Early sobriety was not fun for me. I felt lost and alone most of the time. The man that I felt was the love of my life, really wanted nothing to do with me, I was broke and selling my chiropractic equipment just to pay the rent in the house that my parents owned. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know where I would have been living.
I began working at a local, organic health food restaurant that friends of mine owned and was able to start making ends meet a little better and began to teach myself about money and budgeting. (Thank you Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University)
I felt depressed and icky, my emotions were all over the place and all my old tools like running, meditation, music and dance weren’t working to help me feel any better. I started attending AA after three months of sobriety. The depression didn’t stop, but I made some sober friends and gained a better understanding of what was going on with me.
At eight months sober, I was feeling a bit better. I had a beautiful roommate helping me pay the bills and we had gotten the house blessed in a really nice, sacred ceremony. There was laughter, friendship and a lightness of heart in my home that night.
Then, everybody left.
Suddenly, I felt lost, lonely, and very much alone. That boyfriend and I had broken up for good, about two weeks prior. I was feeling undesirable as well.
The details of how Mr. Cocaine showed up at my door that night don’t matter so much as the fact that I completely disassociated from my body and my truth. Somehow, I convinced myself that doing just a little bit of drugs was okay, as long as I didn’t drink.
It was okay. For about ninety minutes. It was okay until my person with the drugs left. Then, it wasn’t okay. I didn’t sleep. I smoked a pack of cigarettes, tossed, turned and felt guiltier than ever before.
I did not drink. I do not know how I did that. It took every ounce of strength in every cell of my being to not drink. I knew, if I drank, I probably wouldn’t stop. Maybe, never again and the thought of that was too much to take. That is a feeling I never, ever want to feel again. It’s dark, unrelenting and utterly hopeless.
The next day, sick and miserable, brought new trials. What the hell do I do about my sobriety? Did I just throw all that time out the window? I talked to my sponsor and some other close sober friends. They all told me, it was my choice and between myself and my God.
I prayed, struggled, grappled and tossed and turned in my soul. I took a long time with this decision. I noticed that when I thought about announcing myself as a “newcomer" again in AA meetings, I felt sicker and guiltier than before. It made me not want to go to meetings.
I just couldn’t get on board with the black and white thinking that a two hour stretch out of my eight months meant that I had to start all over. That my eight months meant nothing. My God and I had a few more chats about the whole thing, and we made the decision, that I wasn’t going to change my sobriety date. February 3rd, 2013 is and always will be my sobriety date.
I love AA. I love the 12-Step Program and I feel strongly that it is the foundation of good recovery and a beautiful sober life. And, as with all good programs, there are some areas that can be improved upon. I know this is a grey area and that many will not agree with me.
Life has grey areas. Grey areas are for flowing, learning and not being so rigid as to damage one’s self.
I’m guessing that I am not the only one whom has had this experience in sobriety. I’m guessing that we need a safe place to talk about it. This is why I’m telling this part of my story in this manner. I hope that I can create a safe place for myself and others to have a conversation. The Anonymous rooms, as powerful, safe and beautiful as they are, do not feel like the safe place that I believe myself and others are looking for to talk about this. So, we don’t talk about it. I’d like to change that. If this portion of my story calls to you, please contact me.
Oh, and by the way, I am now over four years sober. That night of loneliness and desperation paved the way for an even stronger and more solid foundation. I am very grateful for what I learned that night. I learned that I don’t want to ingest any substance that alters the glorious feeling that I receive from being my best, sober me.