I am sad to say that the end of my time on this blog, or at least in this column, The First 500, has come.
(Maybe Chris will let me write something again, someday.)
I’m afraid I’m woefully out of practice writing lately. I’ve been caught up in the sometimes mundane, sometimes interesting happenings of life; a job change, a daughter who moved to New York, a winter that I don't remember being so dark and gray. "Gray" is not a reflection of my state of mind, but rather a good sign that I’m actually paying attention to things. I’m awake now, going beyond simple observation to a place of feeling and reflection.
I didn’t do a whole lot of that when I was drinking. I felt sorry for myself, but that was about as far as I went with the whole feelings thing.
But recently, writing has taken a back seat to reading, as I’ve consumed myself with consuming books. Lots of them, of all types. Reading everything I can get my hands on - memoirs and fiction and science-y stuff and business books. And this has filled a place inside me that I never knew was empty. I had very little appreciation for others’ work, as sad as that sounds. Alcoholics reading this will know what I mean when I say that all I ever paid attention to was my own ego, my own self-interest.
So you see, all of this reading and feeling and reflecting caused something unexpected; I forgot about my day count. I hit 500 days sober and I barely realized it. I mean, I have an app on my phone that tells me how long I’ve been sober, but I haven’t been checking it incessantly like I used to, especially in the beginning.
That is not to say I haven’t been actively staying sober. I’ve been attending AA meetings, even speaking at a few, and sponsoring women in the program. I’ve been as enthusiastic as ever about growth and development for myself and people I’m close to, genuinely. But as I’ve described in other posts here, there occurs a shift every so often. And I believe another has happened.
Being sober has become a completely natural state of existence.
At 500+ days sober, I have a hard time recalling the struggles that got me here, beyond the horror stories which feel like they happened to someone else. Maybe it’s like having a baby…I definitely remember experiencing agony, but I’ll be damned if I can conjure up the actual pain.
And for that, I thank God.
Moving forward, I think of my sobriety less as months or years without alcohol, and more as an a natural evolution of who I am supposed to be. As the book of Alcoholics Anonymous says, “We will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it.”
While there won’t be doors slamming in my future, there will most certainly be windows opening.
How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.
Winnie the Pooh
Jennifer is an entrepreneur, a mother, a writer, and an alcoholic in recovery with a sobriety date of September 14, 2015. She is a former human resources professional, which means she’s seen it all, in and out of the workplace. She has a daughter in college and a dog curled up on the sofa. She’s naturally inclined to use foul language and believes there aren’t enough women in positions of power in this world, and she’s looking to change that. Her writing here will shed light on what it’s like to be new in recovery.