2018: A Sober Year in Review + What’s Next?

Well, friends. 2018’s end is creeping near. A whole year, wrapping itself up nice and neat, topping itself with a shiny bow. And what a year it’s been.

It’s hard to believe the kind of progress that can be made in a year. It’s hard to believe what growth can occur, even through painful moments and change.

I am really grateful.

In this year, I remained sober. In early January 2019, I will be celebrating 2.5 years of sobriety. It is as natural a part of my lifestyle as my work, my friends, and my educational pursuits. I am excited to walk into 2019 with a group of supportive, sober friends who I can connect with on a genuine level.

In this year, I’ve developed myself professionally beyond what I thought was possible. I’ve started to learn the true meaning of patience and persistence and presence in my vocation. I’ve slowly started to let go of this fear that I won’t be good enough, competent enough, or skilled enough to be an effective therapist.

In this year, I’ve participated in the growth and flourishing of a healthy, sober relationship. I’ve navigated the uncertainty surrounding that relationship, and I’ve been able to weather the incoming storm of its’ eventual end. I poured myself and my heart into something without knowing the outcome. I feel confident that I can let go in a healthy, compassionate way. I am grateful for how my partner has touched my life, and I leave knowing I’ve touched his heart just the same.

In this year, I have continued to build a community around myself in the way I know best: through writing. It’s safe to say my creative writing Meetup group has taken on a life of its own. At least once a week, I have someone approach me and thank me for taking the time to create space and time for the community to flourish. I like to think that they do most of the work to make the community what it is — I simply make sure there’s a place for it to grow.

In this year, I really enjoyed myself. Despite politics. Despite my struggles with relationships, my own mental health, and managing the stress of multiple responsibilities, I really, truly enjoyed myself. I ran a sub-hour 10k. I discovered my love of yoga. I saw some really good concerts. I learned how to cook even better than before. I strengthened some old friendships and helped create new ones. I laughed a lot. I learned to look into myself.

I am grateful.

As for 2019, I can’t predict the future. Anything can happen. But, there are a few great things that I expect to occur–and a few not-so-great-but-still-important things, too.

In 2019,Β I will say goodbye to my partner as he moves back home to Indiana to be with his son–with that, I will say goodbye to the brief dreams I held in my heart for our relationship. It’s been wonderful, and I am encouraged by what we’ve been able to do together in this short year. I am grieving the end of “us” while celebrating his opportunity to be the best father he can be. I have no doubt we will remain friends, even if at a distance.

I will say goodbye to my house, where I’ve been living for almost 2 years. The owners are selling it, and so I have to be out by the end of May–though I’ll likely choose to leave by the end of March. I’m not sure where I’ll go yet. Dad has opened his house to me for an intermittent place to crash while I figure it out. I hope it’s the last time I have to move in a long while–hopefully until I buy my first house. I really do.

I will graduate from my 3-year-long journey through graduate school. I’ll have my Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. If I’m lucky (and if I study diligently) I will pass the NCMHCE in spring, and I’ll begin my search for my very first job in mental health.

I will travel to London and Italy right after graduation to visit with a dear old friend of mine. It’s been years since I went abroad, the last time being a trip to an all-inclusive resort in Costa Rica for my honeymoon, where I drank non-stop for a week straight. I’ll plan to stay there for a little over 10 days. It’ll be my gift to myself for three years of difficult, mind-bending work.

In 2019, I turn 30. I will kiss my tumultuous, confusing, heart-wrenching, eye-opening, epic 20s goodbye. I will be 5 years removed from my divorce. I’ll be over a decade removed from a toxic, abusive relationship that shaped much of my young adult life. I’ll be in the full swing of my Saturn return–in Capricorn, no less–and will likely have my eyes fixed directly on all of the ways I wish to grow past my tumultuous history.

In late 2019, I hope to enter a yoga teacher’s certification program, so I can begin the process of integrating principles of yoga and mindfulness into my mental health practice, and vice versa.

I have a lot of hope for 2019. Of course, things can always change. I feel like I’ve been able to do the work to prepare myself for that reality. But no matter what happens, I’ll be doing my best to enjoy the hell out of this new year. I’m looking forward to having y’all join me.

❀ Em

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