The week I turn 35, I also celebrate four months of sobriety. People ask me why I stopped drinking and I have a slew of typical answers from health to finances, but it really boils down to one thing: feelings.
I loved him. I still do. But he never did. Not in the same way. It's an all too common story. Finally, after months of pulling back, he ended it with a phone call.
I was sad.
I didn't like feeling sad so I drank the sad away. It worked for a little bit. Then it stopped. So I drank more. That worked for a little bit more. Then it stopped. So I drank even more. Latter. Rinse. Repeat.
Then, on New Year's Eve, I heard news I didn't want to hear, the floodgates opened, and everything I had been drinking and avoided feeling came roaring back up to the surface.
While I celebrated the New Year on my bathroom floor, I felt an odd sense of relief at this purge.
I realized I had been drinking in order to uphold all the lies I had been living. So I made myself a promise that I wouldn't do it for a whole year, just to see what would happen. A year felt like a really long time so I thought I would try it for a month. That also seemed hard so remembering what I knew from a show I did about AA, I took it one day at a time.
It's not always easy. Some days are harder than others. But here I am, four months later, well on my way to a year.
I get asked all the time if I feel better. For the first three months, I didn't really notice anything different. Of course, you never see the forest for the trees.
It's unfair to pin this all on him. It's not his fault. He is living his humanity the best way he knows how. But his presence, his actions, were a catalyst that opened up some deep rooted issues that I am now able to clean up. For that, I am grateful.
My focus has changed. I'm more creative. I write more. I love my acting classes.
I deal with feelings better now. I look at my life without the mask of alcohol. I'm finding out who I am instead of pretending to be someone I'm not in the hopes it's what he might want.
It's not. I'm not what he wants and I'm slowly learning to be ok with that.
Because I want me. And that's all that really matters.