June 17, 2023 by Molly Patrick
I thought this was a harsh response
I’ve been on the couch sick with COVID all week. I had to reschedule my trip to visit my sister, Kirstie, who is battling cancer and I haven’t been able to do much apart from question life and wonder what it’s all about. Oh, the joys of being too sick for distraction. I tried to binge-watch something, but even that didn’t feel good. So I let go and just allowed myself to feel like crap.
On Wednesday, surrounded by cough drops, tissues, and tea, I celebrated eight years of being alcohol and cigarette-free. I thought about the past eight years and how quitting drinking (and smoking) has greatly impacted my life. I vividly remember thinking I would never be able to quit. I couldn’t imagine life without either of those things.
When I was still drinking, I followed a woman on Facebook who had a blog about being sober. I subscribed to her emails because I was fascinated by people who had successfully put down the bottle.
I remember reading books about being sober when I was so drunk I had to cover one eye with my hand to stop from seeing double. Then, I would pass out, wondering what magical place people who quit got their bravery and courage from. I desperately wanted to find out and desperately did not.
One morning, when I was particularly hungover, I received an email from the fascinating sober woman. After I read it, I was inspired to reply and reach out. This was the first time I allowed thoughts and fears about my drinking to escape my brain and find another human. As soon as I sent the email, I was flooded with regret.
A few days later, she responded.
Yup, sounds like you are caught in the cycle of addiction.
Best of luck... It’s a hard one to get out of.
I closed my computer, poured myself a
glass bottle of wine, and went on the porch to smoke a few pack of cigarettes.
I didn’t know what response I was expecting, but I wasn’t happy with the one I got. I thought it was unsupportive, unkind, and harsh. But after many years, I’ve changed my mind. Her response wasn’t any of those things. It was the truth. I just wasn’t ready to hear it.
I wanted someone to soften the blow, to take my hand, to tell me I was okay, to make it easier for me. I wanted a soft place to land, a protective cushion. But that’s not how getting sober works.
Other people might be able to inspire you, but another human can’t make it easier for you. They can’t do the work for you, and they especially can’t feel your feelings for you. All they can do is say good luck, this is fucking hard.
The rest is up to us.
There was nothing that woman could have said to make it easier for me to get sober. I had to face my fears, call on whatever morsel of courage I had, and put one foot in front of the next. Minute after minute. Day after day. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from putting one foot in front of the next for the past eight years, it’s this:
It is up to YOU to change your life because no one else can do it for you.
Have a beautiful weekend, my friend. May you face your fears and call on your courage.
If you want to read more, here are six things I did to help myself get and stay sober.
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Written by ex-boozer and ex-smoker, Molly Patrick that will help you eat more plants while throwing perfection down the garbage disposal.
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