“That’s the person you’ve always been”

Yesterday I reached 1.5 years of sobriety. It was a quiet, uneventful day. I worked my long shift and took a nap when I got home, then had a lovely dinner and conversation with my partner, who is nearly 2 years sober. We talked about finding connection & community in sobriety, and the importance of knowing you’ve got people in your corner. 

As we were talking, he remarked on his personal journey, as he has worked hard to go from being an emotionally withdrawn, angry, and dishonest person in active addiction, to an honest, open, intentional sober person. He mentioned how it’s still so new to him and that it’s been a difficult process; he still feels like he’s trying to prove himself to me and to others. Internally, he feels somewhat unstable.

I looked at him and said, “It’s funny, really—to me, that’s the person you’ve always been: open, honest, intentional, and sober. That’s all I’ve ever known of you.” It nearly brought him to tears and he thanked me for opening his eyes to that fact. It was something he hadn’t even considered before. 

In fact, I hadn’t even really thought of it either. But, it got me thinking further: there are plenty of people from my past who knew only the drunk version of me, the one that blazed through relationships and flaked on friendships and drank to excess on a daily basis. They knew me as somewhat directionless, superficial and maybe even without compassion or goodwill toward others (at my very worst).

But, now, there are plenty of people who have known only the sober me, or who have known the sober me longer than they knew the drunk me. They know me as someone who is trying to be more self-reflective, emotionally intelligent, empathetic, intentional, and expressive. They see me working diligently toward my professional and personal goals. They watch me eating avocados and dark chocolate for lunch and remark on how healthy I seem. They know me as someone who is able to control her emotions and set proper boundaries (most of the time – still working on that). They see me someone who is poised and in control. 

It’s kind of amazing. 

Even when I was so down and out about myself in early sobriety—even when I would look back and cringe at how crass, unkind, emotionally unhinged, or flaky I was—I was hopeful that someday, people would see the person I truly wanted them to see, without all the added burdens. I really wanted to become the “vision board” version of myself I knew I could be. I wanted people to notice it. I wanted to notice it within myself, too.

I realized yesterday that, while I’m not 100% there yet, I am well on my way. I’m not perfect. I still make plenty of mistakes. I often feel old habits and thought patterns creeping up, and I do my best to gently put them aside when they do. 

I’m not every single thing I wished and hoped I would be a year and a half ago, but I am so much further along than I could have ever imagined on Day 1.

That feels really, really good. I love sobriety. 

❤ Em. Day 550.

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