2019 Year in Review
Each year I say things like "this year I'm going to write more," and "I'm going to get serious about a blog." Each year I pretty much fail, and I probably will in 2020 too, but here's to trying.
2019 has been one of the best years of my life. Here's what I learned in my second year of sobriety.
1. I started becoming comfortable in the generalized discomfort of daily life. (Generalized discomfort: that unsettled feeling of discontent or uneasiness that sometimes plagues us for hours or days.. I learned that this feeling is a part of life. It is not (and should not feel) constant, but it does happen, and it's okay for me to feel it. I don't have to try to fix it. I can just squirm around a bit in it and try to find the most comfortable position, and settle in. I can pray, I can reach out to others, I can get outside of myself and be of service. These things usually help, but they aren't instantaneous fixes. Sometimes the feeling lingers, and that’s ok. I can have generalized discomfort and still have a joyous, fulfilled life on a daily basis.
2. My life has deeper purpose than even being a wife or mother. I can help other alcoholic women in a way that no non-alcoholic woman ever can. My sobriety is important to these women just as theirs is to me. We are all connected in this big sober chain like a bunch of flower-crowned hippies. I believe it is God’s purpose for me to be of service to as many alcoholic women as he allows.
3. Healing takes prayer, sacrifice, time, patience, maturity, release of expectations, acceptance of responsibility, admittance of wrongdoing, humility, a heaping TON of gratitude put into daily practice, a teachable mind, willingness, communication, and grit. Above all, it takes God. You can hit the mark on every one of the aforementioned practices but if you leave God out of the equation the healing will not happen.
4. I can hear hard things about myself, accept them, and if necessary, initiate change. I don’t have to retaliate or create a resentment against the messenger. After all, they are really just the vessel, the message comes from God. I don’t have to build a case to justify why I am the way I am. I don’t have to phone my favorite friends (self-pity, shame, fear, insecurity) and have a party. I can release the expectation that I will be a perfect person and accept my humanness. I can only grow when I SEE the need for change repeatedly, pray for the change to happen, and live out life as if it already has.
5. Sometimes I have to pray to be ready to be willing to change or let go of something. It’s okay to take baby steps.
6. I can find joy in any type of service work I do. This starts at home and pours outward. I can find joy in answering 3000 questions per day from my kids. I can find joy in making instant oatmeal, cleaning dishes, wiping butts and noses, refereeing sibling arguments, making grilled cheese (and then making a pb&j because the grilled cheese was too grilled), cleaning toilets, getting groceries, changing bed sheets, and all the other things that used to make me feel like I was drowning in a sea of useless, monotonous activity. I can be joyful in this life. I can be grateful for oatmeal that doesn’t have to be cooked on a stove, dirty dishes from little hands too small yet to help wash, even dirty butts and noses, because the year is coming quickly when my butt and nose wiping services will no longer be needed. I can ALWAYS find joy in service, or I can build a case as to why I shouldn’t have to do the things I’m doing. It’s a choice.
7. I can speak up about the dangerous message of wine mom culture. I can practice complete neutrality toward alcohol as it serves or doesn’t serve someone else, but I will not practice neutrality toward the poisonous message that tells mothers they need and deserve booze because of their children. I will also not practice neutrality toward any message that normalizes excessive drinking or drinking to “fix” a problem.
8. The problem is always me. When I have a problem, I have two choices. I can either exit the situation or relationship, or I can change myself, my perspective, my tolerance, my reaction. I am the only thing I can control in any situation.
9. Sobriety is fun, and I can be in social situations that involve alcohol without wanting or needing it, and without judging the people who are drinking. I spent so much of my first year of sobriety shielding myself from situations where I knew I’d either a) want to drink; or b) be miserable because there was alcohol and it would bother me that not everyone was sober. This was out of necessity and it was good for me to not be in situations where I’d feel this way. I’m so thankful that with just a little bit more time, I’m able to be in these situations (if I truly have a reason to be there and am in spiritually fit condition) and can enjoy them. This year has brought me vacations, parties, birthdays, holidays and so many cool things. I’ve been
present for each of them, I’ve had so much fun, and I never had to pick up a drink.
10. I haven’t even hit the tip of the iceberg of knowing anything at all. The things I’ve learned this year are like tiny snowflakes in a snowstorm of all things to be learned. Sometimes the learning is gentle-like a snowflake landing on the palm of your hand. Sometimes the learning is hard, like an ice-packed snowball being thrown at your face. The outcome is always the same-I’m better having learned what I needed to learn.
Here’s to more learning, more sobriety, and more adventures in a new decade.