Dedicated to Lauren.
I am truly blessed to have the people in my life whom I love. One of these amazing humans is a lovely young lady whom I am blessed to have in my life. Lauren asked me if she could request a subject for me to write about. Without even a second of hesitation I said yes. Little did I know what a challenge her question would be.
Here’s what she requested: “What would you tell your past self as you were beginning your sobriety journey?”
Now on the outside looking in, this might seem like an easy question to answer. A simple “keep your head up and keep looking forward” kinda answer. But in reality it’s a difficult question for me to answer. Not because I don’t know what I would tell myself, but because there are so many things I would want to tell myself. This has proven to be the first time I’ve struggled with putting my words down and not knowing where to start. I guess this is good for me because it has made me dig a little deeper. Leave it to Lauren to shake up my world. So here you go young lady, my message to myself……
I know that you are scared. You are scared because you are about to change the only life you have ever known. On top of being scared of change, you are terrified that you will get a taste of that freedom and then have it taken away. I’m proud of you for coming to the realization that you need a change in your life and I’m even prouder of the fact that you have found the courage to try. Not only will you need to heal your physical body, but you will need to heal your mind, your soul and your heart. I will say with 100% certainty that it will be worth every tear and every uncomfortable moment that you will have. There is a different life other than what you have been living and you deserve all the happiness that the other life has to offer. You are a fighter, now fight your life.
I would tell myself that sobriety and the choice to love life is what we call freedom. It’s like that bear that lives its entire life in a cage. This bear know nothing but that cage until the day it is rescued. Now you would think the bear would run free the moment the cage door is open, but it doesn’t. It doesn’t want to leave the security of the cage because it doesn’t know any other life. It will take the bear time to grasp the idea that it is no longer being held captive. The bear will get the idea sooner or later that it has the right to venture outside of the cage and will take a few tentative steps but everything feels different to the bear. The ground feels different, the air smells different, the world looks different. Every single thing is different and even though it is better it is still different. On the outside looking in, we watch the bear and we give it encouragement. We are patient with the bear, we reward it when it makes progress and we celebrate once it leave the cage for good. You are the bear and adiction is the cage. You need to give yourself the same self love and the same encouragement that you give the bear.
The work doesn’t stop once you are outside of the cage. You will need to make sure you keep tabs of every part of your life. Your freedom outside of the cage is like a garden and you will need to tend to your garden on a daily basis. You cannot plant flowers, get them to bloom and then just stop watering them and walk away. You will need to visit your sobriety on a daily basis. You need to make sure all the weeds are pulled, it is watered and love on it every single day. This is not negotiable.
Your wounds will heal. Some will heal quickly and soon be a distant memory. Others will take time to heal. There is no time limit and no hurry, you just have to let time heal all the wounds. You will need to revisit your past through meditation. There will be memories that you will need revisit and save your inner child (this will be explained another day). You will have to be braver than you have every been, but you can do it. You can do it because you have gotten this far.
You will need to learn how to live again. You will find joy in the things you never notice before. A flower will stop you in your tracks because of its beauty. You will laugh louder and smile more. Everything that you were scared of will no longer be scary. Love will taste sweet and tears will heal.
Do not be scared of loosing your happiness before you even get it. This fear will keep you in that cage. This fear will bring its friend guilt and guilt is a bitch. Surround yourself with positivity and likeminded people. Watch shows that that will make you laugh, read a books that will inspire you and stay away for the negative. Tell yourself everyday that it is okay to be okay and you deserve happiness.
There is nothing stopping you from this point forward. You got this and now go live your life.