Defined by sobriety
Updated: Sep 1, 2021
I listened to a podcast this morning, "Getting Your Sh*t Together," and Cynthia talked about whether or not you should allow yourself to be defined be your recovery. Do you want people to only think of you for this? Down the road, do you want to be remembered for your sobriety and that alone? Is that the story you want to tell?
I believe that if you are being your most authentic self and doing what makes you happy, then you will hopefully find joy in being you, and to me that is good enough. If sobriety is bringing you joy, then nothing else matters. Ultimately, this question comes down to worrying about what others think of you, anyway, and that is something I have come to realize is no way to live.
It is not about me. It is about the other person. Letting go of that worry is hard though. It is a work in progress for me. I need to show some compassion towards myself for this. And for the other person as well. We are pack minded people though. As human beings, we want to be included. We want to be part of the group, and it is hard sometimes to separate ourselves and feel like we are going against the grain, to feel judged, to feel like we are defining ourselves in a way that may not be accepted by the masses.
But for anyone - whether it is quitting alcohol or maybe you just quit your job to pursue a new passion. Perhaps you want out of a marriage that isn't fulfilling anymore. Any of these things that are holding you back from experiencing joy in life, you must let go in search of living a more mindful, gracious life. As hard as it is, worrying about the reaction of others is connected to a fear of being left behind, left out of the pack - and this is what will ultimately destroy us. I have come to learn that one must find contentment within. It took a very long time for me to be able to look myself in the mirror, let go and find that freedom.
I have spent the majority of my life making sure I was always doing the right thing in the eyes of others. Behaving the right way. Taking on a certain role. Doing what was expected of me by my parents as a child. Fitting in with friends. Tread lightly. Don't make others feel uncomfortable. Fit the mold. Don't look bad. Blend in with the crowd.
I realized that I was holding onto so much hurt. Balancing so many balls in the air. So much anxiety and discomfort, trying to do what was right in order to make others feel comfortable. In order to be part of the pack. I used alcohol to manage anxiety, to help me feel more comfortable around others, to conform. I was always concerned with how I was perceived by the group. Little did I know that the alcohol was slowly destroying me as was this worry.
It feels like such a relief to be free from all of this and to be living a more authentic life. It is still a work in progress. I am not perfect. So, ultimately, I don't mind if I am defined by my sobriety, because I am working everyday on not allowing myself to be concerned anymore with how I am perceived by others. It is slowly becoming something that I don't allow myself to feel anymore. Because, I have found happiness in me.
I am working on living a more mindful, present life. But this is ongoing. I am learning everyday. And not everyday is perfect by any means. But I am learning to find joy in the day to day. Forgiving myself for the past mistakes I have made. Living each day with present curiosity. I search for gratitude in the good moments, and try to give grace for the bad ones. I am working on practicing compassion for myself and others. I am working on making peace with my imperfections. I am embracing my vulnerability. Above all else, I am working on accepting and appreciating that things come and go. And this is what sobriety has given me. A knew perspective on living.
And if people think of me only as the sober girl and that is how I have been defined by them, then that is on them. And it has more to do with their own way of living and nothing to do with me. Because, I am me, and I am free.