Sobriety has continued to serve me well these days. I don’t think about it often, nor do I spend a lot of time contemplating it, but a clear mind has been a joy and a gift to me over the past several months as I come to grips with where I’m coming from, and where I’m going.
In about two weeks, I’m moving out of my house, where I’ve lived for the pat two years. I’m leaving behind a somewhat strained roommate relationship, a tiny room that I’ve managed to make cozy despite its size, and a little bit of my independence. Yes, I am moving back into my dad’s house. Again. This time, it’s an intentional and transitional move, one I’m making to help me get some space between where I’ve been and where I’m headed. I’m waiting to sign a lease on an apartment until I’ve secured a job–my first real job as a therapist–which likely won’t happen until later in the spring, or even this summer. I don’t want to rush into moving somewhere new, and I’m fortunate enough to have a space open to me where I can land safely, save some money, and be mindful in my search for both employment and housing.
I’m sad to leave this house behind, and it’s one of several steps I’m taking in the next few months that will completely flip my life on its head. There’s this move, and there’s my boyfriend moving away in less than two months, and there’s graduation, and there’s my trip abroad, and there’s the national exams. Soon after that, there will be a job change, another housing change. I will be single, and stepping fresh into my new career. I will turn 30 years old and will probably turn back to look at my life and wonder how in the hell I ended up so lucky, in such a positively different place than I was a decade earlier–hell, how I ended up in such a positively different place than I was even 5 years earlier, or 3.
I think the anticipation of it all is the hardest thing. It is that moment where you take the biggest breath possible before jumping off a tall cliff into the sea. The blood buzzes, your lungs feel electric and tight, you twitch into movement, and then for a few moments that last a lifetime, you’re in free fall, arms and legs flailing, and you’re smiling with fear trying to keep the air from seeping between your lips before your toes break the surface tension of the water and you’re under. The change is here. The force of your body falling plunges you deeper until… there you are. It’s you, eyes open toward the surface but you’re not scared–not much, that is. You’re quiet, your mind is quiet and your lungs are quiet and you gently start swiping your arms up and over until the surface is near.
It’s times like these that I am thankful for my sobriety because even though I’m not actively engaging with it like I used to, it is the serenity of sobriety that keeps my waters clear. I may jump and be scared and find myself surprised at the feeling of impact or the stinging on water in my nose, but sobriety makes it easy to know which way is up and how far away from the surface I really am. I’m not so scared anymore. In fact, for a lot of this, I’m excited. And I’m able to take my other emotions in stride–the sadness and the anxiety and the uncertainty.
The big thing that’s really snagging me is the impending departure of my boyfriend. We’ve got a little less than two months together. Before Christmas, I felt angry and frustrated, like I just wanted to give it up and move on. After Christmas–after we hadn’t seen each other or spoken much for two weeks–I felt a renewed sense of desire toward him, and a renewed sense of desire for closeness. I think I’ve recently entered the bargaining stage–I’m starting to wonder if I’m making the right decision, or if I should be choosing to go with him to Indiana. I’m wondering if maybe there’s a way to make 4 years out there work, after which point we could move back here together. But in the back of my mind I know that, other than being able to continue that relationship, there’s a chance that I wouldn’t be super happy in small-town Indiana. I have no social support there, I have no community, I have no professional connections, and I have no family. I’d be giving up a LOT to follow him, to make this relationship work. There are small moments where I convince myself it’s worth it. And then other bigger moments where I remind myself of why I made this decision in the first place.
Change. It’s coming, it’s difficult, it’s unavoidable. For me, sobriety makes it more tolerable, and that’s worth more than I ever thought possible. So for this 939th day of sobriety, I am grateful.