There was a time where I would have categorized myself as broken. Other people most likely would have used that descriptor in regards to me as well, and it was essentially true. I was an alcoholic, who’s coping mechanisms consisted of numbing myself into oblivion, manipulation, and self sabotage.
OOF. That’s a heavy sentence to write….it feels like so long ago… AND YET.
I still keep waiting for myself to break.
Life now is not without its challenges, which should feel obvious, but for some reason, can really catch me off guard from time to time.
These past few months, (ok eight) have been really difficult. Flynn has been sick, which means Charlie and I have been sick, and then there’s been the whole “learning how to be parents, holding down full time jobs, maintaining a house/mortgage, and also being present in our marriage thing”. It’s a lot. It’s ALSO incredibly amazing, because look at this little miracle we made….but holy cow, does all of the above test my limits.
I keep waiting to break, to REACH my limit- because that was what I was used to in a stressful situation. In the past, I would have escalated the difficulty, because I knew the breaking point was inevitable, and in that escalation, I would most likely have done more damage to my life to just “get it over with”.
One important thing to remember is that when I was drinking, I normally created these problems and difficulties. Now, I am living life on life’s terms, and riding the waves. Those terms feel like a pretty rough sea at the moment.
But I haven’t broken, and my “limit” is not currently in my line of sight. Because I am sober, I have tools, and people, and outlets to help me through the difficult moments, or months. But the biggest thing I have now that I didn’t before? MY BREATH.
I do not break…. because I BREATHE. There is no substance, situation, or stresss that can take away the control I have over my breath, or my outlook. I don’t look to escape anymore…. I look to learn and grow from life’s challenges.
One of the most beautiful things about sobriety, is that we are constantly learning and evolving. I am not the same person I was when I got sober almost three years ago, and I don’t expect to be in the same place or mindset in another three.
Writing this post reminds me to stay in the moment and to acknowledge that even though things are difficult, I get to control my reaction to them.
So I choose breath, and I choose grace.
Right now, I am holding onto the image of a lotus flower. The lotus cannot, and will not blossom, unless it has first planted its roots in muddy waters. The lotus opens petal by petal…. slowly unfolding with grace and beauty. Without the mud, it would not spring to life, or continue to thrive. I understand now that life will always throw us hardships- some more arduous than others. But I have also come to understand that it is how we face those challenges that truly defines us. Without challenges and difficulties, we would not grow and gain wisdom….and I would never want to live in a world where I don’t have the opportunity to be better, and do better. Sobriety and the act of getting sober has taught me that I can achieve anything I set my mind to. It has also taught me that I can also withstand stressful, and uncomfortable times in life in order to open myself up to new beauty and understanding. So, I will settle my roots down deep, and plant my intentions.
I am not a stranger to the mud.