You’ve heard the saying…reality sucks.
On January 21, 2012 I quit drinking.
On March 21, 2013 I quit everything else…which for me included smoking pot and cigarettes. (If you read my blog regularly you will know I went back to the cigarettes about two months later) When I think about my one year soberversary…real sobriety…today is that day. Cause I have been a regular pot smoker for most of my adult life. I use the term “adult” loosely because I started smoking pot fairly regularly at about age 15. Pot was my drug of choice. I am somewhat of an anxious person, I think too much…I worry too much. Pot allowed me to have one thought at a time. This was a relief for me. I would say I craved pot in a way that I never craved alcohol. Ok wait, I started to crave alcohol about six months before I finally quit. But up to that point, I was a pot smoker first and a drinker second. I was known for my ability to out smoke most everybody. Pot didn’t make me paranoid, it didn’t give me crazy munchies, it just slowed me way down and it numbed me. I didn’t feel everything so deeply. The world was little fuzzier around the edges. I liked that.
So I smoked whenever I could. I found that my productivity suffered if I smoked pot during the day so I mostly smoked it late at night. Smoke a little pot, drink a little wine=relaxation.
My version of hitting bottom revolved around drinking and it was the drinking that was scaring the shit out of me. Coming from a family of alcoholics, I was always a little weary of drinking. So when I quit drinking, I didn’t quit smoking pot. It made it a little easier. But after two months of alcohol free living, I decided to go all reality all the time.
No fuzzy edges, no reduction of pain, no numbness.
Wow, that was a shock. I couldn’t get my bearings for a while. I didn’t know who I was or what I was doing. I was overwhelmed with emotions I hadn’t been feeling. I started to ask myself some really big questions. I didn’t like all of the answers. Some of them intrigued me and others scared the shit out of me.
Getting used to simply living life was absolutely overwhelming. Learning to simply “be” is truly the hardest thing I have had to learn. Sounds kind of silly, right? Learning to just be…to be present in conversations, to hear what others are really saying instead thinking so much that the world is shut out entirely, being honest about what I was feeling and not feeling…wow, that was hard.
But I did it. And I’m doing it. And it’s actually not that bad. Reality doesn’t suck as badly as I thought it might. Life is not nearly as scary as I thought it might be. Feelings pass, even the really tough ones…they pass when you feel them. Numbing them just puts them in a feelings holding pattern, stored up for the next minor infraction like being cut off on the freeway and screaming at the offender like a crazy person. Yep, you can avoid feelings for a while but you can’t avoid them forever. They come out.
SO those first few months of true reality were sort of like squinting at the sun, I kept my eyes partially shut, unsure what was going to happen with all this reality surrounding me. Eventually, I got a little braver. I got a little more used to being the soberest person in the room….instead of my old life as the most wasted person in the room. And today, after one year of real sobriety, I have days where I approach the world with a completely open heart. I spend entire stretches simply “being” instead of trying so hard to be. I can walk out into the world and know I will be ok. Certainly there are bad days, but they are getting a lot further apart.
I am doing good. I’m even happy sometimes.
Yeah, that sounds silly too. But I only knew one path to happiness before this year and that was alcohol and pot fake happy. Now I feel genuine happiness. It’s a beautiful thing. I want more of that.
I am at the point where I am ready to shut this blog down and start a new one. This blog was really about going one year sober…a challenge to myself that I put out into the world. I don’t know that I could have done it without this blog to keep me honest, to allow me to express my thoughts and feelings, to bounce ideas off other people through comments and other sober bloggers. This blog saved me. I am so grateful for that. I am also grateful for the online friends I have made over the past year. It has been the most difficult and most beautiful year of my life. In the past year I have quit drinking, quit smoking pot, and divorced my husband of fifteen years, moved out on my own for the first time in my life and admitted to myself and everyone else that I am GAY.
How’s that for a big finish?