It's been 3 1/2 years since I had a drink. 3 1/2 years of sobriety. 3 1/2 years of wonder and learning and coping and...just...living. And about 2 years in what I would call actual recovery.
When I got sober it was all I could do to string a series of hours, then days, then weeks together. I just wanted to stay away from the wine aisle in the grocery store. I just wanted to not drink. To be dry, sober, abstaining. I could have cared less about recovery, or being healthy or dealing with life on life's terms. I just didn't want to drink anymore. No, strike that...I wanted to drink but I didn't want to be a drunk anymore. After three relapses, several unsuccessful attempts at moderation, and a number of fits and starts, I realized that I couldn't drink without the drunk part so I had no choice but to give up the wine entirely.
I (blessedly) hadn't really become physically addicted so I didn't need detox. I was also afraid of AA because of what I'd seen in my family (I later went for a few months and then decided it wasn't for me.) So I did what I always do when faced with a problem that needs an answer.
I Googled it.
This was not the first time I had Googled my drinking.
"Am I drinking too much?"
"Signs of alcoholism."
"Signs of cirrhosis."
"What is alcoholism?"
"Alcoholism in women."
"Alcoholism in working women."
You get the idea. No matter how I phrased it, the answer was the same...I was drinking too much. I had a problem. I was a problem drinker. (That's as far as I would go then. The "A" word didn't come up until much later.)
This time though, I needed something else. I needed a way to stay sober. So I Googled something like, "how to stop drinking" or some such. What I found was a rich online community with Chinese restaurant menu like options - give me one from column A and two from column C...etc. Want to try AA? There's an online community of AA groups that meet entirely in cyberspace. Want to talk? Register in a chat room. Need to spill your guts? Online counseling exists (this one usually costs money and I'm rather skeptical but to each their own). Need a different recovery process? There are a host of others from which to choose.
And yes, there's an app for all of that.
So I entered some chat rooms, participated in some online AA meetings and eventually found the blogging community which proved to be the best thing I've ever done with the possible exception of marrying the hubs and having my children. When I started blogging, and reading and discovering I finally began to enter what I consider recovery.
Recovery for me is learning to live as a sober person and not be pissed off about it. (I still pout from time to time and even throw a little tantrum now and then but for the most part...I'm over it.) Recovery is learning to appreciate the beauty of sobriety and the way in which it colors my world. Recovery is forgiveness of past sins whether they be mine or those of others. Recovery is learning to live in the now and not worry so much about what's going to happen down the road (okay...I'm still working on this one.)
Recovery is reestablishing my definition of fun, and love and sex and romance. It's trying to figure out how to relate to the hubs and open my heart to him without the lost inhibitions that a bottle or two of wine brings. It's learning to be married and grow old together and take on whatever may come without a crutch. With just each other.
Recovery is finding out who I really am, right now and who I want to be when I grow up. It's about learning to like and maybe even actually love myself. Recovery is learning to give myself props (a formerly total foreign concept).
Recovery came in it's own time and, as usual, God's timing is perfect. When I was trying to get and stay wine-free, I couldn't have handled all that touchy feeling kum-by-ya crap. I was hanging on by my then artificial nails. It came when I was strong and ready and open to the experience.
Not sure why all this popped into my head today. Just felt like it needed to be on the "page". Maybe it was just because I needed to say thank you.
Thank you to all my blogging friends who have shared, and cried and laughed and suffered and survived with me. I love you all and I could never have come this far without you.
Thank you to the lurkers who I can see are out there by page views and who followed me over to this new space where I "Maintain The Zen". If you ever need anything, please don't hesitate to drop me an email. I promise to be there for you like this community was there for me. It's just how we roll.
Thank you God. You know my heart and how I feel about You. In a word...you ROCK.