Welcome to Day 2 of our Dry January journaling series! You came back!! I'm so proud of you! Today is not about if you drank yesterday or not. Today is about today. This moment in time and this journal prompt. So let's get into it.
"Do you feel locked in a cage anywhere in your life? Do you feel like you hide parts of yourself to make others more comfortable? If not, have you ever and do you know why?"
Like I said, yesterday - write for yourself first. Whatever comes up, let it come out. Let the pages take whatever you've got. This isn't about perfection, it's about shame free exploration. It doesn't matter if you have a lot to say or a little, let your mind tell you what it thinks and just freely write. When you're ready, you can read below about my journey through sobriety and why I started this blog. I'm so glad you're here.
I feel compelled to tell you that if you don't already know, today I am one year sober from alcohol. I am to be honest, shocked to write those words. Never in my life did I imagine sobriety being a part of my story. I pitied people who had to be sober. I thought "wow that sucks that they can't have fun like me." I knew that this would never be a choice I would make. I loved wine. Looooooooooooooved wine. Loved being drunk. I was never giving that up. Maybe that was a sign early on that I would eventually give it up? Lol.
Anyways - a little over a year ago, I found myself questioning my cages. I had spent my entire life in boxes that kept me safe. Well, I THOUGHT they kept me safe.
These cages - the girly heteronormative cage, the christian cage, the over achiever cage, the try to be as pretty as possible cage - I thought if I tried really hard to stuff myself inside the cages then I could guarantee that other people would like me.
And they did. My whole life I have had a lot people have been my friend or know me as the nice girl. But only a few people really knew me and even then, I hid so many parts of myself for as long as I could.
And once I started leaving my cages, my circle got smaller and smaller.
As I walked into motherhood, I had to walk out of many other cages that had defined me for a long time. My life became filled with anxiety over every decision and depression out of a loss of identity. I became filled with anger because I never had any time to myself. So I drank at night to make up for it all. For the darkness, for the anxiety, for the frustrations. I drank to silence the part of my brain that told me I would never be enough. I drank for the last time on January 1, 2021. As I write to you today my loves, I am one year sober from alcohol.
It is such a powerful thing, sobriety. Not because abstaining from alcohol makes you superhuman, in fact - it's much the opposite. Sobriety makes you acutely aware of what it means to be human. That pain is a guarantee, whether or not you choose to soothe yours with a handle of whiskey. That life is going to hurt you, whether or not you hide your wine bottles in the recycling. And most of all, sobriety teaches you that if your life is going to change - you and only you are the person who can do the changing.
I heard someone describe unhealed trauma once by saying "it wasn't your fault it happened but it is your responsibility to fix it."
This is sobriety for me. It wasn't my fault my life didn't turn out the way I expected. It wasn't my fault I had post-partum depression and post-partum anger and insane intrusive thoughts. It wasn't my fault I experienced religious and childhood trauma. It wasn't my fault I had never learned how to regulate my emotions or work through life in a healthy way.
OF COURSE I started drinking heavily. I had no idea how to be an adult. When I became a mother, I was slapped in the face with the biggest reality check of all fucking time. That motherhood was the biggest sacrifice I would ever make and I quite literally had to do for it the rest of my life.
Tough pill to swallow. I love the kid with all my god damn heart but taking care of someone FOREVER? Maybe I am just super selfish but I'll be damned if that didn't take some getting used to.
About 5 months post partum, I told my therapist I had to do dry January. I had to give up drinking and uncover some of my unhealthy coping mechanisms. As I began to notice why I drank, I began to stop wanting to drink. Drinking was just a symptom. Drinking was the fruit of a gigantic tree with very deep roots. As I chopped off the rotten fruit, I could chop down the entire tree, and eventually pull up all the roots.
Sobriety was not the thing that healed me but I know for a fact, I would not be able to heal if I wasn't sober. Drinking, even moderately - always set me back. Even if it was just a hangover, I don't want to lose days anymore. I don't want to lose time. I don't want to lose my life.
Because time is a valuable resource. And when I drank, I lost so much time. I'm choosing to live life intentionally these days. Seeing my time as my way to freedom. Using my words to talk about how I found sobriety, how I found healing, and most importantly - how I found myself.
I am still bringing cages into 2022 that I haven't walked out of yet. Life is not about leaving every negative experience we've ever had behind all at once and then we start over and it's never happened again. Life is much more like waves that we ride - some take us up and some take us down but if we fight like hell, none of them will take us under. It's ok to feel locked in a cage, through self awareness and self compassion you will come to find that you hold the keys to those very cages. Even if you don't know where the key is yet, the power to unlocking parts of yourself is only in your hands so take your time with all of this growing stuff, it isn't supposed to happen fast.
Showing up for yourself and choosing to move forward in the face of all the pain and hurt that surrounds you is really hard and really scary. I am right there with you. On the other side of the pain, there is peace and it isn't going anywhere. Take your time, we're all right here with you.