This past week has been a powerful week for me, personally. At the beginning, I was just climbing out of the funk I was in for two weeks after life changed completely. It wasn’t an awful funk, I was able to maintain my workouts and be pretty productive, but couldn’t shake the feeling of grief and fear I had in the back of my mind. Uncertainty. No shortage of it anywhere.
I feel so lucky to have gone through recovery from addiction, it is sure helping me navigate these muddy waters!
There was a time when I didn’t feel so lucky. I had a day 1, and 2 and 3 and so forth and I felt so good. Inevitably, after 10 days or so my addictive voice would start to make noise. And for whatever reasons (boredom, stress, anger, denial that I really cared or wanted sobriety, you name it). Then I would drink, and again the next night and the next, till I was able to stop again.. for 10, 11 sometimes 12 days, then back at it. It was an endless cycle that left me questioning why all the time. Occasionally, I would rack up 30, 40 or sometimes even more days, but when life got difficult I would always find myself heavy in a relapse. What was the purpose of doing this over and over again? Why is God putting me through this?
Fast forward to 2020. I’m approaching my year anniversary of not drinking and the entire world is in chaos. My addiction sees this as a grand opportunity. Why not drink after that year? Why NOT?
Because stopping is really hard. Ironically, once you stop for awhile and then pick back up, stopping a second or third time seems more difficult. I don’t think this has been scientifically proven, but it’s an observation that my sober circles and I have clung onto. I’ve experienced this same phenomenon, and quite frankly, I’m terrified of being back in that cycle– but honestly I had two voices in my head, this voice of reason and then Betsy (my addictive voice).
On my year of no alcohol date, hubby brought me home a card and chocolates. The card had a “You made it to a new level, I’m so proud of you” message. Do you know what I asked him after reading the card?
“If I start drinking, do I go down one level, or do I go all the way down to the bottom?”
I honestly don’t even know why I asked such a ridiculous question, or what his response was. I had mentioned it a few times to everyone in my life in the days leading up. I wanted all my close ones to be prepared if I relapsed.
I didn’t have a strong urge to run out the next day and get alcohol, and as the days passed and soon I was at like 370 days of sobriety, I realized the utter ridiculousness of my prior thinking. It was Betsey and her antics. Even though I hear from her very minimal these days, she took a grand opportunity to try to get me. And she almost did! This is a real life example of the saying, “While you are working your recovery, your addiction is doing pushups.”
Now, I can see the whys. You bet your bottom I will be eternally grateful for all the restarts and relapses I dragged my rugged soul through! I wholeheartedly believe that those are the #1 (and maybe the ONLY) reason why I was able to shut up my addictive voice when she was oh so conniving and convincing. Any weaker, and I’m pretty sure I would have caved. In the days leading up to my one year no alcohol anniversary, I was being very kind and gentle with myself given the worldly situation, and honestly didn’t know until the day came and went if I would relapse.
The week after, I felt more content than ever having rode out that wave. I can’t even imagine where I would be right now and how I would be feeling if I had started drinking. I’m sure I would still be nightly drinking, maybe some day drinking too with being home all the time. Life would be black and miserable, whereas right now it is so harmonious, yes I feel harmonious staying safe at home even with what is going on in the world.
Which brings me to the title of this post.
I took a walk a few days ago and passed a neighbor who I didn’t recognize. I moved to the other side of the street as we passed to respect the 6 ft distancing suggestion.
Let me just say that people out and about walking and riding their bikes have been weird these days. Kind of unfriendly, but it’s more of like “I’m going to look down and not acknowledge you because I’m not really sure if I should be out here right now.” type of thing. It’s not intentional rudeness, it’s fear. Everyone is filled with fear right now.
As I passed this woman, we gave a nod and a small wave, she looked down and sad. I wanted to say, “Hey, it’s alright. Everything is going to be alright.”
After I thought that, I got teary eyed and emotional. I’ve learned to pay attention to those times, they are meaningful. I instantly felt so grateful for my recovery and growth and had a feeling that I needed to be a light for people.
As I walked on, I realized that I forgot a grocery bag for picking up my dog’s poop. He always poops and it’s big horse poop too so I immediately felt awful. I was too far to go back for a bag, so I asked the Universe for a bag.
I don’t ask the Universe for much, and try to thank her for every sign and good fortune that comes my way. Gabby Bernstein always says to ask and you shall receive and it will be immediate, so I thought this is a good trial. I just needed something that I could use to clean it up– an old chip bag or grocery bag, please Universe. On my walks, it’s not uncommon to find some trash here or there in the ditch, so this request was not far fetched. Not long after, I came across an unused, actual poop bag on the sidewalk. I was floored! The Universe had my back and this walk was so just therapeutic in so many ways. I felt incredible afterwards. As if on cue, Jules pooped minutes after finding that bag.
The next day I walked again and on this day the sun was shining brightly, whereas we had just had a stretch of rainy/cloudy days.
I passed two neighbor friends, both were their normal jolly selves, which felt so good. I felt so blissful as I walked and slightly guilty for feeling such joy when the world was coming undone.
Meanwhile I’m reading and practicing the Lotus and the Lily book, and almost to the end. A few days prior I was supposed to think about and name the upcoming year. I had a few ideas, but none really resonated. The book says to keep paying attention and the right name will come. After that feeling of Be the light, I think I have my title!
I am going to work really hard to live each day with love not fear. I will repel negative messages with positive ones and will do my best to spread light and love. So many people need it right now.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go on social media for a few minutes. I’m in many different Facebook groups (gardening, rheumatoid arthritis, recovery, writing, local community groups, etc) and have noticed so much negativity lately, even in the normally nice groups, it is unreal. After Trump was elected president, I didn’t think any more division was possible. But this pandemic has made it happen. People have such extreme beliefs and can’t see any other point of view. It’s almost more difficult than the pandemic itself.
I hope you all are able to find your happiness at this time. It is truly a horrific time for many, particularly those who are in the healthcare field or who have essential jobs.
If you are struggling, try to find the light.
If you are good, be the light.
Light and Love <3