When I was active in my alcoholism I had all these grandiose visions for my life. In retrospect, even my fantasies were pretty twisted. I used to listen to depressing 90’s fem rock and envision embarking on an epic road trip out West. In my mind, I would be Route 66’ing it, glum tunes blaring, and tears staining my vision because some jerk broke my heart.
Along the way, I’d make pit stops in grungy saloon-esque bars and down shots of whiskey next to a sweaty, overweight man with a handlebar mustache. Inevitably, my old, banged up Dodge Neon would break down in the middle of the desert, and some hot, young car mechanic in a wife-beater would fix my car free of charge because I’m pretty. (I always assumed I’d be broke, too).
Somehow, someway, I’d make it to sunny California where I’d start a new life. That was about as far as I ever got. That was my distortedly romantic fantasy. Fast forward to 2.5 years sober and I am planning a road trip, but I am going in the opposite direction. I’m leaving my beloved California and returning to my home state of Georgia. I moved to California after I graduated college (fist bump, sobriety) and I’ve spent about 7 months in Orange County. Relocating in sobriety has been full of challenges, and my dear friend elaborates more on this topic in her article from the Fix which you can find here.
Overall, my time here was very well-spent, I learned so much about myself and what I’m capable of, and it’s amazing to me the community that can grow up around you in such a short period of time with just an ounce of willingness. I am taking that road trip, but the circumstances are nowhere near what I had pictured – thank God!
First of all, I have money in the bank and a fairly new car, so the chances of me breaking down or running out of money are highly unlikely. I am able to afford nice things today because I can show up responsibly to work every day. (I’ve been working for a neurosurgeon in Newport Beach, not a bad gig!) In my drinking days, I only worked in bars and would show up hungover most days.
Secondly, I’m not experiencing excruciating heartache like I’d imagined. I’ve been single for over a year and I’m happy. I don’t need to take anyone hostage or use love as a drug today. That is so refreshing.
And finally, although I’ve created a beautiful life here in California that I’m saddened to leave, I’m going to a place with people I love and who love me. Sobriety has given me the gift of restored relationships with my family, and friendships that I can’t even put into words.
Yet still, I have this fear – that if I stay someplace too long, or get too close to someone – you all will eventually see my defects and won’t like me anymore. But what I’ve come to know about my friendships in sobriety is that they are like family. They encourage me when I’m down. They understand my warped thinking. They accept my flaws. My friends in Georgia still called me regularly even after I moved, something I had never experienced before nor did I ever expect.
I’ve always fantasized about future circumstances, whether they were depressing and morbid, or grandiose and glitzy. Ironically, the circumstances aren’t what end up meaning anything at all.
I’ve come to understand that it’s the love within the relationships that come along the way.
That’s all there ever was and all there ever will be.
Stay tuned for my next blog where I report back on my road trip!