Balancing Life and Sobriety

One of the things in my life that I don’t blog about very often is my sobriety. If you have followed my blog for some time, then you might know that I’m sober, but, well, if you didn’t know, now you know. I don’t consciously decide not to write about my sobriety journey or how I got here, but I think that’s because today being sober is just being me. My life involves sobriety but it does not revolve around it. I do not wake up each day like I used to and wish I could use, I don’t welcome the weekends with a mix of joy and sadness because those around me are going out to drink. I don’t fear holiday parties or gatherings where there will be alcohol or drugs. I do not identify myself by my sobriety like I used to, and for that I am grateful because it reminds me that alcohol and drugs are no longer a ruling factor in my life. Along with writing for my blog, I also write for Pretty Providence and an addiction blog called Into the Heart of Addiction. Recently, I wrote a piece about how I find balance in my life….which even if you are not sober may be an interesting read because I think that it applies to life in general, not just to a sober life.

“On Monday September 15th I celebrated seven years sober. I can not tell you how incredibly crazy it is to me to be seven years clean and how different my life is today compared to what it was like seven years ago. I used to be lost, broken, alone and scared, a mere shell of my former self. I had nothing and no one. I was a slave to my drugs with no goals, no dreams, no ambitions. Today, my life is beautiful and so incredibly full. I have my sweet Big and Little C’s, an amazing job that I love with people who treat me well, I have family and friends who I trust and love. I have so many things in my life and so much to be grateful for, and so in sobriety I have had to learn a lot about balance.

I have often heard that in sobriety as you continue to stay sober your life gets more and more full, and I promise you that this is absolutely true. Creating balance in my life has been one of the hardest things I have had to learn about in sobriety. In my using there obviously was no balance, the only thing that mattered was getting and using, everything else paled in comparison. I never needed to learn how to dedicate time to various things that mattered to me. Jobs, friends, they were all just part of the equation in getting high. In my early sobriety I was in rehab and sober living and there was no need for me to balance my life. I went to meetings every day, I spent time with my sober friends. It was easy. As I put more time together, started working, moved out, I became more in charge of my life and my time. I had to make sure that I made time for meetings, made time for sponsees and my sponsor and for the things that kept me sober. I had to learn to juggle work, meetings, friendships. And as I continued to put years together my life continued to get more full – today every moment of my day is filled from the second I wake up to the moment I lay my head down at night, which is beautiful but also more difficult. Finding a way to be a mom, a full-time employee, a wife, and a member of AA is a delicate balancing act that I am still learning about as I go. One thing that I can tell you without a doubt is that without sobriety and AA, I wouldn’t have these gifts that I get to juggle, I wouldn’t have a beautiful family or an amazing job. I wouldn’t have any of these gifts and I wouldn’t be thriving like I am. Sobriety has given me the opportunity to do things that I love, to pursue avenues that I enjoy.

The hardest part of being a parent and full-time employee, for me, has been finding time for AA in my life. I used to be able to go to meetings whenever I wanted, and all of a sudden I became a parent and couldn’t just up and go to my meetings. I had to rely on the tools that I was given in sobriety to get me through when going to a meeting every day was no longer possible. There were times where I had to go weeks without a meeting because after working ten hour days I just wanted to be home with my baby. Now, I have to be home after work so that I can feed her dinner, bathe her, pack her lunch for school for the next day. I have to be home to put her to bed. I am still learning how to balance meetings with work and parenthood. I am always learning. Finding the time is hard. There aren’t enough hours in the day for everything. Even as I’m writing this I am sitting in the bathroom watching my little girl take her nightly bath; my life today is all about time management and double tasking. Nights after the babe has gone to bed are reserved for writing and compiling the next day’s posts, for focusing on my sobriety and for doing inner work.

In sobriety I have come to the conclusion that our lives have to be rounded out if we are going to achieve balance. This means that we have to feed our passions along with working, along with being good members of AA, good parents and spouses. If we don’t feed the things that we love at some point we ultimately burn out. And, ironically, to achieve balance we have to learn to balance the things that we have to do with those which we want to do. I love fashion, fitness, and living a healthy lifestyle, so I round out work and being a parent by blogging, finding time each day to get to the gym (on my lunch break at work), and cooking healthy meals at home. I try to ensure that each of the facets in my life get equal focus and attention, and sobriety is what allows me to do all of this. I am beyond grateful for the gifts in my life, needing to learn how to balance them all is what we in AA refer to as a “quality problem”. I wouldn’t have my life be any other way, and I can not wait to see what the next seven years hold in store.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with the disease of addiction, please reach out. I am more than happy to answer any questions or aid in recommending treatment centers, therapists, and rehabs. Luckily the hubs works in the recovery field and is a wealth of information. I never want anyone to feel how I felt, to feel alone or trapped or stuck. So please, do not hesitate to contact me if you feel that you need help. Happy Thursday, my loves.