There are a lot of benefits that come from sobriety. Now, before we roll our eyes…I am not preaching…I am not some high and mighty sober chick that’s pretending to have it all together. I mess up from time to time, and ya know what, I really don’t feel guilt or judgement about that anymore…so, really I don’t even call them mistakes. I am not perfect and I don’t expect that from anyone else. There are days where I admit, I wouldn’t mind getting plastered. Recovery doesn’t magically take away those days. I just feel physically shitty after I do it and it’s enough to make me not want to really do it again. And I know all to well, where it would eventually lead and I don’t want to risk losing everything I gained over this last year.
But overall, I have been in recovery for almost one year today. The number one benefit that my sobriety has afforded me is clarity of mind…lucidity. I cannot tell you how good that feels to be able to form thoughts in my mind and have them come out through writing or speech in such a way that makes sense to not only myself, but those around me as well. Money can’t buy that. A gin and tonic can’t buy that.
I have been wanting to be clear for decades now and I was so utterly frustrated that I was incapable making sense, that I just shut down and stayed quiet for about 20 years now. That’s a long time and it was truly an unfortunate waste of time for me. But alas, here I am. Where I wanted to be, plus some. I am so very happy with just that alone.
I have come a very, very long way in my recovery, both from alcoholism and from my last manic episode. I don’t necessarily subscribe to AA. I couldn’t afford my therapist at the time, so I didn’t see him. I didn’t follow any other program other than attending IOP, intensive outpatient treatment, for about 8 months or more. That did wonders. I was able to vent, share, and learn there. I gained confidence through encouragement and acceptance. I thank my lucky stars for those that helped me through that stage. But even that came to end.
I have been, unknowingly, working through the step-work that AA ‘prescribes’ on my own, out of ‘order’. It may have been easier had I had a sponsor to work with on this throughout. I have one, but we rarely see one another due to distance. I love the people in AA programs, but for me personally, the essence of it hits too close to home for me of certain parts of my life where I was ‘brainwashed’ into believing there was only one way out. Kudos to those that follow it and it works, I admire that. I do. It just didn’t completely jive well with me. I do not believe that there is only one way of doing anything.
This is one of the reasons I would like to get into Transpersonal Art Therapy in the near future. I would like to help pave an avenue for those struggling with mental illnesses and addictions in such a way that encompasses all aspects of their nature and personal spirit, without setting such strict guidelines and steps to achieve a so-called awakening, sobriety, and/or relief. I know well enough to know that there are no set of steps to achieve such a state. It will happen when you are ready. For me, it happened long before I got sober. Twice…maybe three times. It was one of the catalysts for me to get sober in the first place, so for me, it had to happen in that order. I would like to facilitate in someone’s ongoing quest. That is all. Not to be a leader, no judgement, no strict guidelines, no preaching. Just pure expression and freedom.
I have literally worked my ass off this year, internally. What a process! So so so difficult, but so so so worth it! It is not an easy road to hold a mirror to your face and get honest with yourself, work through trauma, work through pain, depression, mania, PTSD, anxiety, energy, and emotions.
I applaud any of you that are working out the struggles in any of these areas! It’s a journey of a lifetime and if you let it, it can be very personal. There is no magic pill. The pill is you.
I can now look my alcoholism in the face and actually THANK it for showing up in my life. For if I hadn’t gone to the depths of hell, I wouldn’t have found my own personal path, passion, purpose, and heaven. If you have the strength to rise from rock bottom, there is no telling how far you will go…the possibilities are limitless.