Sobriety is the absolute best thing that has ever happened to me in this life. I know that. I own that. I spread the good news. I share my story. If it weren’t for treatment, AA, sober allies, etc. I would surely be dead. My drug/alcohol abuse caused serious strain on my family, my health, my ability to function in society, my confidence, my motivation, my driving record, the list goes on and on. I will be 4 years sober in August, and it has taken that length of time to establish myself on the “right” track. It’s been a long road, but every moment that I have remained sober has been a fucking cake walk compared to where I came from. So in life, after having been hung out to dry by my alcoholism, all other issues are unparalleled to the straight up shit I’ve lived through.
This is not to say, however, that other problems aren’t there.
Sobriety has pretty much been a huge highlighter that’s outlined all the shit I covered up for all my years of drinking. Those character defects, as AA describes, are well engrained in my bones. That shit is HARD to shake, man. Change is fucking crazy difficult.
What are you changing?
Who do you think you’re changing?
You can’t change things
We’re all stuck in our ways
It’s like trying to clean the ocean
What do you think, you can drain it?
Well, it was poison and dry
Long before you came
*Jenny Lewis has got it right, yo
My character defects are serious. I am codependent, man-dependent, jealous, resentful, impatient, and oftentimes self-seeking. I have tremendous amounts of fear and anxiety (usually I don’t even know what for) and suffer from inadequacy issues. Although I did work the steps, I do not actively participate in AA any longer. What I can say is this: Awareness is the key to success. Before I got sober, I was consumed by these emotions and had NO EARTHLY IDEA what was going on. I thought I was insane. I thought I could never be normal. Now I know normality is subjective. We all have shit in our closets, and all I can do is try to work these kinks out best I can.
The biggest issue I deal with is my need to please every fucking one. It’s a big fault. It makes me sick to think that someone might have a problem with me, or be turned off by me, or not want to sleep with me, or talk about me behind my back. I wish I wasn’t this way. Being a southern girl, we like everyone to enjoy our company. This is not to say, however, that we should lose our moral compass or defining characteristics or fabric of our being to make someone else happy. I do that. Not as frequently as I used to, I should say, but I do. And now I notice when I do these things. When I was drunk I didn’t give a shit what was going on. Now I have an issue with it. So each day I actively try to counteract these “addict behaviors.” It’s not easy. I am a continual work in progress.
The silver lining of this message is this: EVERYONE ON THIS PLANET IS A PERPETUAL WORK IN PROGRESS. Not just me. Not just you. All of us. We are in this together. Life is hard. Humans are flawed. We are all trying make it, here. I find a great deal of comfort in knowing that I am never alone.
When I start noticing myself slipping into old behavior, The Four Agreements (outlined below) reminds me of how to get grounded. RISE UP WITH FISTS!!!