This week marked one year sober and although it is certainly something to be proud of it has felt rather underwhelming. Underwhelming mostly because it is the third time I have accomplished this, but also because I’ve been really thinking about if sober is something I want to be. The first time was because I was in rehab and for more than just a little teenage boozin’. The second because I wanted to be a better girlfriend and this last time was because I scared myself pretty good drinking and driving, my work was suffering, my hangovers were getting worse and I was genuinely fed up with myself for always ending up at the bottom of the bottle. I was over it.
So here I am on the other side of a year. No hang overs, no close calls, no embarrassing morning afters and am truly relieved about that. But as it turns out I’m still just as excessive, compulsive and selfish with poor boundaries and unhealthy coping skills. Except now I can’t escape anywhere, check out for a minute or blame it on the booze and whats worse is I am not enjoying myself. In fact I am legitimately depressed. I am lonely and broke and not where I hoped I would be by now. Far from it actually. I feel like I’ve spent the better part of the last year exhausting myself to stay strong and clear, that I’ve used up all the magic I needed to keep up with the everyday. But all I’ve really done is repeat a chapter of my own history. I just took a different route to end up at the same spot in this maze.
“I tried to drown my sorrows but the bastards learned how to swim” Frida Kahlo
So goddammit that I just feel like a beat up pile of shit with dirt in her eyes, because I know that it’s what I do next that counts. Now that I feel all used up and discouraged. Now that I have less than enough to get by on. Now that I’ve spent all this time with my least favorite parts of myself. Now is when I’ve got to figure out how to grow. So on that note, I may be really unfuckingcomfortable, but can’t help but know that if I jump off the wagon now I will just be singing this same damn song again soon enough. Or worse. I’ve chosen to take the timing of Philip Seymour Hoffman OD’ing to heart and all of this coverage about it has really struck me more deeply than other celebrity deaths. Not just because it’s chilling to know I’d walked past his apartment just days prior. But because his work touched and was so enjoyed by so many people. He’s inspired the discussions to be really poignant and thought provoking about him as an artist and person and about human nature in general. He was also truly committed to telling the stories of the human struggle, which is something I identify with and understand that to stay so close to the darkness is a heavy burden on your soul. So it’s certainly a sad way to be reminded not to tempt that shit.
“I’m afraid I’ll be the kind of actor who thought he would make a difference and didn’t.” -PSH
But it was this line from an interview that really got to me, because it is one of my own deepest fears as a person and if there is a specific thing that I feel like I have gained from this last year of sobriety, it is understanding that my purpose is to help and encourage and teach others. To share something of myself so that someone else may be benefited. But it has always been the gauge for the health of my mind when I wonder if the way I will be most helpful is to succeed or fail. To show the way thru light, or to frighten out of the dark. I know that’s a heavy thought, but it has been a very real discussion within me many times over the years and every time it’s been what’s pulled me out of the shadows. But the fact remains, that without living with the purpose and intention to help I am really just like every other blind and troubled soul wandering around.
So, at this moment I am keepin’ on and staying sober and am really digging for some shifts for the rest of the things on my mind. I’d really like to hear from you though. How you are or what you do when you want to give up or give in? Do you just surrender or do you take it on? I really would like to know.