Emotional sobriety was by the far the hardest for me to manage. I had already surrendered to the drink and the drug. By the graces of my god I never struggled with accepting I was an alcoholic or a drug addict, I realized that years ago. I just did not know how to stay sober. I had come to a crossroads, either choose life or choose death. Either choose to be the mother my son needed or lose him. I was stripped down to bare bones, everything inside of me, what consisted of me as a woman, was dead. I was exhausted and tormented and on November 29, 2013 I had surrendered to my ultimate power.
When I got sober I was a thirty two year old woman who had the mentality of a fifteen year old girl. I cried, I screamed, I was angry and I was fed up. My eyes opened to the world and all the people in it, and I was terrified. I was filled with anxiety and self pity. I would have panic attacks and some days I just wanted to hide. I wanted to hide under my covers like I did as a little girl who would refuse to go to school. But I could not, I was a mother, I was an employee, I was a girlfriend, and everyday I chose to pick myself up off that floor and continue on. I love the saying “stop, breath, cry if you must.” Fall apart if you need, hide in your room and scream, listen to music and cry, do not suffocate in your emotions, feel them, express them, and please be patient with yourself.
Our emotions while in active addiction more than likely consisted of drowning it, shoving it down, doing whatever we could to not feel it. We had mastered that. Now how do we unlearn what we had learned through those tormenting years addiction. How do grown men and women relearn life? It is quite simple, go to an AA meeting a learn from others. You will learn how others have dealt with death, the loss of a job, financial ruin, divorce or loss of relationships whether it be family or friends. It is all possible. If you have felt it, someone else has also. Speak up at a meeting and I am sure at the end of that meeting someone will approach you on how they handled it. Listen and learn.
Additionally, and against my belief at that time, I chose to find a higher power. It was the same higher power I exiled from my life years ago. The same higher power I would scream at in disgust, the same higher power I would bang my fists on the ground in brutal anger asking why I was given this life. Like a rebellious teenager I would get on my knees every night and pray. I started small, I would thank my higher power for keeping my thoughts on alcoholism sane. For giving me the opportunity to chose a different life. I would thank him for the day and express my gratitude. I kept it simple.
Today, I have a different attitude towards my higher power. The gratitude I feel for him oozes out of my body. I, at times, feel so emotional about what was given to me I shed a tear or two. The same tears I shed for myself in self pity are now replaced with the tears of love and appreciation.
You will be flooded with emotions. You will feel anger, pain, sadness and grief. Please continue on. They will get easier over time. Give yourself time, seek a sober group of people, talk to them, open up, do not be afraid. If you need additional help, find a therapist. All of these additions to your life will help you become the person you have always wanted to be. Just please, do not seek the alternative. Nothing good has ever come from that. Once you realize that your way no longer works, you will be on your way.
Find your tribe, find hobbies, find things that fill your soul, that give you a sense of accomplishment. Go to meetings, find a higher power, feel your emotions, do not run from them. Do all of these things and you will be on your road to happy destiny. I promise you this. Trust me, trust what works.