I came across this (sadly unattributed) image and was struck by how well it conveyed my experience after three years of sobriety.
I would hope I’ve changed because that’s what I yearned for – hence the name of this blog – and it has been bloody hard work. I’ve now been sober for as long as I was at university, for example – a period that seemed as lengthy and transformational as this one does.
I also love how the image shows the growth and new interaction of my head and heart. Thoughts and feelings are far less frequently at odds, and more likely to peacefully co-exist and reinforce one another.
Looking back over my third year of sobriety, I think it has resulted in improved relationships with those closest to me. My increasing ability to set appropriate boundaries, to be honest with others and most of all with myself, has had a cumulative effect over time which just keeps bearing new fruit.
In some ways I am a good deal less certain than I was in, say, from my six months sober to eighteen months sober. Reading some of my posts from that time they seem more ebullient, more confident, far more black and white in many ways. This was partly perhaps the relief I felt at having escaped the trap I had known I was in. I remember feeling as if I was nearly, surely, ‘done’ and had every expectation of the changes I was seeing fading to a mere trickle. Nowadays life can feel more like Mary Poppins’ handbag – the more I look for in it, the more extravagant and outrageously wonderful the things I find!
I am also hugely grateful for the deepening friendships with those I’ve encountered through my online recovery, some of whom I am now privileged to consider real life friends. Your steadfast support, wisdom and humour are highly valued pillars of my ability to maintain any semblance of an even keel. I didn’t know, three years ago, that I needed you all so much, still less that you would be there every single time that I needed you. My belief in other people has skyrocketed in recovery. Thank you all, as ever.
I thought you might like to see my necklace I bought as a my three year present! It is a pendant of three concentric silver circles around a crystal (mine is a clear one, not blue as in the picture below). I appreciate the symbolism of the circles expanding, as my life has expanded, around the clarity of my sobriety at the heart of it all.
At the start of 2015, inspired by Mished, I chose a Word of the Year, which was ‘Peace’. I then decided to start my next ‘word’ year at the start of my third year of recovery in November 2015, and my word for that year was ‘Attention’. The latter has been a real eye-opener, concentrating my focus on particular areas of my life and relationships, and I have worked hard to incorporate it into my day to day being.
Having spent a lot of time thinking over my word for my fourth year of recovery, I have decided upon ‘Choices’. It feels like a natural step on from ‘Attention’ – a declaration that I will not merely look, or consider, but take action. Also, it reflects the sage words of Albus Dumbledore:
“It is our choices, Harry, that tell us what we really are, far more than our abilities.”
Looking forward to making more exciting, terrifying and meaningful choices in your excellent company! Prim xx