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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8 Responses to “That’s Where the Light Gets In”

  1. ainsobriety May 9, 2017 at 6:05 pm #

    The light is always brighter when you have known the dark.
    I still am grateful that I had a breakdown…that alcohol became my problem and that I changed.
    It is where I let the real me out.

    Big hug. It’s hard to have downs. They truly suck. Keep writing. We love you.

    Anne

    • FitFatFood May 10, 2017 at 1:33 pm #

      Thank you Anne. I love that line “it’s where I let the real me out” 💖

  2. lucy2610 May 9, 2017 at 6:27 pm #

    Hello lovely – so good to read your words 🙂 You know where I am if your flame needs shelter xx

  3. carrieonsober May 9, 2017 at 9:29 pm #

    Good to hear from you and so wonderfully written as always. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been in a dark place it’s just not fair, but glad you’ve drawn from your experience and looked after yourself. You’ve got a great recovery community both in AA and here who will always be happy to support you when you need it. Glad you’re coming out the other side you are stronger than you know. I think your honestly about the ups and downs is vital and helps so many who might feel there not getting it right when it’s not pink clouds all round. Keep being honest and brave it’s so good to hear!
    Always here and free for coffee if/when you fancy it?
    C xx

    • FitFatFood May 10, 2017 at 1:34 pm #

      I was thinking of you just before I wrote this Carrie. So much has changed since those first desperate meetings we had, but I’ve got a long way to go. Proud of the journey so far and grateful as ever to my sober friends x x x x x x x

  4. tiredoftreadingwater May 11, 2017 at 12:24 pm #

    I’ve noticed that people sharing the low and difficult stuff definitely has the power to help and inspire others. If we only shared the good stuff then newly sober readers might think, ‘I’m doing it wrong, why aren’t I getting the pink cloud?!’. Real and honest sharing is what inspires me, whatever it’s about, so thank you for doing just that. I hope you feel well asap. Hugs and strength to you 🙂

    • FitFatFood May 11, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

      Ahh, I’m so glad you said that. That’s really helpful to hear. Thank you.

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