Living Sober - Life Without Hangovers!
Waking up instead of “coming to!”
The sound of birds chirping is slowly pulling me into consciousness. The breeze coming through the open window is filling my room with the soothing smell of lilacs. Slowly my eyes begin to open as I stretch my arms over my head. I gaze at my surroundings and suddenly I’m filled with an overwhelming feeling of happiness. I’m awake and it’s a beautiful day.
My head isn’t throbbing. There is no feeling of impending doom creeping into my thoughts. My chest doesn’t feel like it’s about to explode from the severe panic that used to set in the moment I “came to.” I am no longer just going through the motions of life…I am living it!
Today I can look forward to waking up in the morning and deciding what I want to do. “Do I want to eat first, or should I work out?” “Maybe I’ll take a walk down to the river, or even go for a ride on the bike.” Five years ago I didn’t have the luxury of making these decisions. The moment my eyes popped open, my choices were already made for me.
You see, my body was completely dependent on alcohol, Xanax, and various other (prescribed) medications. I could not function without this toxic combination. My very first feeling, every morning, was that of panic. Therefore, my very first action of every day was to swallow a Xanax, after which I would lie still for a long period of time waiting for my nerves to calm.
Once I was able to pry myself out of bed I would immediately jump in the shower. I had to wash away the prior night. There were days when I would spend a half hour shampooing and scrubbing…anything to get that feeling off, or out, of me. But it didn’t matter how much I cleaned my body, hair or teeth…I couldn’t wash away the drunk! I was breathing, and yes, I had a pulse, but I was not alive!
Every day was gray! It didn’t matter if the sun was shining, the flowers were blooming, or the birds were singing. Rainy days were no different than warm and sunny days. They were all filled with sadness and discontent. Even though I was surrounded by people who loved me: my children, beautiful granddaughter, loving boyfriend, very patient sisters, and caring parents, I couldn't see anything good. I couldn't feel any joy. And I certainly couldn't function like a normal human being. I was missing out on life without even realizing it.
Eventually my body caved. It had had enough and couldn’t take it anymore. When I hit that brick wall there were people waiting for me. They were the kindest, most sincere, people I had met in my life. They came from all walks of life, yet they were all the same. Everyone one of them had his/her unique story to share, yet every story carried the same message.
Those people came to me from the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. In fact, the warmest hand I felt leading me to my new life, was that of my younger sister, who had walked this same path ten years prior to me. Collectively, they helped me find a life…my life! I will be forever grateful to them for giving me the ability to feel joy and contentment.
These days it doesn’t matter if the sun is shining, or if it rains all day. Every day is beautiful! I grab my own little piece of happiness from every 24 hour period that I remain sober and “Life is Good!” All of this is possible because I begin each day waking up instead of coming to!