Archive | May, 2017

Full Moon Vibes

11 May

Last night, I found myself lying in an industrial estate-turned wellness studio in a trendy part of town, swaddled in blankets and clutching a crystal. ‘Ask the crystal its name’ invited the impossibly beautiful ‘modern Shaman’ leading the ceremony. I had to stifle a tut/snort hybrid, but before long, I was tuning into the ‘vibrations’ of the crystal and entering a deep meditation under the light of the full moon.

One of the unexpected and glorious side effects of stopping drinking is that it’s opened me up to a whole new world of crazy ways to anchor my sobriety. If you’d said to me 12 months ago I’d be stuffing crystals in my bra and keeping them by my bedside, I’d think you were mad. But somewhere in the last 12 months, my sober interests have become a bit more openminded and frankly more ‘out there’ than I’d previously ever have imagined. I reserve a large dose of skepticism for many of these hippy tools, as I’m yet to see any scientific evidence of the benefits of crystals or sage smudging or any of the other new practices I’ve become open to, but in these new rituals, I find an incredible sense of connection and comfort. When drinking, the blurred lines of reality, the pain, the anguish and numbness all contributed to me being completely out of tune with my body and mind. I remember saying to friends over and over, ‘I can’t trust myself’ and ‘I don’t know what I think and feel.’ My intuition was literally and metaphorically buried. But in sobriety, my intuition has become a really finely honed instrument. I can trust my gut, I can tune into it, and I’m constantly seeking out ways to try and know it more intimately. It started with meetings and meditation, and has progressed to more… ‘experimental’ types of self exploration.

The first time I held a crystal, I felt a sense of deep connection to the earth. I weighed it in my hand and felt a vibration so subtle it was almost intangible, but I felt something there. In the early days, sobriety was about grounding into myself, learning to sit with my emotions, the feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach and my swirling head. As I progress through sobriety, a fierce desire has developed in me to give myself the space to ground myself to the earth, to the community around me and to the natural rhythms of life. Sitting last night in the crystal/full moon ritual, I caught myself laughing at what a privileged, slightly ridiculous act it was to spend £30 on an evening like this, but I came out with a sense of connection and clarity I haven’t had in months.

As we lay, swaddled, we explored the unique qualities of the smoky quartz stone we held in our hands. Mine had a beautiful layer of white crystal, surrounded by the depths of dark shades. The stone felt like a beautiful metaphor for my current experiences of sobriety: the light and the dark can exist simultaneously, and I don’t need to try and stamp out the dark within, for it has a beautiful quality in itself. My darker side, which once manifested itself in alcoholism, will always exist, and is also the origin of some of my better qualities: my sensitivity, my deep well of emotion and my capacity for self-reflection. The dark and the light exist simultaneously, side by side, and that is ok.

Last night I remembered an important lesson: sobriety is about finding my soul’s medicine, over and over again, daily. And when I neglect to administer that medicine, I find myself in the deep anguish I’ve been experiencing of late. I used to resent the fact that sobriety is a constant work in progress, but I’m starting to open myself up to the notion that it’s an opportunity for never ending discovery.

Happy Thursday x

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That’s Where the Light Gets In

9 May

Once again, I’ve taken my foot off the gas when it comes to writing. I’ve had several aborted attempts to write a post, generally in the depths of some sort of desperation, and have chosen not to put pen to paper, because I feel strongly I shouldn’t only document the lows of sobriety, lest I put off someone new to sobriety with my tales of woe. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t document anything AT ALL… Tsk.

I’ve been through a particularly challenging period of sobriety, and indeed life, which has brought me dangerously close to a breakdown. I have barely been able get myself up in the morning. My soul is crying out for a sweet balm to soothe it. I have had extreme physical symptoms, which have forced me to stop entirely. No work, no socialising, no running or dancing or yoga, just wrapping myself up in my sober cocoon once more.

When I was in very early sobriety, I likened my sobriety to a precious little flame, the kind that you have to carefully kindle, and then cover with the palms of the hands, so it doesn’t flicker and fade. I put my heart and my soul into keeping that little flame safe, and it grew and it grew until it became a roaring fire of safe sobriety and I could let it burn brightly. There have been glorious times. I have danced, I have fallen madly in love, I have trebled my income since my first post as FFF, I have travelled to the corners of the earth, bought a home and climbed mountains of both the literal and metaphorical variety.

Freshly emerged from the depths of addiction, I ran around with a lust for life that brought me some of the best moments of my life. But during that excited frenzy, my recovery rituals have faltered, and there’s been a slow erosion of the pillars of my sobriety. As an alcoholic and a Highly Sensitive Person (a whole other post in itself), I have needed to slow down for a long time, and Life has intervened to make that happen.

It’s triggered a period of inertia which I perceived at first as intensely frustrating, but day by day I have inched towards reframing that anger: this is a necessary regathering of my sobriety, my health and my soul. It’s been agonising, but I’m slowly starting to move out of the dark and into the light, feeling my balance being restored, and my energy slowly coming back. The sober flame is being rekindled.

I’ve been using this wonderful quote which is attributed, in different forms, to everyone from Rumi to Ernest Hemingway, but my favourite configuration of this idea is from the late, loved Leonard Cohen:

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In early sobriety, I remember sitting in a basement in London’s Covent Garden declaring: ‘I’m so grateful I’m an alcoholic! It’s brought me so much joy in the discovery of the sober community.’ That is sickeningly Pink-cloudtastic, but I like to recall that moment in tough times, because it felt absolutely true. And continues to feel that way. Through the cracks, shards of light with the most exquisite and curious qualities filter. The hardship has been necessary. I’ve been devouring inspirational memoirs ever since I put down the Merlot, and never has a wonderful story begun from a point of stability. Stories begin from a point of desperation, or lack and a journey towards fulfilment. I’m walking that path every day, and want to document it more. To feel it more, and not just let the agonising thoughts rumble around in my head. They feel better on paper, they feel better shared in Another-F**king-Church-Basement, better in a comment on an Instagram post of a fellow sober young thing.

 

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