Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Growth Spurt

This picture is what sobriety looks like to me. That first one- the radical one? Right on. Then in the middle the hyper part. Then that taller wearing a hat part. Then the stretching up part . The shedding of the shell part. The look at my beautiful leaves part. And don't forget the roots. Extending. A little hairy. Just like life.

A seedling is such a fragile thing. So is a newly sober person. And then, sixty days go by. You start to get really really really great ideas about your life. You start to get unafraid. Suddenly there are chances to be taken. Dances to be danced. Hair to be let down. How cool.

I started thinking about how I want to spend my life. How to earn money since I need to work unless we want to live in the car. What will satisfy the bill collectors and my soul. Before I would have immediately told that little self to shut up, none of that "pie in the sky" stuff for you. Plod along. Make decent money. Good benefits. Give your soul to the "man". Be a minion. A playing it safe sycophant. Please- don't rock the boat.

But I started thinking about what I could do that would make me feel "real" on the inside. I got really brave and thought things like "go back to school" and "master's degree". I told my parents about it and they acted like I'd said I was abandoning my husband and children and going to join the circus with the bearded lady.

Things were said like "Too old" and "Children! Responsibilities!" There was crying. Yelling. Leaving.

I'm forty one years old. I know I don't need their approval. I was looking for encouragement and found quite the opposite. (Giant life clue: This could be part of my problem. Stop trying to get everyone to like you and what you do. Approve of self.)

So I left and didn't call. My mom wrote me and said sorry. We talked and I stood up for myself. I didn't try to soothe her, and it hurt to hear her cry over the phone, but I said my truth. Mine.

What surprised me the most of how strongly I felt that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. That I don't have to be afraid anymore. Life doesn't have to be this grand ship I'm waving to from shore. I don't have to wonder about all those lucky people, I can be one of them. Or I can be a total fucking failure at something and then hop on another ship. People on boats are especially friendly.

God. Sobriety is such a magical place. I can compare it to this: I have been a seed in a packet. You know a seed is just a seed. It can roll around in the bottom of the drawer just being a little round seed. Until you give it some love. Until you plant it with intention. You put it in the ground and grow it. You grow. You don't ask all the other seeds if you're doing it right. You don't try to be like all the other seeds. You don't settle. You push your tiny seed-y self towards the sun as hard as you can. You grow.

You grow. Up.


  1. Bravo. That's all I've got this morning because your post said it all.

    Brav-the hell-o.


  2. Beautifully said! It's never to late! I started my life five years ago when i got sober, I am 42 now. In those 5 years, i went to school, got married and had 2 kids. Sobriety brings amazing possibilities! Grow on!

  3. There's a term in sobriety for where you are right now and it's called the pink cloud. It's a wonderful place but it seems to always come with the warning, "It won't last." But you know what? I'm 511 days sober and my pink cloud is still floating just fine, thank you. I slip off every once in awhile but it's still there for me to climb back on it when I'm ready.

    Life is full of possibilities, that's what the pink cloud is made of, we just have to be brave enough to climb on and hold on tight.

    1. I've had other sober friends almost belittle me a bit when they talk about the pink cloud. Like I should go ahead and forget about this happy feeling, it won't last. That soon life will be back to monotonous drudgery and blah.

      Um, well. I guess I'll just have to do the work of staying open, investing in myself, and keeping the cloud afloat.

      Bah to the naysayers. :)

  4. You need one of those applauding emoticon thingies here. I would have put one at the top of my response. I was reading along and riding up and cheering you on in this post. Damn great. (I wasn't doing the up on the couch Tom Cruise on Oprah thing - that may come another time). But you nailed so many things here. Damn. Alcoholism stunts our growth on so many levels, and it's no surprise that when we get sober, we find that we need some growing up. Perspective changes. Our true selves start to assert themselves. We move and shift in different directions. And all through a lens of more clarity and purpose. You are starting to get this and it's a wonderful thing to go through.

    As for the pink cloud...I have heard people sneer about it. I call it the Grace of God. Like I tell others...ride it like you stole it.

    Good for you - awesome post. :)

    1. Thank you!

      And don't do the Tom Cruise thing. It was kind of creepy. :)

      Funny about that pink cloud. I like that you call it "The Grace of God". I might just shorten it to "The Grace".


  5. um, yeah. hell yeah. and stop it with your parents, too :) and look at the tiny seedling at the end of the post, isn't it adorable! don't you just *root* for it? (sorry, couldn't help myself). sober girls sprout...

    1. Yes, I thought that little seedling was so cute.

      *root* you're a sharp one sister! :)

      Sober girls indeed sprout.