“I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”
-T. S. Eliot
“As a Wanderer, an apprentice to the unknown, you long to be initiated into the fully embodied life of your soul. You will have to wait. The fallow time of the second cocoon, the time between death and rebirth, cannot be dodged. To catch up to your soul, you will have to learn, as T. S. Eliot did, to place your faith and love and hope in the waiting.”
-Soulcraft by Bill Plotkin
These two quotes reasonate with me. There have been multiple times in my life where everything within just shut down going into safety mode to cause no further damage. I’d scream come on already, but nothing. Just darkness. Eventually I’d start back uP, and think I died and re-birthed. Like a one way trip from caterpillar to butterfly. Oh how I was wrong. How many re-births will it take? For the waiting isn’t something I do very well. The thought arises there are still parts that obviously never died, and I indeed have some catching up to do. Now I attempt to sit with and trust the waiting 😊
**** This could be triggering and the F-bomb is definitely tossed often. ****
For those who have followed me for a while, you have already heard most of this so please feel free to skip : )
So I actually just got asked this question via my Contact Me Form from an old friend. Believe me when I say I wanted to go there in my 1 Year Sober post, but my anxiety was just fucking with me so bad. That post was about my 6th version with some explaining more and others not saying much. I’ve heard from other folks when you approach that 1-year mark you almost psyche yourself out. All week I worked on it and my emotions were all over the board. I ended up treating it like crossing a marathon finish line and just celebrating how far I’ve come. It was an excellent day and thank you all for the love you showed me.
It is hard to figure out where to start, but let’s try with jumping in where my life was beyond shit. Sounds fun, eh? This is what I label The Fall. Every great story starts with a great fall and a struggle not to get back where you were prior, but instead to move to that place where you, yes you, intended yourself to be in this universe. The interesting thing though it was more like a fucking swat down. I had just gone through a divorce after being married for 16 years and with two teenage kids. Since I’m not running under an alias out here in blogland, I won’t go through all that. Suffice to say it sucked, royally!
On top of that, I had $35,500 in debt coming from trying to establish rental incomes for retirement. It was also from continuing to sell and moving into new homes and spending tons of money to remodel them. Looking back it most likely was an activity we focused on to keep the light off our unhappiness. The irony is we had to sell our “big house” after the divorce and move into our two rentals. Oh, and they were only two houses away from each other. I can literally look out my kitchen window and look up the hill and see her house.
For three years afterwards it was just a constant tornado whipping sadness into my life. In my first year, I was just in shock and denial. I put on a fairly good show of holding it all together, while inside I was balling my eyes out. In the second year, the wheels fell off and I had an emotional breakdown. I couldn’t get myself out of bed and all I did was sleep. Depression and I go way way back. In year three, I lost all hope, screamed a lot with my head and hands pointing in the air, and started trying anything to get me out of my hell.
How I abused alcohol
You’re probably thinking you didn’t mention anything about alcohol above so what gives? Well, if you think about oxygen all around us and needing it to survive that’s what alcohol had become for me. I started it at age 13 and mastered the art of drinking the poison and becoming a champion binge drinker. My life revolved around when I could swill 10 plus beers in a session and escape reality. And believe me, those 3 years right after the divorce were the worst binge sessions ever. It always started and ended the same way. I’d do the very least possible to get through my day just to reach 4 pm. The tunes would be cranked up, the first beer top popped, I can still hear it now and commence the gulp gulp gulp. Beer two and three were working like a charm. The fog was coming through the front door just nicely. Beer four and five I was numbing up. The dragon had finished its job and left leaving me to my own demise. Beer six and seven not as easy, but man work through it because this numbing takes a lot of alcohol. You don’t want to stop now. Repeat again with eight and nine. At ten and above it was hard to say when I’d stop. It always ended the same though. Tears. Tons of tears of how shitty I was, how shitty my life was, and what an embarrassment my existence had become. Many nights I just wallowed in this state for another few more beers. Clank, clank, clank, clank. Somehow I’d take care of my doggies, god knows how, and stumble into bed fully clothed and pass out. This fun experience would be practiced three to four times a week. Four if I was lucky, HA!
How I got sober?
So in paragraph six we get to an answer. No idea if it will be a good one or not. I tend to tangle up words and trip up a lot, but I’ll give it a shot. I often think I’m boring the shit out of others and they’re like get to the fucking point already. Living with depression, I’d read just about any self-help book in the hopes to quickly fix all my problems. You ought to see my kindle. Anyway, I stumbled upon Wayne Dyer when I was around 33 and it was about the same time Wayne was exploring his spiritual side. Now don’t jump the gun and think I got all holier than thou and Jesus saved me. But I did explore a church, around year two after The Fall, that welcomed everyone and believed in many masters such as Jesus, Buddha,…I will admit it did help at the time. It introduced me to the concept of I’m a spiritual being having a human experience and god isn’t “out there on a cloud” but rather the great spirit is within and all around us. So as shitty as my binges were going, there was a flicker of light starting within.
After cranking up my binges for three years it got to a point. I was lucky. I definitely didn’t feel lucky at the time, but I realized that the one thing that brought so much comfort into my life was now causing the most pain. It’s your tipping point. Even if everyone else saw it prior and you lived in denial it doesn’t fucking matter. What matters is you finally reach that point. The thing is if you never reach this point you will die either literally or figuratively. So for me, this was the point I finally start falling uP! I was still swilling brews but a seed of wisdom had been planted.
I became sick and tired of being sick and tired. Forty years of abuse will do that to you. I was sick and tired of waking up hungover, dehydrated, and trying to function throughout my day. I was sick and tired of the self-negative ego talk. I was sick and tired of hiding behind a beer bottle and not living a life. I was sick and tired of being lonely and crying my eyes out. I was sick and tired of the pressure to man up and not be a …! There has to be enough sick and tired’s to slow down the pendulum to eventually start getting it to swing the other way. Motivation won’t be enough. It must be a knowing that enough is enough. I started leaning into that flicker of light from within. I read at least ten books on getting and staying sober. I started following other sober bloggers. As I mentioned in my other post it was Annie Grace’s book, This Naked Mind, that helped confirm that for me alcohol is a poison and I can’t control it. It was a big fat lie society had been helping me pour down my throat for years. On February 16, 2019, I reached my beautiful tipping point.
How do I stay sober?
Again it’s that knowing within that keeps me sober. Sure Annie’s booked helped educate me, but there’s a huge difference between being book smart compared to gaining knowledge by experience. My above experiences finally led to this sober point. I was very fortunate to not have any physical withdraws and the emotional triggers I do have I can usually swat away. It does get much easier. I don’t go to AA, but I know many who do and swear by it. My hat is off to anyone who reaches out for help. It shows great braveness, self-love, and wisdom. The next piece are my practices that help keep me grounded and sober.
I know some are curious so here goes:
- I get outdoors. I live in the beautiful state of Colorado up in the mountains. The mountains, trees, and big blue sky speaks to my soul. I get so much joy from a hike that it is my therapy.
- I belong to this wonderful community online. It’s a loving community where nobody is judged and everyone is supported. The Fall taught me empathy and this is my passion now.
- I have my own spiritual practice that reconnects me to my soul. If I had to label it’s shamanic based.
- I follow a minimalist lifestyle.
- I force myself to get out of my home and get social, let me be specific, with loving souls.
- I stopped hanging out with negative and mean people even if society says I’m supposed to look the other way and be loyal, fuck that!
- I attempt to catch my ego and tell it I disagree with that ridiculous statement. That’s my rewiring.
- I tell myself often I love you Dwight Hyde and believe it. Self-love.
- I have this fire lit within to improve many areas of my life and know by steadily taking my time walking with love I can accomplish anything.
Well, that’s it for this post, folks. I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted. I hope it helps someone a bit. I now treasure The Fall and bond with those who also came out on the other side. When in doubt focus on love.
Love Never Fails❤️
I want to tell you about a dream I had. This was when my ex and I were still married planning out our divorce. A very hard time to say the least for both of us. One night as I was sleeping next to her I had the following dream. I’d come home and walked through the door. I looked across the room and my wife(ex) was completely white and shaking. She was so scared she couldn’t even speak. She was pointing around the corner. Like something beyond frightful was hiding. For once in my life I didn’t ignore it or run away. Without thinking I ran across the room, around the corner, and looked right at the monster and SCREAMED! After that I woke up.
Prior to quitting alcohol, I had a little voice within constantly asking:
- If not now, then when? When? When will you truly live this life?
- Are you happy about how you’re living? Is this the human experience you believe you were intended into this universe to follow?
- What will be the biggest regret you’ll have on your deathbed looking back over your life?
- Have you ever given your true self a chance?
I’m now 1 year sober sitting here feeling very proud, happy, and mostly just peaceful. Much of the guilt and shame is going away and self-love is starting to finally come back. I do want to say though, from my experince quitting alcohol and leaving the comfortable numb fog takes courage and tons of internal rewiring. There will be many mental, physical, and emotional battles you will face on your path. Some you will win; others you may lose. Regardless you will grow. Staring down your dragon will take everything you got, but oh is it ever worth it. Scream if you need to but wake up! If you need help get it! You won’t be alone. Don’t wait 40 years like me. It will be the most rewarding work of your life. Hell you’ll actually get your true life back. Lean in and have faith in that voice from within. It’s your guiding system – listen to it.
I thank you all for your love, inspiration, and support this last year and offer it right back!
From The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown: “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
Please join me in supporting these beautiful brave souls:
Claire, Ditching the Wine
Collette, Wine to water
Elizabeth, Without the wine
GettingSoberGal, Just a gal trying to get sober
Jim, Life beyond booze
Limetwiste, Moderately Sober
Lisa Marie, I love my new life!
Lovie Price, Wake Up!
Msnewleaf, my life without alcohol
Nadine, The Sobriety Tree
Nelson, One Drunk’s Tale
Celebrate YOU – Crank it up and dance in front of a mirror!
From YouTube: Sara Bareilles – Brave (Official Video)
Fill your world with silly love songs
From YouTube: Paul McCartney & Wings – Silly Love Songs
Are you still reading??? Okay, last tip. Be kind to yourself and be silly! Life’s a frickin trip!!!
Okay, okay, I promise this it. Never ever over estimate a fist bump from your daughter when you tell her it’s been a year being sober and you need her to take some photos for the occasion. Priceless❤️
Instincts kick in
Senses go into full alert
I know it so well
As I access the situation
Past encounters flash across my screen
I exhale noticing I’ve been holding my breath
How far away is it will determine if it will pounce or has already passed
It’s in my face
A firm roar echoes throughout my body
Ignoring won’t make this stop
A response is demanded
But no matter how I do I’m fucked
This is the way it plans it’s traps
Carefully formulated full of hate
From where this well flows I’ll never quite understand
It’s time to play as has been said
I jump on a boulder to gain some distance and time
Another deep exhale
I send out my best gentle howl to take away the pressure
Like a small flare
Light is good right?
Twist and tear
I hold it in
Maybe that’s all it was
To fight back will make it worse
To provide more fuel is foolish
I play dead
Is it Satisfied?
The strikes stop
It has sauntered off for now
My body shakes
If you could believe it
At one time I had hope it would find empathy
We could be friends
I’ve given up hope for that
I close my messages
I set my phone down
And the ego replays the attack for the rest of the day
*This was from last month. I’m all good, but it’s very interesting how “I interpret” what others do into such a dramatic event. I’m human I guess and don’t do very good quickly letting things go. Looking back I should of read the text and let it go without this whole crazy digestion. I’m sure some of you can relate? How do you pause when a strike seams like a strike?
How often have we reached upward and fallen? We may get discouraged and say things never workout for me. I’m always going to get it wrong.
Instead step back and look at our great elder trees. Understand that prior to becoming giants much internal work was being done forming strong deep healthy roots. Like breathing deeply inwards and then exhaling out. First in, then out.
Growth takes both directions in order to soar. Our Falls are our soul getting our complete attention to rebuild within first so we can then move upward. It’s the only way. Don’t curse your falls. Hold them in light and love.
Remember: Within each seed is all the knowledge of the Universe. It’s not “out there, out somewhere”. It’s within❤️
Regardless of the current circumstances of your life, the fact remains you are here. The universe intended you here for the light only YOU are capable of providing. It’s your journey to fill your vessel with love and shine inward and outward to ALL. We need you more then ever to show up now❤️