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Dee’s Story (Updated)

I don’t think I will go into my whole life story at this time, but I am feeling all kinds of FREEDOM that I have not in the past. I feel like I am growing and stretching and learning; there has been a lot of internal progress, and it feels good. I am so grateful for my tenure here. I have always been welcomed here at SMART Recovery Online in the kindest and most loving way by people old and new. It really is a home base for me. My touchstone. I have had some good long lapses, but I have always stayed here at SROL. And I’ve had some darn good successes, too. I’ve been sober 8 months now. (WOOHOO! Not bad at all.) I found that even in the midst of a lot of drinking turmoil for a while there, I was still using some of the things I’ve learned here (somewhere in my crazed thinking!). I was scared to death I would have to start ALL over, and I found that was really not the case. It was much EASIER this time in many ways, and mentally and emotionally I am at such a better place. And some of what I learned was to take my own time to climb back. Sobriety is still feeling pretty fresh to me, and I’m good with keeping it that way. I don’t dwell on all my consequences. They were big, but they are done. I can look at what I can do NOW, and there are many things. The benefits of quitting rock, no matter WHAT is going on in life. The hardest part was deciding (and that was very hard indeed), but then it went really quite well. I hope that gives people some hope. I am cautious, but I feel like I have a pretty solid foundation to things under there.

During my longest run here at SMART Recovery, I felt that I built to a great deal of strength, but many life-impacting things were going on that fed a lot of anger and hatred, dread, fear and frustration and I used these to stay sober. I did okay with them, mostly (heavily tempered by attempted use of the tools), but they were there, and that’s a pretty iffy platform for sobriety. I feel like I’ve made lots of steps on all of those things. My sobriety is not based this time on panic and “I won’t drink over you, *******” or fear of terrible consequences as it was in the past. I just do not want to be a person who drinks. It makes me very unhappy. When I drink I do terrible damage to my life. When I don’t I feel much, much better.

There is still a great deal of turmoil and stress in my life for a whole armful of reasons, but I do not feel like the fate of the world lies in my hands, and I am pretty sure I will continue to cope and make PROGRESS with the various things that I want to address and that are coming up. Nothing is AWFUL. I am trying to do all that coping by looking for, noticing and embracing joy and bringing focus to my life, and I’ve found that very fruitful. I suppose this is mindfulness. I actually have not read a great deal about mindfulness, but I’ve sort of noticed myself practicing it. I really want to give space to some of the goals/values that have to do with being aware of the joy that I have access to all around me; doing things that feel truly good, like feeling sunshine on my face, noticing color and sensation or really paying attention to my children, having fun, snuggling into a soft bed. Hot water, refrigerators and electricity are all very good things, too, and I am appreciative! I am looking to explore my dreams some and really think about what I WANT in life. I went back to school (and was sober for most of it ), and I will have a master’s and about 9 months sober in early August. I’m proud of myself. I am really thinking about how I want to create my life. Trying to be open to looking at things. There are many wonderful elements already, but I want to widen my perspective a little bit. Life is short and I’ve given away a lot of years to living in despair and unhappiness and constant EFFORT just to survive it all. I plan to keep on learning to LIVE and how to savor that.

I would definitely say that SMART Recovery is a part of me. Its tools, the REBT base, the incredible people I have met here, the overall atmosphere and collective effort to offer support, share knowledge and experience, engage with compassion, openness… I have been privileged to participate in many roles here, and I am happy that I am a part of SMART Recovery too.

About drinking, I am wary (because this just makes good sense based on my knowledge of me and observations of the world), but I am really reaching for contentment, acceptance, joy, and looking at things with eyes wide open — both to maintain my awareness and ability to react helpfully, and to appreciate all the things I definitely did not notice in my hazy days. I am very grateful. Here’s to independence (raising vitamin water).

PS – Dang, you know I really do have to mention those PPPs – Practice, Patience and Persistence. I used to joke that they were just the bane of my existence, but they don’t feel quite so “awful” to me anymore, and I find I am called on to pull these out quite frequently! I am definitely getting better at them. Oh, and breathing is very important! I still do LOVE the 3 Ps gifted to me below, though.