Today is my 2 year soberversary. A month ago when I started anticipating this day, I thought the blog post I wrote would be different. I thought I’d rehash the last year and talk about what I’ve learned.
I’m going through a kind of crisis right now where things I thought I had dealt with years ago are coming back fresh. Memories, events and incidents that were behind me are now front and center (in this case, childhood sexual abuse). At first I felt betrayed by myself, that my mind could play these tricks and allow me to feel the pain as fresh as when it happened.
But now I see it as a gift.
I’ve come to realize that I’ve been looking at sobriety backwards. I thought that sobriety was my reward for work well done. I thought it was the prize at the end of the Shit Race. You know, the I’m-so-done-with-this-shit race. But apparently, there’s still a lot in me that needs to be purged and released.
Opportunities to heal present themselves when we’re ready to receive them. They may come at 30 days sober, 6 months, 2 years or 10 years. Sobriety is not a guarantee of happiness. It simply gives us the clarity to let the real work begin. For me, that means working with a professional to help navigate me through these rough waters. In the past, my only goal was to feel better. I’d work on old issues, feel a sense of relief and take that relief as a sign that I was done. I never dug deep enough to really heal because I thought feeling better was as good as it got.
Before we had kids and in the days of disposable income, my husband and I used to go to Mexico just about every weekend. We’d ride our souped-up quads down the beach and race people up a sandy mountain called The Hill. One time, I got a nasty burn below my knee when I stopped short and my body flung forward into the hot pipes of the quad. The doctor gave me silver ointment to put on the burn. Every day, I had to remove the bandage, scrub the dead skin off and reapply the ointment. Every day I knew that the pain would be excruciating. I wanted to skip the step of removing the dead skin and just put more cream on top but the doctor convinced me that it was the only way the wound would heal. One day, I took off the bandage and saw healthy pink skin.
Without 2 years of sobriety under my belt, I wouldn’t have the strength to scour these old wounds. I wouldn’t need to because I would be satisfied with feeling a little better and having another drink.
The gift that God has given me is a chance to have more. In this I have such hope.