sometimes when I haven’t written for a while it’s because I don’t have anything to say. but sometimes, like now, it’s because I have too much to say and I am desperately trying to wrestle it into a workable coherent whole, rather like trying to fit a kingsize duvet into a singlesized duvet cover…
I’m 900 days sober today, and will be two and a half years sober on 4 May. so this is my perspective of what that feels like and where I am right now.
the title of this post by the way takes very seriously the use of the word ‘drug’. I cannot abide those persons who simper something along the lines of “I am totally addicted to Game of Thrones!” (what, so you are losing your marriage, kids, health, career and all your money to it? no? then kindly shut the hell up.)
the actual definition of drug being ‘a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body.’
something, in other words, which changes how we feel. MTM (who is sadly no longer actively blogging) said once that we drink to change how we feel, and I’ve never forgotten that.
when I first got sober my new drug of choice was hope. wow, that was a Class A drug all right. since I hadn’t had any hope for so long, because hope is soluble in alcohol, don’t you know? and it zipped through my veins like wildfire and sugar and barbed wire all at once. because it was painful at first – how did I know whether I could trust it? so all I could do was hang on, accept it from others and trust that it would take me where I needed to go.
unlike most other drugs, our need for hope can diminish as time goes on, rather than increase. I manage quite well nowadays on just a maintenance dose, and I know that I can up the prescription if ever I need to.
these days I would say that my new drug of choice is growth.
and growth in the sense of expanding myself, becoming larger and more able to contribute to the world around me – not in the sense of needing to improve or perfect myself. which is something that the me of two and a half years ago, with her constant feeling of not being good enough, would shake her head at in incomprehension. becoming bigger? surely not?
I was listening to the One You Feed podcast yesterday, which was an interview with Steven C Hayes, who is considered to be one of the founders of the Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT). in that interview Steven expressed really well what I mean here by growth – he called it ‘larger-based patterns of value-based actions’. I love that description, because values on their own can’t change anything – and actions which are not based on our own individual highest values are ephemeral at best, and distractions at worst. another way of putting it might be as the never-ending process of learning to show up as your best self, day after day after day.
one aspect of growth is that I need to feed it consistently and constantly with the wisdom of others. from being so cut-off and single minded in the pursuit of never-enough-alcohol, I now feel as if I am let loose in a treasury of ideas and inspiration. oh, and silly cartoons, of course 😉
I never used to trust ‘self-help’ books as they seemed to promise so much and deliver so little. nowadays I understand that for any idea to take root in my life I actually need to act upon it too. it is not the fault of the book if I do not. reading anything and expecting it to just work its magic upon you is like buying a recipe book and then sitting down at the kitchen table waiting for supper to appear. we have to do the cooking ourselves.
I have learnt so much from writers like Glennon Melton, Anne Lamott, Brené Brown, Gretchen Rubin, Rick Hanson, Tommy Rosen, Pema Chrodron, and Toni Bernhard, on the way to the glorious wild rice salad that is my life today… I was going to say ‘half-baked paella’ here but then I remembered that I don’t like paella so you get veggie salad instead 😉
I love the idea of ongoing growth because it supplies its own momentum, drawing me onwards. there is no chance of falling backwards if I am always looking forwards. what’s the point of getting sober unless it is to discover new horizons?
American travel documentary filmmaker Osa Johnson on a zebra in Kenya, ca. 1930
there may be a sequel to this post in which I talk about how I am deciding which areas of my life to focus upon, and how I am implementing those changes. but don’t hold me to it, hey?! Prim xx