Today is my fourth sobriety anniversary. Four years. Seems like yesterday sometimes and at other times, it seems a lifetime ago. I don't remember very much about those 30 days I spent in treatment. I know I had panic attack after panic attack where I would run gasping, to the office for help. And then someone would sit with me and rub my back and hold my hands and remind me to breathe in and then out again until it passed. I know that I spent hours and hours, crying. Wondering if the tears would ever stop. And then when they finally did, I'd sit in wonder that I no longer felt anything at all. And I also knew that I was loved. Loved so much, that they wouldn't allow me to hurt myself anymore. That whole first year of sobriety, I think I walked around in shock most of the time. Scared of myself. Scared of my thoughts. Scared of the world. Without my shield. Without Jason.
And then the grief moved in. I was four months sober when I turned to my co-worker and said, "He's really dead. He's never coming back." And she looked and looked at me and said, "He's been gone for a year, Kate." And I said, "What?" Because it had finally sunk in. And after an emergency trip to see Carolyn, the mourning started in earnest. Because the cloudiness of my mind had finally cleared enough to accept that he was really gone. I spent most of that second year of sobriety, learning what it means to move on after loss. I'm proud of the hard work I did. I wouldn't be the woman that I am now if I had allowed that grief to sink in and stick around for a lifetime. Sure, it still hurts on occasion. Sure, I'm surprised by things that I find or things that remind me of him. That's what grief is. But the level at which I was living it was not sustainable for the long haul and I had to learn to let go.
Finally, at year three, I started to heal. Two years ago, my motto was "Do the uncomfortable, do the unfamiliar." Which was my rallying cry to just do life differently. The old ways hadn't worked for me. Hiding behind a book and a drink just simply wasn't going to make me happy. So, I started my life over. I tried new things. I did things that scared me. I went rock climbing. I went camping again. I went camping by myself! I started writing. I blossomed into a new woman who laughs. New Life! Indeed! But this year? My motto was "Just do the footwork." And in all areas of my life, I did the footwork. I wanted a new job. I sent out resumes, I went to interviews, I scanned school catalogues. I did my part and left the results up to The Universe. And The Universe provided. I think I want to be in a relationship with a man. So, I put myself out there. I'm online. I tell people I'm looking. I've met several people. I've done the footwork and The Universe has just not seen fit. Okay. So, I keep doing the footwork that is my life and he may or may not show up. I wanted to try something entirely new, so I started running. I set a goal and I followed through. Footwork, indeed!
My life is ever evolving. I don't make too many hard and fast plans. That just doesn't work for me and sets me up for disappointment and sorrow. So, I take what today brings and I embrace it as much as I can. Moving forward with this thing called life. And I couldn't do it without all of you and your constant encouragement. Thank you for sharing this journey with me. Here's to year five of New Life.