June 30: Getting to Know Yourself in Sobriety

Today, I am amazed to be celebrating the 28th Anniversary of my last drink. I didn’t believe I’d live that long, much less be sober that long, when I came back to AA in 1996. I am not the same person that I was the day I arrived in AA. That danna was insecure, afraid, hurt, and basically broken. Years of drinking had robbed me of the person I was before I picked up my first drink.

I carried every hurt and every disappointment with me everywhere. I seemed to always be disappointed. My many failures at trying to stop drinking left me hopeless that AA could help me. It was only my desperation to stop living in a bottle that kept me in AA for several years. Most of all, I did not like the person I had become. I hated myself. In truth, I didn’t know who I was anymore. All I could relate to was that hard-drinking angry middle-aged woman. That old man in Virginia told me not to make big decisions in my first few years because I didn’t know who I was making them for. He was right.

In sobriety, I’ve been on a journey of discovery. I’ve been discovering who I really am. Working the Steps with a sponsor has been a big part of that journey, particularly Steps 4 and 5. Every time I’ve done the Steps, I’ve learned more about what makes me tick – what hits my emotional buttons, what I enjoy as a sober woman, and how I relate to the God of my misunderstanding. Having the other fatal disease of depression, I’ve also learned a lot about how my thoughts and feelings are intertwined and how they drive each other.

I’ve learned other important lessons, too. Like how it’s okay to be a human being and to make mistakes – that good is good enough. I’ve learned that my feelings are a part of me, and they’re normal. Everyone has them, and I don’t have to feel ashamed of them or change them. I’ve learned that keeping my thought in the moment is the best way to stay sober and serene. I’ve learned that all people have flaws and short-comings, and I am just like everyone else – with no right to judge others. I’ve learned that no one is out to get me – that my interpretation of other people’s motives is usually projection, not insight.

There’s no end to the things I’ve learned about me since I’ve been sober, and the learning continues. Most recently, I learned that feeling vulnerable can be a good thing – that I don’t have to protect my ego. All I have to do is be who I am and that what others think of me is none of my business. In fact, what *I* think of me is none of my business either. When I’m trying to protect my feelings, I’m building barriers between me and the world. All I need to do today is take one day at a time, do the next right thing, and let go of results.The good news the changes that have come as a result of what I’ve learned about myself have made like and accept myself.That’s worlds away from the woman who walked back into the rooms 28 years ago.

No matter how long it’s been since you had your last drink, I’m sure you have learned something about yourself that you forgot while you were drinking. Please share with us about your journey to re-discover who you are in sobriety. Or please share with us anything that you need to share today.