I’ve been sober for exactly 45 days now and a lot has changed:
- My marital status
- My home
- My approach to Alcoholics Anonymous
- My attitude towards recovery time
- My thoughts on being on benefits
- My therapist
- My understanding of my financial situation
- My views on work
…leaving me in largely unfamiliar territory, which is fucking scary.
Other than my marital status and by association my home, these changes are – I believe – all positive.
(Separating from Mrs. M and moving is also positive in that it gives me the space to focus on myself, and my recovery. But it hurts like hell.)
So now that I have the basic necessary supports in place to recover, what the hell do I do?
There are no roadmaps for recovery; my journey is mine alone to take. I must draw chart my own course, blaze my own trail, <insert your favourite journey-related metaphor here>.
Folks, I don’t cook unless I’m following a recipe that has been highly rated by at least five people. I read the manual of every gadget I buy. IKEA rewards my ability to follow directions with a new piece of furniture.
Unfamiliar territory + no map = freaking out.
Naturally, I have retreated to a café where I can sit outside, chain smoke and try to summon the courage to figure this shit out.
Really, what I’m doing is pressing pause on taking the next steps for as long as I possibly can.
On a purely logical level, I know I must press forward. I know that it’s okay to veer off course. I know I can’t sit here forever. I know that the couple who is annoyingly using their phone on speaker at a really loud volume is going to annoy the shit out of me really quickly and I will be forced to leave my little sanctuary before I smash both their phone and their faces.
(I now also know I shouldn’t have had a second coffee. My bad.)
I also know I am letting my emotions, specifically fear, paralyse me.
Oh, lightbulb moment!
That is something that needs to change. Fear has had me by the short and curlies (thank my Granny for that one) for far too long.
Fear has kept me in a miserable job, fear has kept me from throwing birthday parties for myself, fear stopped me from asking for help sooner, from going to the gym, from pursuing activities I’m interested in…and from making my damn dinner from scratch.
Basically, fear has kept me from being happy.
This makes me very unhappy.
I’d love to say I’m now going to go out and kick fear in the ass, but realistically that’s not going to happen.
But what I will do is keep moving: I will take myself out of this café and away from the annoying phone couple. I will find another quiet spot and map out what I want to achieve in recovery.
That’s as good a place to start as any, I reckon (and I largely don’t ‘reckon’ very often which makes this more profound, somehow).
I won’t be able to draw myself the whole map, but I’ll at least have an idea of where I should head next. A general direction. Something.
This is a road trip! A recovery road trip! Road trips are great because although you generally know where it is you want to end up, you have no idea what scenic detours you might take and half the fun is getting lost and ending up somewhere totally random.
I no longer regret the second caffeinated beverage. I can do a road trip. I know where I am, I can easily imagine where I’d like to end up and the fun will be the unexpected sights along the way.
(I may not be kicking fear in the ass, but I’d like to think I just gave it a good slap In the face.)
I knew those ‘journey’ metaphors were going to come in handy.