ONE YEAR SOBER.
Today I am one year sober. Where do I even begin? Sitting here writing this post is strangely emotionally charged and completely peaceful all at the same time. Quite honestly I am in a state of shock. I remember very clearly someone asking me a year ago if I could stay sober and I very matter of factly said, NO. The utterance of that “No” was loaded with self-hatred, self-dissatisfaction, and the attitude of someone who was drowning in self-doubt. That “No” was an abstract verbal admittance that I didn’t believe that I was good enough. I was convinced that I was at the will of my demons for eternity and would dammed at the final judgement. Saying “No” implied to those in my life and the world that I had lost control and afraid that I would never get it back.
More devastating to me though was having to accept the fact that I failed. I FAILED. I failed myself in a way that I thought it was the end. The end of any chance of becoming the person I aspired to be. The end of my way of life that I knew and loved. I had been poisoned by illusions of grandeur. Sobriety only served to be the realization that would nail my coffin shut and put me out of my misery because it was too late. It was too late to receive any kind of antidote or relief from the searing pain and numbing sadness. In the early days I was so depressed and so in the dark I had come to accept the light of life had burnt out. Many times I said this is it. I was ready to die. Without any warning, a silent goodbye.
Slowly but surely though I rose to the occasion. One rung of the latter at a time I began to climb. Slowly but surely I left the dark world of Wonderland and climbed up the rabbit hole till I broke ground. At that point I had to sit under the shade of the trees and ponder. I had to contemplate deeply about where to go, what to do, and who to be. I realized getting out the rabbit hole of a dark past was the first step to get back the control that I had lost and was taken from me. I knew sitting under the shelter of those lively and beautiful trees would not take me to point where I needed to be. So, I left. With no plan to follow. No idea what I was doing. Nobody to guide me. I trekked into a world that I had been absent from for years, alone like a hermit in solitude. It was in this quest I learned self-discipline, I learned to accept insecurity, I learned to be resilient, and I mastered the art of self-control rooted in the ability to be present. To rise again I had to walk alone.
Here I stand on the edge of a cliff
Looking over at what lies below
Questionably I take a step closer
Reluctantly I take a step back
Thoughtfully I stand in silence
Knowing what’s done is in the past
Never again will I look back
I am now one year sober. That means I am one year better. One year stronger. One step closer to freedom. One year of self-liberation fulfilled. Although I am young, I have lived many lives and suffered many deaths. Each one was an experiment that failed. Each one is a new hypothesis that is put to a test. From each one I draw more wisdom and the strength to try again. What I have come to recognize on this journey is that my life is not complete if I can’t reinvent myself. Each reinvention is a new theory put into practice, a new ideology to follow, and a powerful reminder that I am flawed and THAT’S OKAY. Change is something to embrace and practice with utmost presence and agency. Not every change is great, but every change does make a difference. Change affects the course of your life’s direction and I believe that the more turns you make, hills you climb, bridges you cross, and races you run you get one step closer to the truth. So, I don’t fear taking a chance and making a change, I embrace it. I embrace it with such strong optimism and positivity that even if it goes wrong it’s just another lesson learned and moment to grow. When you get too comfortable, push yourself. Living too comfortably puts you at risk to repeat bad habits. I will never settle for comfort, just continued success.
This year has been a powerful metamorphosis. I started as a sluggish small caterpillar and I’m ending my year a beautiful and stunning butterfly. One life came to and end and another began. Throughout this transformation I came to know many insights and truths about myself and the world around me. These have become the guiding principles that I will use as I continue forward in my sober life. I’d like to share some of them with you now, if you don’t mind:
Every day is a fight to stay free, so don’t stand still for too long or you will fall to your knees.
The only thing that stands in your way is yourself, so never fall two steps behind the person who know you can be.
Vulnerability is the key to opening up your world. Self-awareness is knowing when to withhold that key from others.
Beauty is more than what a mirror reflects back at you, it’s what reflects from within you.
Strength and power are the product of prudence and ambition
Self-expression is not a choice, it’s a right.
Your unique niche in life is what separates you from everyone else, so fashion it in way that it replicates YOU.
Liberation is assuming personal power and asserting it.
Introspection is how we unravel the mystery of who we are and what we value. So think hard, question critically, and act mindfully.
These are some of my truths. Will they reflect what I value and who I am ten years from now? Maybe. Maybe not. Whatever the case, I am happier, healthier, and revitalized because of these truths and others. Living by these I am certain that I can be a champion in whatever I decide to do in the future.
Sobriety in itself is an act of self-care. For the last year I have been rehabilitating (pun intended) my own sense of well-being. Self-care is something that I just did not do before getting sober. Besides the dumping of toxins into my body, I never took time to just relax and do things for me. I was always catering to this person here and that person there and running myself each and every day until I collapsed in bed after some strong drinks. To be more present and focused on my new life I knew that taking these moments of me time would be essential to my success. Some days I would take more me time than was probably necessary, but who doesn’t love to treat and pamper themselves?
Anyways, taking time for myself made me all the more grateful for the life that I had and the second chance I was getting to try again for success. It was in these moments I was able to reflect on what else I could do to nurture and foster a more positive relationship with myself; mind, body, and soul. Yoga was essential with helping me to do this. I make an effort every day to roll out my mat and take a moment to disconnect from everything around me and indulge in the warmth and forgiveness of self-love. When you treat yourself with love and respect the world will do the same. It’s all in the energy. Put the positive out and you’ll get the positive back. Smile because you want to, not because you have to. It’s these simple little things that have made my every day experience better and I have self care to thank.
To me this is what sobriety is all about. Sobriety is a long and ongoing process where you are always having conversations with yourself to make improvements and amendments to who you wish to be. This Introspective Action is the key to my success. For the last 11 months or so you all have been reading a sample of my raw introspective action that I have been engaged in since day 1 of sobriety. Never in my life have I ever been so acutely aware of what is unfolding in my mind and how to process that information in what that is not destructive. Introspection has taught me to love myself. It has helped me come to accept the fact that I am flawed and I shouldn’t let my past lives and mistakes define who I want to be now in the present. That person in the past no longer exists to the people who meet me. Only I have access and knowledge of their existence. It’s such a powerful feeling knowing that I can be who I want to be and be able to talk about my past and mistakes in way that is not negative, but positive. Positive in the fact that had I never made the mistakes of choices that I did my life would have gone a completely different path. Sure I still have issues, but I’m happy to be in a place where I can acknowledge those issues and not let them define who I want to be.
Introspection is what helped me discover my personal power. As I talked to myself and combatted the negative self-talk of my demons, I established a core of self-empowerment. Empowerment really was the crucial driver I was missing in my life. I had been disenfranchised in life to not feel confident, beautiful, and powerful because of my inherent identities. I was brought into a world that did not accept me for who I am and fought back with such fiery aggression that it was hard not to fall over in defeat. When I finally did surrender, my self-worth was stripped from me. I felt like I became an actual Barbie doll whose agency and freedom rested in the hands of whoever possessed me at the time. Oppression took away my agency and brutally confined me. Not anymore. I don’t need validation to feel good about myself. I am fucking fabulous and I know it. Nothing you can do or say will ever make me feel inferior. Wild and untamed, I won’t compromise my right to express myself unapologetically. This is me. I can’t give you anything else. Conformity isn’t in my vocabulary.
When you strip it all down
The only thing you’ll see
Is the bare essentials
Strong yet minimal
The truth of your existence
As I ring in this big milestone I have some people to thank. Most importantly I want to give the biggest and most appreciative thank you to all my readers over this journey. Whether you’ve been here since the beginning or jumped on the train at a later day, your support has been nothing but wonderful and I am so grateful for all the kind words and encouragement. I also want to thank my friends and family for being there and having my back all this time. I am so lucky and fortunate to have such a lovely and wonderful group of people who care about me the way they do. One day I hope I can return the support you have given to me in all of your life endeavors. Stay wonderful and true to you.
Young, Wild, & Free,