I was bewildered, slightly stunned and lacking any kind of skills, but I began.
15 months ago I got sober and started trying to change my life for the better.
For a long time and until very recently, I felt like I was in limbo. Somedays I still do. Things were too good to be true. Some days were very difficult, sometimes I struggled immensely, but I made it through—and that in itself seemed to be somehow cheating. Sneaking success. Borrowing time. This sober, functional life just seemed too damn good to be last.
I had emerged from a lifetime of self-sabotage and I just couldn’t believe that this way of living, this existing, gratefully, from day to day, from joy to sorrow to challenge to accomplishment to joy again, was real. That it would last.
Last weekend I spent a joyous two days in the mountains of British Columbia, talking, hiking with my partner and his son, taking pictures, reading, playing cards and soaking in life away from the city. I felt something new as I hiked along behind my patient boyfriend and his chattering son, and I struggled to put a name to it.
Freedom. I felt—feel, freedom.
I was so used to f*cking things up, so regularly, that not doing so at first was actually a struggle.
Going to a dentist appointment on time seriously went against the grain for me. Not starting arguments over everything, not hunting out the pieces in my life I could light on fire and watch explode—these were challenges indeed. Bizarre? Yes— but when one becomes used to chaos, chaos is what is comfortable. Success and living calmly has been perplexing and wholly new.
Day by day, following the rules has become something I love. Who knew this chaotic, confused soul longed for schedules, for organization, for structure?
I certainly am still gloriously wild at heart—I’ll always be up for that intrepid last minute trip, the spontaneous job opportunity, the random exciting hour or day spent doing something completely new. However—I’ll probably check my schedule and make sure I’m not disrupting my son’s life, using money that should be going towards the mortgage, or negatively impacting my sobriety.
It may seem counterintuitive that living by the rules has given me freedom. The rules though, are mine—my morals and values, my truths. All of those years I lived in chaos, I was rebelling against my true heart, my genuine spirit.
When 2015 arrived, I was challenged (cheesily, some may say) to pick a word for the year, an intention, a feeling. I chose the word uncaged—because for so long, that self-sabotage kept me trapped, limited, suppressed. Depressed.
For the first time in my life, I’m not purposefully destroying my own life. I’m not, for lack of a better description, f*cking up.
And that is the most rebellious, freeing, uncaged feeling I have ever known.