Choosing Gratitude: Living Life at 3 Years Sober
Sobriety / / Apr 03, 2017
I wish that I could say that life at three years sober is easy. That would be a lie.
My alarm went off at 5 AM this morning. The instant it woke me, I started running through the list of things I had to get done today. It was a “brush my teeth while straightening my hair and trying to put socks on all at the same time” kind of morning. The morning where you make coffee while printing out an essay because you’re already 5 minutes late and still have to stop at the post office before your morning meeting.
Thank you for waking me up this morning and for getting me to my morning meeting on time, and safe.
There was so much traffic on the way to work, that I probably would have been better off walking.
Thank you for the extra time spent sitting in traffic this morning, I listened to music and had a dance party.
Four people called out sick today.
Thank you for my health, please help my coworkers who are sick heal quickly.
Work was crazy busy, I barely got a chance to breathe.
Thank you for my job, which pays my bills, and the wonderful opportunities to travel the world for work. I can’t believe I’m going to London next week!
I raced to school after work – more traffic. Confidence escaped me once the class was silent and all I could hear was the familiar “Tick, Tock,” that eventually warped into, “Failure, Failure, Failure”.
Thank you for giving me another chance in college. I am prepared for this test, please help silence my thoughts.
Leaving class, I was just grateful that my day was finally over – until my phone rang. It was a friend asking if we could get coffee, as she was going through a rough time and needed someone to talk to. “Of course, I’ll meet you at Starbucks in ten.” The barista got my coffee order wrong. My friend sobbed incorrigibly for 20 minutes and then calmed down, and thanked me for always being available when she needed a shoulder to cry on. She felt better. I was exhausted.
Thank you for the opportunity to help another sober woman.
I passed the grocery store on the way home, and remembered we needed milk and toilet paper. The lady in front of me paid in change. Finally got home around 10 PM, realized I forgot the milk. Sat down on my kitchen floor, defeated. 5 minute pity party and panic attack.
Thank you for reminding me about the toilet paper. I’ll get milk tomorrow.
My boyfriend came and sat down on the floor next to me. “One of those days, babe?” He kissed my forehead and pulled me to my feet. He danced me around the kitchen trying to cheer me up.
Thank you for my patient boyfriend, and the support I have from my friends and family.
I pulled myself together long enough to cook some dinner, ate, showered, pulled out my math homework, and tried to focus on factoring polynomials.
Thank you for a fridge full of food and a hot shower, for the beautiful apartment that I live in, and the walls that are covered in photos of weekend adventures.
Around midnight, when the numbers all blurred together, I set my alarm for 5 AM, and finally closed my eyes to pray.
Thank you for courage, direction, acceptance and persistence. Help me use them to be better tomorrow.
This was not how I imagined sobriety. I was addicted to heroin and methamphetamine for 6 years. However, even when I was trapped in my ever-looping nightmare of using drugs, I still had visions of my future. I dreamed about one day being able to stop, to make it through detox. Suddenly the fog would lift and I’d be a hot-yoga doing, no carb eating, meditating spiritual goddess that never got stressed out, loved everyone unconditionally, and always remembered the milk at the grocery store. I’d balance full-time college coursework and a full-time job, no problem! I’d build a family and have a promising career, be able to pay all my bills, travel the world, and have time in the morning to make an omelet, and do word puzzles while drinking my coffee. A girl can dream, right?
The reality is, even with three years sober, I still forget the milk all the time. I tried yoga with my roommate once and almost broke my leg. I eat pizza three times a week because I am too exhausted to cook a meal. I get stressed out and impatient and sometimes, I yell at cars that cut me off in traffic. Some days are just hard. The lesson that has been most difficult for me to learn is that, hard days are not unique to addicts and alcoholics in recovery. No amount of sobriety will make those days disappear. They will happen. These days are just life. The only thing that I can do is get through the rough days, so that I can fulfill the somedays of my dreams.
Someday, I will graduate college with an Associate’s Degree in Neuro-Diagnostic Technology.
Someday, I will build a family with the man I love.
Someday, I will travel the world.
Someday, forgetting the milk will not seem like such an epic failure.
Someday, far in the future, I’ll sit on the couch in a beautiful home and flip through photo albums, reflecting on the dreams that I accomplished. The hard days in between won’t matter much, but I will be grateful that I got through them. Until then, I’ll just be grateful for days. This is the life that I almost missed, and the rough days are still victories if I lay my head on my pillow sober. The rough days still count.
If I can offer any advice, it is this: Change your perspective, be grateful, and make the decision to fight through the rough days for your somedays, because every victory brings those dreams closer.