Today I am so so so very blessed and grateful to celebrate S I X beautiful, full, unexpected, amazing YEARS of being 100% free from drugs and alcohol! I am grateful for my sobriety and the work I have done to maintain it every day, but having a sober-versary is always a blessing. Having a specific day to honor and do ritual and intentional celebration to give proper thanks to this feels so wonderful.
When I first got sober, one of the main reasons was for my health. This was a vague motivator for me, but I could hear it, and so I trusted it. Over the years, I have taken many, many unexpected turns and paths with my health and it has unfolded in ways I couldn’t have imagined, but the journey and commitment has been so rich and worth it–even when it hasn’t been easy. For this year, I will be reflecting on my journey with my physical, mental, and spiritual health over the past six years of choosing to be sober and what that has looked like for me.
Physical health: this part of my health has always been pretty straight forward for me. The journey has been how I (mostly) expected it. Eat like shit, feel like shit. Don’t move my body or give it the movement it wants, feel like shit. Of course, I have spent SO much time and energy listening to my body, getting to know it, what it likes and doesn’t like, researching a challenge that comes up, and asking for help/support/guidance from professionals as needed, but overall, this area of my health has been fairly input/output relationship-oriented. The physical body responds. Of course, my physical body’s health has dramatically increased since choosing to be sober with the first reason being that I can actually stand to be in my body and listen to it. From there, each day is different, but for the most part, if I listen and show up for it in terms of nutrition, exercise, and other holistic care and approach to it, I am in a good spot.
Mental health: this area of my health has been the most difficult over the years. At various points in my life, I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And, honestly, it has been a lifetime of learning to hold myself in softness and patience with and through these. When I first got sober, the sobriety of it was literally overwhelming, which is what makes staying sober so hard. I had been using for about nine years when I stopped, and for me, all of my using meant I was not able to be present with myself. Therefore, when I got sober and had to sit with all my shit, I was frozen. Mental health is not like physical health. I cannot follow a formula and guarantee there will be a specific output. Because I have paid attention to myself and my triggers and spent countless hours nurturing gentleness with myself, I am able to be more aware and spot patterns within myself, but the truth about my mental health is it is unpredictable. Of course, I can actively choose to do things I know will minimize my triggers or make me feel out of balance with myself, but no matter how much control I think I have over my mental health, I need to accept it as part of me. Mental health is waves. It is unpredictable. It can come out of nowhere. And it has taught me that acceptance of what is and being gentle with myself and honoring what I need in the present moment is more important than trying to chase an impossible end goal of “defeating” any negative or unideal feelings. I have been seeing a therapist every week for the past 7 years (and plan on continuing to do so as long as needed). I set boundaries for myself. I say no. I spend time in nature. I choose healthy relationships in my life. I meditate. I read. I write. I breathe. I tend to myself. All of this is good. But none of it can prevent any episodes in my mental health I will ever have. And learning to love myself through every state of my mental health has been what brings me (back to) peace; not the illusion of trying to prevent or control. My mental health teaches me every day about the necessity of committing to and accepting the self with gentleness and love no matter what I look or act like that day.
Spiritual health: to be honest, in this area of my health I truly never thought I would be where I am at. Having been incarnated into this life with many, many lifetimes of past trauma and wounding and experienced a lot in this lifetime as well, I was traumatized to the point that I gave up on God. I thought it was easier. I thought I had been abandoned. Throughout my life, I had fleeting moments of praying, or feeling the comfort you find when you connect to Source, but never this steady, clear energy I had heard about. Thankfully, the Universe did not give up on me and was still (trying to) communicate with me. Even more thankfully, slowly, slowly, through many different means and mediums, I began to connect with a Higher Power that felt good and real to me. Synchronistic moments were picked up by my conscious brain. The sun and wind touched my skin and I pulsated with All That Is. Books with what I needed to hear found me. My journals over-flowed with messages from The Other Side. Eventually I realized that this part of me had always been there, but I had never fully allowed it. I was afraid, and so my ego convinced me that my abandonment was greater than the unconditional Love we are all entitled to. Today, I can happily and fully say I am committed to my relationship with Spirit (or Source or God or The Universe or Thee Most High or whatever you call this) more than I have ever been in my life, and it is the most fulfilling peace I know. Faith feels better than fear. Trust feels better than doubt. Miracles feel better than chaos.
I know all areas of my health and my life are not separated like this, but it has been helpful for me to think about them in this way. I do not know what will unfold for me, but I know I am being guided and therefore I know I cannot go wrong. I am so grateful for being able to rebuild my relationship with myself, my body, my mind, and Source every day. It is never too late. Six years later, and I am reminded of this every day.
Thank you for my sobriety. Thank you for rewriting. Thank you for healing. Thank you for transmuting and transforming. Thank you for witnessing me. Peace, love, and blessings to all beings 🙂