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The Right Question

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Okay, if you don’t know the brilliant mama warrior writer, Laura McKowen, look her up right away. You can find her blog here (her writing is just amazing) and you can also follow her on Instagram for daily truths. Anyway, today I saw words she had posted on her blog awhile ago, but they hit me particularly hard today. These are them:

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Mind blown right? This is it people. This is why I always come back to sobriety eventually. Because it is everything. Because it is where I find my freedom. Because it hits me at the core and allows me to live a truer, better life. I forget, though. I forget sometimes why I choose sobriety. It’s not about a day count for me or going to meetings. It’s not about counting chips or even talking to other sober women daily. For me, right now, it’s about this: I am freer without alcohol. What?!

I. Am. Freer. Without. Alcohol.

I have never said those words out loud or on the page. I’ve written right around them, spoke through them, handed them off as someone else’s truths not mine. But, today. Man. There’s a fire in my chest and a smile on my face. I want to scream it from the rooftop: I am freer without it. I stopped drinking 16 days ago not because I needed to, not because I drank that much, not because someone told me to. I stopped drinking because every day I’m choosing to be free. That’s it. That’s everything. It’s so big, but seemingly so small. It’s one action that changes the whole game.

Imagine if you could grant yourself freedom, but the only thing you had to do was deny yourself the thing that gave you the most comfort. Would you do it? Would it be worth it to live a freer clearer life, but be uncomfortable? I know it is for me. I was tempted to write “I think” but this I know in this moment: it all gets better when I pass on booze. All of it.

I feel like I just had to tempt myself a bit, dangle the metaphorical carrot in front of my nose: this is my life on alcohol and this is it without it. I had to react to certain things. I had to go through loss like no other. I had to consider suicide and have an eating disorder and make poor choices about who I slept with. I had to cry it out and write it out and art it out. There was no other way, but through. I looked. Trust me.

I used to read my writing to my old therapist and she would always tell me it sounded like I was hiding something. Even though I didn’t think I was and she knew I was striving for the truth, I was missing the mark because I couldn’t admit the one truest truth: I wasn’t free and that was killing me. I do not use that phrase lightly. Literally. I was depressed, I was hurting, I wasn’t taking care of myself or even showing sometimes. I couldn’t handle life and I wanted to give up. I didn’t realize that freedom for me came with admitting I had to take alcohol out of the equation.

I just spent the afternoon doing all the things I love to do: thrifting, reading, eating a burger, and visiting my local crystal shop for stones to gift to some true heroes in my life. I didn’t wake up feeling any particular way. I don’t feel years older or wiser. I look exactly like I did yesterday. The only thing that changed for me in the last hour or so was my mindset. Was rereading Laura’s words and suddenly, breathtakingly realizing how they were my truth too.

Past recovery, for me, has looked like taking advice from the peanut gallery. Well what do you think I should do? I ask pleadingly to all the sober women I know. I say yes to everything because I fear saying no might hurt me. I put myself in a lot of uncomfortable situations because I was told to ride it out. Guess what? That didn’t work for me. And I’m okay with that. It’s okay. I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m not too much or too little. I’m just trying to figure things out.

Today, I vow to stop feeling sorry for myself. Take actions instead of reactions. Stop apologizing if I don’t need to (usually I don’t need to). Put value in waking up every morning and going to sleep every night in a safe, clean home. Be grateful for my words and the words of others. Use this platform for good, for change, and for trusting my worth here.

I know, for me, it’s worth it. And that’s knowledge is monumental.

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