It's Monday. It's a beautiful day.
The sun is shining and the crisp fall air reminds me that the seasons are in transition. Time is marching on and change is all around me. Parts of me are getting older, parts of me seem to get younger, and parts of me feel just the age they should be.
One week ago, I acknowledged another sobriety milestone. I have been alcohol free for over 9 months, but I have found some healing of deep-seated wounds that have been with me long before alcohol entered my life. With healing has come significant inner shifts, allowing changes that, like seasons, happen with the passing of time. As I have written before, time is always in control and time seems to decide when healing occurs.
I have a lot of remorse, guilt, and shame. Perhaps I always will, and maybe that's fine. At my worst, my actions hurt people I loved and destroyed relationships. These are my biggest regrets as they far outweigh the self destruction I experienced. It is the irony of addiction. You inflict the most pain on those you love the most. That makes me sad. I never wanted to be that person, but I accept I was.
Many times in the past 9 months, I have felt selfish. Admittedly, I have focused mostly on myself, working as hard as I can to change me, discover my authentic self, and become a person who I can live with... a person who I can love. In doing so, I have made little effort to reach out to others, make meaningful amends, offer genuine apologies, and share the love in my heart with those I hurt. I have, however, thought of them often, missed them dearly, and longed for what once was. It has been painful, but necessary.
Perhaps truly loving someone requires letting them go. If I truly want a person to be happy, to flourish, and live their best life, I have to love them enough to accept that their best life may not include me... at least not in the way I wish. I know it is not my choice to make. Getting there is hard, but I think it's a must for me.
I used to throw apologies around like candy. Saying sorry, begging for forgiveness, and making hollow promises of change - these becoming more meaningless with every instance. These actions, a fundamental part of active addiction, were a correct definition of selfishness. There was no truth in any of it because it wasn't about them. It was about me. I don't want to do that again... ever.
When time decides I am wholly ready to make those amends, express those apologies, and love enough to allow others to choose my place in their best life, it will be because I truly, deep inside, believe it myself. Knowing I have changed, that I can trust myself, that I respect myself enough to be impeccable with my word, will be the real milestone I will celebrate. I will be the person I long to be. Good and loving.
When I acknowledge the months and days of sobriety, I don't think about the abstinence from alcohol. Being alcohol free is a means to an end, as removing it from my life has allowed me to work toward that goal of living my best life, being my best to myself and others, and living in love without expectation.
I am trying; I am changing, and I'm getting closer. I look forward to my true rebirth when time lets it be so.