Thursday, February 7, 2013

If You Are Just Starting Out

Two months ago today I woke up hungover. I use the term "woke up" loosely as I really didn't get up, more like stared blearily at the kids as they placed the plate of french toast beside the bed then promptly went back to sleep.

Two months ago today I ached inside and out from the toll booze was taking on my body. On my mind. On my life.

Two months ago today I got fed up.

Two months ago today I got saved.

By saved I don't mean Jesus came in and smacked me on the forehead and I saw lights and Bibles. By saved I mean I tossed the life raft to my soul. And I caught it. I pushed it down onto my waist. Nice and snug. I started dragging myself back. Back out of the rough waves. Away from the evil undertow. Towards the warm sand of the shore.

You know how waves are. Just when you think you've almost made it they suck you back out again. But I was brave, and no longer afraid of water and so I just kept swimming. I still do.

I do not envy anyone just starting out. But then again I do. This journey is hard, and magic. You will weep and bitch and laugh and be so grateful you have to cry because you never ever thought you could feel so fucking good. You will look in the mirror and smile. You will wake up and get dressed and not feel ashamed. You will feel pissed that you can't drink. You will learn to tell yourself that that's OK, but like an errant child who needs a "no" you'll give your inner drinking buddy one too. "NO" you'll say. You will make seltzers with grapefruit and give yourself little presents like sweaters and time. You will lean into your life like it's the wind and it will lean back to support you. You will feel free.

I have lived a life in these two months. I have changed so much, or maybe I've just come back around to being me.

Sometimes when you're in the ocean you can't tell where you are. So you swim and you fight the current. You wish for the shore. And then you get tired and you wonder how deep it is. If you can touch the bottom. You reach your feet down and feel the sand. You stand up and either laugh or get pissed because you've been swimming so hard and the whole time you could have just walked right out of the water.

If you are just starting out, stand up. And then keep swimming. And stand up again. Do it every day until I'm reading your blog and cheering for your three days, then ten days, then fifteen, then thirty. Reach out. Try not to be ashamed. Or afraid, even though you really really are. Be gentle and kind to yourself and your own biggest cheerleader. Be imperfect. Be sober.


  1. Love your post! So awesome! Love the part about swiming so hard when you could just walk out of the water - I can so relate to that! It took me a loooong time to figure out that I could just walk out! ~ Congrats on two months! Whoot whoot!

  2. That's pretty much early sobriety summed up. It's a gong show at times, and you feel that this is the hardest thing you've ever done...and that's because it's the hardest thing you've ever done. There is no sugarcoating this to someone who is new to sobriety. It can be difficult, absolutely. But getting past and dealing with all the raw emotions and the alcoholism calling out to's worth the struggle. Hell, it's a life and death thing, isn't it? For this alcoholic, going back out is a death sentence. It is for most of us. It may not come quickly, but it comes.

    Congrats again on your two months - that's quite an accomplishment, and to watch it unfold here, with humour and self-contemplation, it's wonderful. Keep it up :) Paul

  3. let there be cake.
    and there was.
    and it was good.
    [celebratory cake, that is!]

  4. Congratulations! You are amazing.


  5. Great post! Congratulations! I'm just beginning & I think I'll be a whole more excited about it once I get a few weeks in. Haha!

  6. So lovely I posted it on the BFB Facebook page for people struggling. Hope that's cool? You rule.

  7. I love the way you describe this! Great post!

  8. And here were the comments, btw, on the FB page, with names deleted for obvious reasons:

    I read this the other day and loved it! She describes it perfectly!
    12 hours ago · Unlike · 1

    I read this last night and thought about posting it. Great minds think alike! So awesome, this post.
    8 hours ago · Unlike · 1

    I read it last night too Lilly..thanks for posting. It is perfect
    7 hours ago · Unlike · 1

    I love this.
    3 hours ago via mobile · Like ·

  9. I love this!!! Thank you. I will keep swimming!!

  10. I found your blog earlier today (12/6), and I've been reading for hours (it's now 12/7)....which is your anniversary....which I find ironic, powerful....and a sign.

    I need to do this.