but, what I’ve said so far is how I thought and felt almost 6 months ago, on my “Day 1”. I know the depth of despair, the exhaustion, the hopelessness, and the anger (sometimes flat-out rage!) at myself for somehow not being strong enough to beat this thing.
Most days I felt like it beat me, and badly (We’re talkin’ KO in the first round, face down, bleeding on the canvas, gasping crowd, women fainting in the front row, badly!) – and I just couldn’t seem to string enough days together to give it a proper beating back.
I was so damn lonely in the fight.
So.. six months ago I thought I’d try something a bit different – out of desperation, really.
It was waaaay out of my comfort zone. I decided to reach out to an online sober community.
This was huge! I mean, unheard of for me!
Now, I am NOT a community person! In fact, I’m deeply private. If you’re in my life, somehow you made it past my fortified defenses, my staggering lack of trust, and my scarred and wary heart. (Bit dramatic but..) That’s just me after too much “life”, I guess? My point is – I do things on my own. If I am struggling, I struggle alone, and I fix it alone – and I’m fairly good at putting on an upbeat show so that no one is the wiser.
But beating booze was something completely different.
Believe me – I tried to do this thing by myself – I mean for yeeeeears. It is one mean bastard that doesn’t let go easily. I’d get only so far, and then I’d cave.
It’s voice was too strong, and I was already too worn down from the battle.
Finally, reaching out for help – it was like the reinforcements had arrived! A glorious Sober Army bringing fresh weapons and new tactics!
And because they’ve been on the front lines a lot longer than I, they taught me better ways to fight. They know every inch of the battlefield, and pointed out where traps and landmines might be! They know the mind of the enemy and how to outsmart him! (Alright, that’s just about all I can squeeze from that little analogy… )
And they’ve helped me stay on track ever since.
I’ve had horrible days when the cravings were so severe that I was sitting in my car sobbing…. barely seeing through the tears to write about it. But, I posted what I had, and in came an absolute flood of support! Every single day my community has stepped up with words and affection that have gotten me through some pretty rough moments! They’ve also been right there to celebrate my victories!
I tell you all this because… if you’ve been silently lurking here for awhile (you lurker you ) – or you’re on another Day 1 – or, you’d been sober a good while but recently slipped and are discouraged … I’m encouraging you to reach out.
Just post something.
Don’t worry about the wording or getting it perfect. (Did I mention, perfection is the enemy of sobriety? <—- gonna trademark that one)
Get all that junk that’s causing pressure in your chest and swirling around your brain OUT and onto paper. Even if it’s swearing like a sailor on weekend leave.
There’s something so therapeutic about writing it down, and then getting positive feedback from people who truly get it. It’s amazing!
Post as often as you can, and especially when you’re being pummeled by cravings!
If you’re private like me, I know that’s tough. It goes against your very nature to expose your heart – especially to strangers. The interesting thing is – it’s precisely because they are strangers that you can be as candid as you’d like! No filter, baby – just let it fly!
Honestly, I wish I could sit with you in person. I would look you in the eye and reassure you that this can get better!
You’re not too old! You are not defective! You are not invisible! You do matter! You deserve happiness!
Let’s say that one again:
You Deserve Happiness.
(I’ll go beyond that – you deserve joy!)
You are worth doing whatever it takes to get free of booze! You will see a difference if you learn to use sober tools, and keep reading the articles here for tips and tricks – and, by stepping out and writing about what’s going on. Day or night, there’s always someone ready to listen and respond (we’ll leave the light on for you..)
Most of us are so used to doing everything we can for others – our own needs and our own hearts can often get put aside.
I’m asking you to put yourself first in this.
To reach down into the well of love and compassion that you normally reserve for others, and pull some of it out for yourself. Hard, I know… but please consider it.
You are a gift. No one else on earth has your unique qualities and talents.. your heart and your beautiful ways.
You can get your life back – your real life before it got hijacked by booze.
So… I pray you realize how much you’re worth, just as you are.
And I pray you’ll really dive into this community and allow people to support you.
Be not afraid. Small steps forward… together.
With you, in the trenches,
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