Wake-up call: “You will not get to the next level unless you stop drinking.” Five years ago, I was jolted awake by a voice.
Back story: My journey to sobriety arose not in spite of my suffering, but because of it. It took twenty-plus years of being tossed around in the turbulent waters of a relentless, unhealthy ego that was suffocating what my gut knew and assuring me that my drinking problem was an illusion. This sly inner negotiator battled my sanity, energy, and power: “I don’t look like that woman at the party,” “I don’t drink every night,” “I only drink chardonnay.” (Note to old self: If you Google “What are the signs of a drinking problem?”, you probably have one!). In one sense, my ego was right; I did not have a messy bottom. I could go a week without drinking. I could get up the next morning and function (less productively, but still…). This deception eluded my personal boundaries and Truth. I knew I was crossing the line with myself and delaying the inevitable with moderation, negotiation, lies, and comparison. Perhaps the Universe finally delivered an ultimatum to awaken me to the gross misalignment and incoherence.
October 11, 2015 at 3:00 am: The voice shot through me, electrifying the marrow of my bones. Unable to return to sleep, I went down to my meditation space and sat in fear and joy as I soaked in the divine message. At 5:00 am, I emerged, declaring, “I am sober.” Sober, defined not just as the absence of alcohol, but as the allowance of a blossoming into the fullness of my wellness – a commitment to live life full-on, head-on, lights on!
Wisdom: It’s been the hardest, best decision I’ve ever made. It took enormous willpower and relaxation to reframe my old program from “sobriety is boring” to “sobriety is sexy and my super power.” It doesn’t matter what our poison is – addiction, playing small, comparing, judging, gossiping, proving ourselves, harmful self-talk – it all has the same effect on our systems. It seizes energy and precious resources that are vital for our growth, repair, and, most importantly, the courage to be blown away by our lives – to laugh, cry, dance, collapse, hold hands, help, and emerge with even more maturity, service, and joy.
Grace: The message was correct. I got to the next level. My days are no longer consumed with the cycle of “Should I drink tonight?”, “I can’t believe I did it again,” and “I won’t drink tonight.” Instead, I meet most mornings with tears rolling down my cheeks for the opportunity to feel the magnificence of life and live an even more beautiful version of myself.