Three Years

You might not always see it, Melissa, but everything, always, plays to your greater good.

Things keep on getting better and better.

And you’re already the kind of person you once dreamed you’d become.

All choked up,

The Universe

P.S. Where does time go, Melissa?!

This was my Note from the Universe from April 22, 2013. I have kept it in my inbox ever since, going back to read it again and again. The line that keeps getting to me is “you’re already the kind of person you once dreamed you’d become.” It’s true. I am.

Today I am three years sober. Three years ago last night, another nothing Tuesday, I was drunk for the very last time. I felt defeated and empty. Even then, though, there was a glimmer in my mind, a small part of me that still dreamed about the person I knew, just KNEW I could be – if only I could manage to turn it all around.

Since July 28, 2010, I have racked up a fair amount of financial, professional and physical accomplishments – quit smoking, lost 75-80 pounds, became a runner, moved across the country, bought a house, paid off debts, got a great new job – but absolutely zero of those things would be a reality without me quitting drinking first. It was the catalyst by which everything else was possible. If I was still drunk every day, well… there wouldn’t be a me sitting here talking to you guys. I’d be destitute or dead. I was already out-of-my-mind depressed, irrationally paranoid and anxious by the time I quit (literally, alcohol had changed my brain chemistry that badly). If I had kept going, I probably would have driven my car into a wall. Intentionally.

Instead, I grabbed on to that glimmer of hope, found the strength within, and turned it all around.

Life now is everything and nothing like I thought it would be – and there isn’t a single negative to be found. In fact, a lot of the negatives I feared turned out the exact opposite. I am never bored. I am rarely socially anxious. I don’t wallow in worry over what others think of me.

My typical weekend three years ago was drunk Friday night, sleep until 2, eat, shower, computer, drunk, eat, sleep until 2, shop for groceries, eat, drunk, eat, sleep, work again Monday morning.

This weekend was as far from that as it gets. It was like a very timely celebration of everything my life is now compared to what it once was. Saturday alone was astonishingly full: early up, ran a 5K, took a two-hour course on a new subject, cooked and ate three delicious meals, hung out with Steve, watched cooking and hunting shows, blogged, talked to friends, spent money on something frivolous and adorable, read more of a wonderful book, watched cartoons in bed.

All of that. All of that is why I say, very seriously, that the little things are not the little things. Going as long as I did without participating in life makes me twice as grateful to do all the things that seem so basic. Sometimes I forget and I whine and I take things for granted, but that’s human nature. Even so, at least once a day, I say to Steve “I love our life” or “life is great.” No joke, at least once a day. The beauty of it has not faded yet.

And.

I am finally the kind of person I once dreamed I’d become – the kind that keeps my promises to myself and to others, that doesn’t tell lies, even little ones, to smooth over the rough edges, who works hard, who is present and engaged and living life with all the energy and openness that I can. I have integrity. That’s what it is: integrity. Believe me, there is nothing in the world that feels as good as being that kind of person.

Happy three to me.

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