Upper Butte Creek Falls as seen through a window of mossy forest, spring clover, and ferns.
On September 24, 2015 I celebrated five years of sobriety.
Five years is a lot of days strung together. 1,826 in fact. For someone who couldn't go more than 12 hours without a drink, 43,829 hours is one hell of a long time. And wouldn't you know it, after all of those hours it has just become routine. I don't mean that being sober has become routine, I mean that everything that I need to do daily has become routine: The thoughts and feelings I go through, the way I deal with emotions, the things I have to believe, and the things I have to trust.
Trust is a tough one. I had to trust people I didn't know. I had to do the things that they told me to do and I had to just believe them that it would work for me as well. And even to this day I still have to just trust that everything will work out and that somehow it will be ok as long as I work hard and stay straight.
I also had to rebuild trust in many of the damaged relationships. Coworkers, friends, and family bonds were all compromised in one way or another. There are a lot of things that I did wrong back then and I have accepted that. Hell I do a lot of things wrong now. But I know that I am rebuilding those relationships with the people I love, as well as with myself. "What doesn't kill us..." right?
I know that I don't have to be scared of my emotions and go through life numb. I feel love more strongly. Sure there can be a lot of bad feelings in life, but they need to be felt. Tom Waits sings "If I exorcise my devils, well my angels may leave too. And when they leave they're so hard to find." The bad is needed to feel the good. And I feel both more deeply now. I cherish that love more knowing that I put it on the line and with how important that love is to me now, I don't want to risk it.
And so I continue these daily routines. They're not perfect but they're working for me. I just have hold the trust and love dear, be the best person I can be at any given moment, and just know that it'll all be ok.
Photo © copyright by TJ Thorne.