Friday, March 04, 2005

Early Days of Sobriety

In the earliest days of my sobriety, life was black and white. When I did not drink, I was happy. Pounds of emotional weight came off my shoulders. Everything was evident, in clear view of my happiness. I knew that not drinking, that being sober, was the door I had opened.
I had yet, early on, to look down the hallway of my life. I was so focused on closing the door on my drinking life that I never realized that other doors existed. I look back and see my reflection from my first anniversary of being sober. I was just so happy to be a sober woman. That was my identity. When I did not drink, I was happy.
Other doors stood waiting to be opened. Others were waiting to be closed. No longer was I able to see things from a distance, I was now forced to walk inside. I suddenly needed to examine the voids and discrepancies that made up all the years before my sobriety. I had to learn to appreciate where I had been. Who made up this sober woman? I had to let go of everything I knew and plunge into all that is unknown. I had to learn about the woman beneath the skin. What inspired me? What hurt? Who was I?
And this scared me. I panicked quite frequently. I had angst over my decisions, my thoughts, and my emotion. Things were no longer complacent in the simplicity of black and white. The gray was beginning to reveal itself in my life and I was trying to learn not to slam the door upon its entrance. I was learning my own boundaries. Adding more and more shades of gray to my own emotional palette. Every choice and decision I made was purely based on the sense that I was trying to make of life. My life then. My life now. Lives that I could no longer separate. So many times, it was a screaming match between my old and new life. My heart, the mediator.
For a time, I wandered aimlessly down the hallway, missing the doors in front of me. The unsettling feeling of choosing between my old and new life came and went. Comfort in sobriety could ground me for brief moments in time. And many of the keys to my doors seemed to lie in the very essence of the choice I made some time ago.
Here I am, suddenly, my second year. I won the battle of becoming sober. Yet now, I relinquish the battle between black and white. I have neither won nor lost. I have simply taken a step back and choose to fight for the beliefs I have in my heart. I have chosen to let the battle go on without my heart on the front line. I've let go of the need for answers to every question within my soul. Some of the doors in my life will continue to remain closed. New ones will open. But, what has become the most important lesson is that I hold the key. Every door I choose is because my heart feels it is right. Every door I leave shut is my heart letting go. My heart, my sobriety is the key. And I carry it with me down the hallway of life

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