Just last night I dreamt that I “gave in” and had some sort of whiskey and coke cocktail. Whenever I start drinking in my dreams, I feel disappointed in myself but a little relieved. I no longer have to keep up this charade! But inevitably panic creeps in as I imagine all the bits of my life that are about to get real wobbly.
I still haven’t reached the point of feeling like I can “take it or leave it.” I know it will be ok to drink again when I feel confident I can have one or two and then stop. But I don’t feel like that at all. When I get my hands on something that feels good, I ride that shit til the wheels fall off.
I know what it’s like to not need anything outside of me to feel good. It usually involves a lot of conditions: a very healthy diet, a lot of exercise, consistent good choices. Bedtimes and meditating and eating vegan. Usually when I’m on a health/weightloss kick, I don’t crave much outside of me. I become my reason for feeling good. That’s been the sober goal all along: TO BE MY REASON FOR FEELING GOOD.
There is a power that comes with denying myself what I crave. Every time I crave alcohol and don’t drink it, I gain another ounce of strength and lifelong skill. I gotta remember to apply this idea to all the other “addiction-transference” things in my life. I still have my vices and still get caught up in thinking that plant or that piece of cheese is going to make me feel better. But it is the denial of those things that makes me feel good in the long term. I’m not talking about being an ascetic and forgoing all pleasures of the flesh—just the ones that come with a lot of craving and guilt.
Every time I crave something outside of me to make me feel good, I have two choices: consume the thing, or find another way to feel good (which usually involves some sort of physical, mental, emotional or spiritual work). Every time I consume the thing, I give that thing power over me. Every time I skip the thing, I feel powerful. Doing the work instead of avoiding it builds muscles, obviously.
So on this three year anniversary of quitting alcohol, I am feeling powerful, but not powerful enough. I am struggling with not being sober enough. Not being thin enough. Not being focused enough. Not working hard enough. Not being good enough.
Sobriety is like when you have a big idea that you want to execute, but once you start you see the endless work that lies ahead of you. It’s easy to keep putting it off, knowing in your head that you can do it, but never actually starting. Three years into alcohol-free life, all I can see is how far I still have to go (to love myself, I hear my mind whisper).
I still feel so imperfect, but today’s work is clear: to keep practicing loving myself (unconditionally!) and feeling like enough. To feel like I’m loving myself enough. I’m doing well enough. I feel good enough. I work out enough. I socialize enough. I am enough. I am doing enough. I am being good enough. I love myself and that’s enough.
I really want to appreciate how far I’ve come—the money I’ve saved. The relationships I’ve maintained. The health I’ve gained. The moves I’ve made. I am in shock at how broke I used to be and how scared to face my problems I was. Facing my problems is truly easier than ever. (In the words of 2 Chainz, “I wore a smile to court.”)
Just gotta keep going down this self love path, meditating, creating, making music, laughing. Life is so good sober. I am learning to feel like I am enough. I am learning to love myself more than ever before, and without so many conditions. The true magick of sober awareness has only just begun.