I don’t fit in with the sober kids. I didn’t find sobriety in the rooms: sobriety found me in Izmir, Turkey when she was the last thing I was looking for.
I didn’t work through the twelve steps: I took my own steps, set my own pace, and walked off-path, frequently, without knowing how to realign.
I’ve never read a page of the Blue Book: I’m currently reading a collection of short stories that are blissful confusion and strangeness and the cover does happen to be blue.
I don’t identify with a God and my notion of a higher power isn’t defined by a Higher Power.
On September 22, 2014, I didn’t introduce myself to a room full of strangers: I sat on the back patio of a Turkish mansion and asked myself to step away from my Self and be in objective observance. Was my Self and the decisions I was making in those surrounding days, in service of truest Self and deepest potential?
My first day of sobriety felt a lot like hosting a dinner party with old friends; unfamiliar characters began arriving in my mind.
The Creator was a guest. He mentioned that he hadn’t seen any of my recent work, I confessed I had none to share. The Daughter showed up unannounced, wondering why she hadn’t heard from me recently.
The Athlete. The Dancer. The Best Friend. The Lover.
All of my identities seemed to speak to me in isolation, neglected, undervalued, and frustrated that I had minimized their importance within my own Venn diagram. I had lost touch with conscious choice. I had surrendered decision making to a substance outside of my Self.
I sat inside the theater of my mind and let scenes of my life scroll behind my eyes like a film wheel. Years and months and days flowed past, and the character least familiar in every scene was my Self. I was embarrassed. I was confused. I was resentful.
Then it clicked. Rather than thinking hypothetically and retrospectively, I became curious: what would life moving forward be like if I removed the substance? The scapegoat? The crutch? The blame?
Could I develop a relationship between the strangers in my mind? Could this lead to an understanding of competing attributes: inferiority and self-confidence; vulnerability and reservation; trust and skepticism; masculinity and femininity; conservatism and sexuality; discipline and spontaneity.
On that back porch in Izmir, under a sunny Aegean sky and soft Mediterranean winds, surrounded by low-hanging pomegranates and bountiful figs, an acute awareness set in: if I ever wanted to truly love, to truly serve, I would first have to commit to loving and serving my Self. For the first time in my life, I decided to put my Self first.
And so began the commitment – surrendering to understanding this new reality by relinquishing control. And so began the understanding – breaking things down, digesting, categorizing, observing. And so began the forgiveness – acceptance, the wisdom of washing away, the power in letting go.
It was discerning. It was unifying. It took accepting both to begin to heal.
It’s September 22, 2016 and things are different now. I still have weekly dinner parties with the characters in my mind. I still struggle with balancing the patch-worked pieces of old decisions and new values. But things are different now: I have choice.
Every day I chose to cultivate an honest relationship with my Self; one that offers more love, confusion, frustration, and peace than I ever knew existed. It’s this honest relationship that allows me to trust. It’s this relationship that is a daily reminder of the powerful combination of choice and discipline. We chose to change, our actions drive the choice.
It doesn’t get easier, I never believed it would. But it’s two years later and the decision to be sober still promises to be worth it. It’s worth working through. It’s worth fighting for. It’s worth all of it’s tests and tribulations and questions without answers. It’s worth everything. It’s worth you.
Two years later, and it’s so damn worth it. You are so damn worth it.