And the Wisdom to Know the Difference

August 16, 2010

Thank you all for attending my first rebirthday party! As this is my virtual AA meeting, I must warn you that today I am going to be shamelessly celebrating the life and times of booze-free Kat.

August 16, 2010 marks exactly one calendar year since my last alcoholic beverage. That is 364 days longer than I ever anticipated, and, as cheesy as it sounds, I honestly find myself grateful for each one more than the last.

To be clear– I am in no way against alcohol use. In fact, I love alcohol. Unhealthily. I have no problem with my friends enjoying cocktails, or even getting wasted. I can still go out and have a good time, and completely understand the enjoyment people get from having few of those socially lubricating beverages. I am not here to preach, guilt, or otherwise pass moral judgements.

"Yo Ho Hoe & A Bottle of Rum 2008"

Nor am I going to lament here about the person I was. Dragging her down at this juncture is redundant, and a disservice to who I’ve been. She was just lost up Jack Daniels Creek, and too drunk to paddle home. She was not a monster, but a tragedy steeped in cheap wine. I am not angry or embarrassed by her, I’m just glad she was able to help herself before nobody could.

Today is about how far I have come in the past 52 weeks. For anyone who responsibly enjoys alcohol, it may be difficult to comprehend the hold it can have one’s life; the blindfold it ties on one’s spirit. Alcoholism doesn’t breed weakness, weakness breeds alcoholism. I was looking for something to feel complete, but settled for feeling nothing at all.

Day one was full of tears and regrets. Actually the entire first week, maybe even month, was that way. It was a revelation: a sobering shot of reality after a long stretch of blackout oblivion. I realized at this time that everyone who had stuck around through the years– those I am fortunate enough to call my friends and family– loved me far more than I loved myself. They were watching me fall hard. Over and over again. Trying to reach for my hand, but being denied every time. I was fine. Sure, I could help myself.

What can I say?

I’m a redhead. An Irish girl. A fire sign. Year of the Tiger. [excuse excuse excuse]

We don’t take kindly to anyone’s advice, however well-intentioned. I do things my way. I slip and fall. Every lesson is learned the hardest way possible.

But I’ll be damned if those lessons don’t have some staying-power.

From August to December, I entered hibernation. I was depressed, I really hated who I had been, and wasn’t sure who I was. I had a lot of broken bridges to mend, a lot of mental fog to shake, and a lot of self-worth to replace. Reflecting on it, perhaps hibernation isn’t really a proper term, as I was far from dormant. It was more of a cocoon; the first step in a major metamorphosis.

The winter time usually brings on a bout of depression, but this winter it was different. Although it felt like I kept pushing to the top just to watch life roll back down, I was still able to keep a smile about it. New Years Eve, for once, seemed to mark a real change.

2010 was decidedly about potential. It was about taking care of Kat. I was eating better, getting my reprehensibly-neglected finances in order, and coming to terms my mistakes. In the face of everything that was wrong, I was able to stay focused on what was right. A monument in my sobriety.

Winter turned to spring. I fell in love. I began to write again.

At the onset of summer, I had a second revelation. As I lay in bed one Sunday morning, calculating the proximity of the nearest liquor store, it dawned on me that the booze was never going to fill the hole. There was nothing “wrong” at the time, I simply wanted to drink. To self-destruct. I realized in that moment that all the love given to me was meaningless if I just let it flow through, even more-so if I diluted it. The stopper in my existential black-hole was not just love, but love for myself. This revelation, as important as the last, has since been my guiding light through some dark moments of weakness. It put into perspective my expectations of others, and serves to remind me that this life is mine.

So, today I throw myself a party. Because nobody else will be, or should be, celebrating as much as Kat. I am one year into being the person I want to be; a person whom I love. The insecurities are still there, painfully obvious to me at all times, but I’m no longer afraid of them. The reasons I drank still haunt me, but I see those ghosts becoming old friends. Although it is still a struggle, leaving my crutch at the door (some days especially), I have never before felt so happy, beautiful, or positive about the future.

And today, that is enough reason to stay sober.

7 Responses to “And the Wisdom to Know the Difference”

  1. EVula Says:

    Congratulations on hitting such a fantastic milestone with such a great and, most importantly, healthy attitude, both about your past and your future. 🙂

  2. mlazzaro Says:

    Right on 🙂

  3. lookitsbray Says:

    Hey congrats on your success and you’ve gained a new follower in me.

  4. Thank you all!! xo.

  5. maureen Says:

    red fox turned butterfly true metamorphasis

  6. […] (Sidenote: You can read last year’s “Soberversary” post Here) […]

  7. […] (Note: you can read last years soberversary post here, and my first one here) […]

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