Life Goes On

There was a time when I would never have believed I’d be sitting here writing about how I beat alcohol addiction in my mid-thirties. Wine was such an integral part of my life that imagining my existence without it there on the kitchen side, cork removed, silently breathing, the reassuring tinkling of liquid as it flowed into a large wine glass, hazy nights and regretful mornings never complete without the obligatory pounding head and collection of empties to clear up off the coffee table would have been akin to considering spending a day without air.

wine

I’m used to not drinking now. I know the feelings of sadness and hurt – I know when I’m angry and happy and bored and frustrated. I understand myself and have felt each and every emotion as it seeps through my entire being and just is – no anaesthetic and no disguises.

Occasionally I feel as though I might burst, the intensity of raw sentiment wells up and the knowledge that I can’t get rid of it, treat it with something, force it out of myself is overwhelming. It takes practice to learn how to deal with those moments.

Every once in a while there’s a blow to the heart that hurts so much it feels like a thousand little punches to the chest. If you resist a drink, the pain won’t instantly disappear – sobriety is not the giver of eternal happiness, silently moving in to mop up the tears and wrap you in comfort. Feeling your emotions without using alcohol to wash them away like driftwood lost to the tide means knowing highs and lows. The lows remind me of grieving elephants, engulfed by their sadness; the highs are paradise on earth, taking me by joyful surprise whenever one comes along.

Being sober means living through emotions, and finding the strength and dignity to cope with the rough and the smooth. It takes time to get it right but it is, in my opinion, well worth the fight. Once in a while I feel so much pain that it catches my breath and I think I might be choking on air. But it passes soon enough, logic and resilience return and I move on. And the next day brings a fresh start – which will forever be preferable to waking up to the legacy of the previous night’s alcohol frenzy.

‘Life goes on’ actually means something when you are sober; it’s a truism.

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5 thoughts on “Life Goes On

  1. I connect so much with what you say – perhaps it’s because we are at similar places in our journeys (we’re similar in length) or perhaps it’s just one of those things that I just get what you’re saying all the time. Whatever it is, it’s wonderful to read and nod my head in agreement.

    You are correct in saying that now we feel every emotion – we do not wash them over or away. We get the good, the bad and the ugly. We take on the waves of irrational thought, emotional turmoil and mental battles. We do it sober, knowing that it’s part of the process, and that every time we deal with something, big or small, we are adding a little bit more experience and armor to ourselves. But I will never get to a point where I can rest on my laurels…that is dangerous territory. But I can also live in life and enjoy. Fine balance. And fine post, once again.

    Blessings,
    Paul

    • I read all of what you also write Paul with equal wonderment and awe at the way you are able to express these simple but oh so brave truths. Thank you both. And so many others here on Soberistas for all of your support and encouragement.

      • Hi there Bernadette, Paul does write beautifully doesn’t he? I am always so grateful to receive comments on my blog as each one confirms everything I already think about sobriety. Alcohol has negatively affected so many people but as I now see through Soberistas, sobriety has made so many amazing people strong, brave and insightful. When I drank a lot I lived a very small existence – giving it up has widened my horizons and helped me see how much greatness there is in the world. Thank you for your comment as always – hope you have a lovely weekend. Lucy x

  2. zachandclem says:

    It’s nice to read that someone else feels like a tiny ship in a ruthless ocean of emotions, at the mercy of storms, foamy waves and harsh winds. Only recently, though after a long while sober, have I legitimately started to stop, and feel. It was absolutely terrifying. But I survived. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi thanks for your comment. It is terrifying to feel emotions properly after so many years of covering them up but even the darkest times are better without alcohol numbing our emotions, at least that’s how I see it now. I would rather feel the deepest pain when sober than go back to numbing my body and mind with booze. Well done for surviving your demons – it does get easier with time, and you will get stronger with every sober day. Take care x

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