A ray of sunlight spotlights autumn aspens in a deep gorge in the Steens Mountain Wilderness, Oregon.
I am writing this on September 24th, 2018. Today I woke up with eight years of sobriety.
I often think back to when I was fighting with everything I had for the very thing that seems so easy to me now, and thinking that once I worked through my ‘issues’ that life would get easier, that it would be smooth sailing with the wind at my back and the sun in my face from then on.
But the truth is that life has gone on the same as it has before. Every single day I am faced with stresses, challenges, and anxieties. I often feel overwhelmed, inferior, undeserving, and depressed.
But there is a difference between how I felt when I was drinking and how I feel now. While I do go through days where those things I mentioned are present, so are the feelings of gratitude, hope, love, and desire. I have been able to go places I’ve never dreamed of and see things that have been some of the most memorable moments in my life. I have met people who have changed my world for the better and the mere fact that I get to wake up in the morning without the guilt and shame of the prior night deep in my heart is one of the most rewarding aspects of sobriety.
Life hasn’t gotten easy, but I’ve stopped making it so damn hard to live. I get to deal with these emotions and try to find ways to work through them instead of pushing them deeper and ignoring them. I get to live life on MY terms and not have an enormous weight on my shoulders that dictates everything I do and everywhere I go. While I might have a dark cloud over me some days, I am able to see the light in the distance and work towards it. Leonard Cohen sings “Ring the bells that still can ring, Forget your perfect offering, There is a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in.” Life isn’t perfect and it never will be, but there’s always light in my heart that I will keep working towards.
I’m grateful for even one day of sobriety. The feeling that just that one day gives me makes me yearn for the next, and the next, and the next.
And would you look at that? I have managed to have 2,921.9376 of them. Photo © copyright by TJ Thorne.