Sunday, March 24, 2013

Old Journals

This has been an emotional weekend. I searched out and found old journals that are mostly about wanting to quit drinking, and a bad relationship I stayed in for seven years. There are a lot of lists, and a lot of wishes. Loads of inspiration. And trying. Many drunk poems about broken hearts. Some are quite cringe-worthy. I had to laugh when I read the title I wanted to give my story: "Must Be Thirty". (Perhaps I'll need to change that to: "Must Be Forty (almost two)".) Ahem.

It's strange and kind of cool to read things I wrote almost thirteen years ago. It made me realize how long it has taken me to get to where I am, right now. How many years went into wishing for sobriety, wishing for freedom from myself. I wanted the right things, I just never could get up the nerve to get them. And when I say I wished for sobriety, I really really did. Every day. I think the only time I wasn't wishing for sobriety was when I was wishing for another drink.

God. Thinking about the years of sadness. The time I spent drowning myself. Not finding the right people to build me up, but searching out the ones who made me that much worse. There's nothing worse for a people pleaser than people who can't be pleased. I read these and remember how much I gave, and gave. How I let people take, and take. How I drank to soothe myself, to forget how awful my life really was. How I lied to myself every single day. How I never cared enough to take my own hand and lead myself out. How I could write about how I wanted to, but it was probably when I was drunk or regretful. The bursts of normalcy: taking walks, drinking tea, reading before bed. How proud I was of those things. Even then I could tell that sobriety was right for me. It's too bad I couldn't keep my promises.

And then, look.

Ten years later. Still writing about the same old things. Talk about denial. Or just plain stupidity. OK, OK. I'm not being mean to myself here, well, not overly. But really? And it still took me two more years to actually give sober a solid go. To LET GO and be brave. Yes, it really was about time.

I am humbled by the years I spent waiting for myself to catch up. How even though I was miserable I kept on going. How it could have been so much worse. And if I kept going all those years when life was heavy and terrible then I can certainly be strong enough to stay the course, to feel the joy and the relief.

I've been practicing for sobriety forever. This is why I am fine in it. Why I feel so right in it. Why it doesn't scare me to say things like "never drink again". Why saying "never drink again" actually makes me want to sing out loud and say things like "thank you jesus" with my hands waving about above my head. Why I can accept the fact that I cannot drink with grace and gratitude. My blog is sober me. These journals reminded me of who I used to be. But really, those two people aren't very different. All they wanted to do was be sober. And that was worth waiting for.


  1. my journals said the same things... I guess I, too, was practicing for sobriety. Never thought of it that way, but i was putting the idea into my subconscious that one day I would have a different relationship with alcohol. And look! We're here! you and me both :)

    1. Sometimes when you wish for something so much it's best to just go ahead and do it. :) And it's so nice to have a friend along.

  2. Love this post! I have a God box that someone gave to me years ago, it got lost somewhere between moves over the years, so I thought. But on day there it was! And inside million little notes to God - please help me stop, I need help, help me, I don't want to drink anymore... And on and on. I don't remember writing them, but I know this is how I felt for years! Long journey, but I am glad we made it!

  3. Amy, this is lovely!

  4. This is my favourite post so far, hands down.

    I could have easily written this...with the people pleasing failures, with the wishing for freedom from myself, the lying to myself, the not taking myself out of it, etc. Exactly the things I went through. So well written and expressed. Wonderful.

    And yeah, old journals. I have journals from when I first got sober. It's funny reading the now, considering the growth since then, but there was pain in there many fears, resentments, etc. that filled those pages. I still look at them now and then, as a reminder of where I have come.

    ``I've been practicing for sobriety forever. This is why I am fine in it. Why I feel so right in it.`' I am stealing this one ;) But wow, so well done, my friend.


    1. One reason I stopped writing was because all I ever wrote about was wanting to stop drinking. Stop smoking. How boring it got page after page.

      It's so nice to write again. Another awesome thing about being sober.

      Thank you for all of your kind words and support Paul. :)

      And...cheers! :)

  5. Hi Amy
    Wow, those are hard hitting reminders of how awfully desperate things used to be for you.
    Incredible that we can want something so badly and have it within our reach, but not take it. I too wanted to stop drinking as much as six years ago, but just decided not to do it. Now if I could only apply that same determination to not having booze when I really, really miss it, I wouldn't have anything to worry about!
    I am strong, stubborn and willfull. I am doing this! And so are you, expertly so, I'd say.
    Go Amy!
    C x