One of the hardest lessons you'll learn in life is how to balance your trajectory with your reality, how to attach yourself to the things that move you forward and to let go of the things that don't.
Four years ago this July, I suffered a needed and devastating blow to my ego as I watched everything I loved disappear from me. I was alcoholic and making an unmanageable mess of my life. For the first time, I finally saw that I was the source of all of my problems, and I was the reason for everything and everyone slipping away.
As I stood on the precipice of ruin, I made one decision that has directed the course of my life ever since: I got truly sober.
Having to suffer so much loss at my own hands, and having to come face to face with all that I had become, my interior was shaken open, and I was willing: willing to do whatever I could to not face that kind of pain again. This is the first time I have publicly shared my story, and I will spare the details, but in continuing my sobriety, I have had to live out a daily, conscious renewal of commitment, as best as I can for a better life. To this day, it has worked.
A balancing act of learning to stay constant and letting go has been my every day, whether in work or love, The principles that keep me sober for another day have been my path. And even as of recent, I've had to say goodby to people that I love because I must stay balanced on my principles. I do not allow myself the luxury of chance, and while the sacrifices have been real, I live to see another sober day with a calm belly, a clear head and with a feeling of clean inside that I knew nothing of four years ago.
I have given up taking chances in order to live in a grace I don't deserve.
This past year, I dedicated myself to a year alone. I set on paper the four things most important in my life: my sobriety, my kids, my teaching and my photography. I analyzed every love I've ever had, the good and the bad. I simplified my mental space and quieted my drives to focus on only that which brings me real happiness, joy and calm. It was an attempt to reclaim balance by letting go and resting on principles.
But it has been the best year I've had since I got sober. I found Something new: the feeling of what it's like when I'm happy, all alone, focused on the things that matter to me, restful, useful, calm.
The lesson of this year, from what I can understand, has been that no one and no thing can make you happy, only the clear recognition of what matters most and the resolve to commit to it, even in the face of having to let go of so many things you might love. If it doesn't fit the principles and priorities of your life, no matter how good it is, no matter how much you love it, it's only a matter of time before your principles and priorities disapear and you're left with nothing but an empty set. I don't ever want to feel that way again, and so I have had to let go of the things that don't fit, things I've loved and wanted, in order to remain sober for another day: a balance between staying constant and letting go.
If any of you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, I urge you to seek help, and if you want some direction on where and how to get it, I would happily share with you what I have so freely been given. One day at a time.