sense of sobriety brain in hand

Sense of Sobriety

There is an incredible amount of healing in speaking your truth out loud. Without releasing the dark, heavy, and relentless thoughts that loop in our head, they have no place to go but deeper inside us. In sobriety I call this my dark place.

In active alcoholism I gathered all the pain, fear, and sadness and poured chardonnay over it. Putting down that glass meant I was forcing myself to feel. My dark place reminds me of the growing dark world in the early episodes of Stranger Things. After putting down the alcohol, the darkness stopped growing, but it didn’t go away.

The popular steps of my sobriety program helped me to clean out that dark place to make room for joy and serenity. Today I’m able to see happy endings before I even approach a challenge. I’m not perfect at it, but rather than fearing the worst and preparing for every possible tragedy, I am learning to trust in my intelligence, patience, kindness, and strength to be able to handle whatever comes, as it comes.

With increased awareness of my senses without the numbing effect of alcohol, I feel from beginning, through the middle, to the end. I am learning to pause and look back over my shoulder to say, “I just did that, and it didn’t kill me.” The more I feel from beginning to end, the more I welcome feelings and the more confident I am in my ability to handle each and every one of them.

In sobriety I have felt loss, grief, pain, anger, jealousy, sadness, depression, and fear. I have also felt joy and serenity. These last two I never felt before I let go of the false security of alcohol. There was so much pain inside me, and I was frozen with anxiety, unable to face it. I did not have a terrible childhood or any traumatic event that led me to alcoholism. I was simply sick. I was born an alcoholic.

Just as I can’t take that disease out of my body, I can’t change that part of my brain has died as the result of a stroke. I have so much pain in my head each day. At times it feels like only the things I love are the things I can no longer do. It’s when I write a blog or share a podcast episode that I release the darkness that begins to grow inside me again in stroke recovery.  I am seeking joy. Although I can’t picture my happy ending quite clearly right now, because of my experience, strength, and hope that I share using my voice, I am reminded that it is waiting for me.