National Recovery Month — A Reason to Return

Today marks the beginning of National Recovery Month and I happen to be in a mental space that is just begging me to start writing down my thoughts before I explode.

So… here I come back to this blog, after more than a year (?) of inconsistent writing.

I can’t make any promises, even though my ambitious side tells me I should aim to write at least one thing — even if it’s small — for each day of this month, to get re-engaged with the process of recovery and self-discovery.

It’s strange, but the past several months of transition, change, and collective trauma/healing have really pushed my sense of creative urgency toward the ledge. I’ve almost been missing the early days of sobriety, way back when I was fresh-faced and full of rage, ready to accept whatever lessons came my way. The nostalgic side of me feels some sense of warm fuzzy comfort in those memories, even though those days were like…really hard to get through, sometimes. I have been craving the novelty of a life change that I actually have control over — no more of this every-day-is-a-different-tragedy kind of change.

So, here I am. Back in the place that helped me process through my earliest days, weeks & months of recovery. I feel the urge to write daily for #NationalRecoveryMonth but have no idea what I’d fill the pages with.

But, it’s worth a try, is it not?

So today, for this first day, I’ll reflect briefly on what sobriety & recovery mean to me after 4+ years of doing the damn thing:

  • Intentional and clear-headed decision making are a cornerstone to this life — no more relying on the excuse of being too drunk to remember / too drunk to decide.
  • Constant self-evaluation is just part of my life. Truly, it always has been, but with sobriety, that need to understand is just part of the process rather than an anomaly.
  • I don’t have any close friends or family who drink the way I used to drink. They’re either sober themselves, or they never had the kind of trouble I did. Cultivating a community that doesn’t focus itself around booze has been crucial to my success.
  • Even in the mental health field, people still act surprised when I tell them I don’t drink. My hope is that someday, saying you don’t drink will be as normal and accepted as saying you don’t smoke.
  • Physical activity is a necessity for me. When I start to slip, so too does my emotional wellbeing, mental flexibility, and physical comfort.
  • After a while, it really does become as ingrained into the day to day as any other lifestyle choice. The longer you do it, the more natural it feels, and the less I even think about it.
  • There are plenty of fun things to do while sober. What I’ve learned about myself is that I don’t actually like most of the stuff one does while drinking: going to busy bars, loud ass concerts, crowded halls, late night parties, etc. Which, honestly, has made much of this COVID isolation period surprisingly easy to handle. I find much more pleasure in quiet walks in nature, yoga, writing, etc. So it works out well for me in the end.
  • Trusting myself, my judgments, and my emotions is easier.
  • I still have a hard time saying out loud to those I know personally: “I am sober. I cannot handle drinking alcohol without becoming an utter mess.”

So, that’s what I have for today. I’ll be putting in my best effort to write again tomorrow, whatever comes to mind.

Til then…

❤ meg

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