I started this page with the phrase
“I have been clean and dry for 6 months”
Then I laughed thinking about how much more it sounded like a pitch for an adult diaper brand than a proclamation of sobriety, and so on that awkward note, let me start again.
Today begins my 7th full month of sobriety. I told myself I had to make it thru 6 before I really started to consider myself sober and so here I am and IT FEELS FUCKING GREAT. It has also been the most miserable and painful 6 months I’ve had since the first time I got sober 8 years ago and although I spent one of those years not drinking I only considered it a ‘break’. The difference this time is it is 100% voluntary and for always.
Right from the start I knew that I would struggle to really GET sober in Indiana so I immediately started putting together an exit strategy for getting out of this town. It wasn’t so much that I was worried about ending up at the corner bar with shaking hands and my lips on the edge of a plastic cup of whiskey as I was concerned about the emotional/behavioral challenges of sobriety. Getting depressed or down on myself, being angry and cynical towards others, feeling bored or anxious about wasted time, these are worse triggers for me than sitting next to someone with a drink. Another big challenge for me is knowing that I have a huge pillow of support here, which would make you think this is where I should stay to get healthy but the way unconditional support and praise gets translated by my ego really just makes me tempted to see how far I can fall and still get back up. How many limits I can push and boundaries I can break and none really for the better. Fucked up I know, but my mind is capable of genius levels of self delusion. I can convince myself of most anything and once I’ve talked myself into something on behalf of my ego, it’s really hard to talk myself out of it.
So I’ve called upon the survivalist within me. The me that works best under pressure and is motivated by the challenge to navigate chaos and to overcome obstacles. I called her out and I challenged her to do more than just survive. I challenged her, dared her and bet all my money on her to thrive.
Because once I had made the commitment to sobriety as a life style and not just a temporary adjustment I got a good look at how little I am challenged to grow here. I can really feel how being in a place that I don’t have to try that hard to succeed or win the favor of the people around me is actually holding me back, making me lazy and stoking the flame of my arrogance.
I can see how feeding my addictions while trying to stay above average had become an unconscious game I was playing with myself to stay interested, awake and test my fate. But average isn’t that high around here and I don’t care how good you are, when you start to let your demons lead, UP is not where you’re headed. So away is where I went.
(photo courtesy of BlackBirdJones )
So after many trips here already this year I’ve found myself drawn in by the wonder of New York City. The East Village to be exact
I feel like this is the place that will really challenge me in the ways that I WANT to ‘grow up’ in. and one of the key parts of my personal recovery program has been to ‘create a life where addiction just doesn’t fit’. To create a life so full of interesting, places, people and things that it would become less exciting by partying and to work everyday to strengthen the power of my heart and spirit and lessen the strength of that arrogant asshole that lives in my head. It’s a daily battle, so my focus has been to stay humbled and curious and that has proven it’s self hard for me to do in this small midwestern town….So new york it is and humbled and curious I am.
Cheers to growing Upward.