The Recovery Writer

Championing Diversity Empowering Recovery And Inspiring change

Category: Addiction and recovery

The Freedom And Happiness Of A Sober Life

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2. We Are Going To Know a New Freedom and a New Happiness

Today, I celebrate eight years sober and clean. It still amazes me that it has been that long. I remember, in my first few Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, feeling a rising panic at the thought of a day without alcohol, never mind eight years. I also remember being scared of what my life would become, thinking that a life without alcohol would be dull.

This memory makes me smile now, for two reasons. The first reason is that my life back then was already dull. I was a physical and mental wreck, spending my days smoking weed, knocking back lager, and obsessing about running short of either of the two. Hardly a fulfilling life but rather a painful and depressing one. The second is because my life in sobriety is anything but dull. In these last eight years, I have explored and experienced more of myself and my life than I had in the 37 years previous.

Alcoholism is a cunning jailer; it convinced me that life outside its walls would be a life not worth living. It was not until I began to escape its clutches that I realized how captive I had been. The freedom I feel, in every aspect of my life, is the cornerstone of my happiness.

I am at such an exciting place in my life right now. Lots of things are coming to fruition all at once. I am at the end of the medical part of my gender transition. I have made sense of my sexuality and am in a committed relationship with a gorgeous man. I am at the start of launching a freelance writing career, and I have just had my first piece published. I have recently enrolled in my final module with the Open University, and this time next year I will be the proud owner of a degree. I have also been doing some media work with the Open University, as a student ambassador.

All of these things are anything but dull and only possible because I am sober. There is no way the drunk me could have had the enthusiasm or the ability to set up a small business, and  I would most certainly not have been asked to be an ambassador!

Recovery has given me the freedom to be me. It has given the freedom to pursue my dreams and the freedom to forgive myself and allow myself to love and be loved. The new happiness which comes from this freedom takes my breath away every single day. I am free now, one day at a time to live the exciting life that alcoholism hid from me for so many years.

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The Rewards Of Committing To Recovery From Addiction

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1. If We Are Painstaking About This Phase In Our Development, We Will Be Amazed Before We Are Halfway Through

I wandered over to the beach this afternoon while waiting for my washing to finish its cycle in the launderette. The seafront in Eastbourne has seen me in many physical and mental states, drunk, stoned, lost, depressed and suicidal. Most recently though, it has seen me walking hand in hand with my new partner. Two men with faces fixed in matching ear to ear grins, glowing from the warm high of that new relationship buzz.

Once again, I am having one of those beautiful periods of time where I am overwhelmed with awe and gratitude for the life I have today. I look at this picture, which I shared for #transformationtuesday and I remember the pain I was in. I could never have imagined the life I have today. Which is different in every way possible, mostly thanks to the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.

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I remember sitting in my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and hearing, ‘The Promises’ read out.

“If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through…”

I am 7 years sober, I feel I have areas in my life that still need work. My gender transition and my career for example. My life isn’t perfect, I live hand to mouth, and my Mum is slowly and painfully being stolen from us by vascular dementia. However, despite these things, I have a wonderful life in which I am content and proud. I am not even halfway through, and yes, I am more than amazed.

In these seven years, I have discovered the man I am and stepped forward into that identity with clarity and grace. I have unashamedly embraced living an honest life, even when that honesty meant facing difficult facts about myself. Where once I would run from emotions, using alcohol to numb their razor-sharp edges, I now lay myself bare to even the most painful of emotions.

I have done this because every time I face something rather than run, I am rewarded with a new phase of development. A growth in self-knowledge, a deeper level of self-awareness, and an even more profound sense of contentment and faith in life’s process of unfolding.

Facing my doubts about my sexuality, and my fears about relationships have been a long and confusing road. I am now being rewarded with the arrival of a handsome man in my life who brings me so much joy. Alongside that, being with him has given me even greater confidence in my gender identity and a much deeper understanding of my sexual attraction.

To think I once feared change, and now I welcome it, even when those changes are the least expected. In fact, those changes are the best.

 

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