|Baby me. An approximate representation of who I was after I finished yoga teacher training.|
Hi y’all! It’s been months and months and here I am, still sober. 🙂
Yoga teacher training pulled me apart. In ways like warm rays of sunlight shining on fragrant fields of growing grass, but also in ways that are like the stinky liquid goo you find at the bottom of the kitchen trash when someone hasn’t put the bag on right. I have been feeling the hills are alive with the sound of music along side I want to be in bed, in the dark, maybe forever.
Did you know I was a waitress? It’s what I’ve done my whole adult life, aside from a four year stint at Whole Foods where I thought I was going to set the world on fire- maybe in ten years I’d be running my own store! I could make great money without having to go back to school! I could stop waiting tables forever! Then I quickly realized I was not cut out for working at a corporation- even if it was Whole Foods. I still stayed there for four years. It’s where I got sober, halfway through my time there. It’s where things got so bad that I had to either quit drinking or become a total fucking failure- me at forty, working at the grocery store and not able to handle that much less my life and my family.
I’ve been sober for almost four years, and back waiting tables for two. It seems ironic and at the same time a bit awful that I make a living serving food and loads of drink. Bottles of expensive wine, big cold martinis, things to taste and pour and talk about and enjoy and I just smell and play along, relying on knowledge I gained fifteen years ago when I was at the top of my booze game. It doesn’t bother me much, randomly I’ll long to be a person who can go out to dinner like some of the people I wait on, people who can carefully select a bottle of wine and then make it last all of dinner, maybe even leaving a glass in the bottle. How can you just leave a whole glass behind? I’ll think and I have to laugh at my disbelief when this happens, knowing what I know about my a-holic self.
My husband waited tables at this same restaurant, I took over his job two years ago when he left to go to computer coding school. I stayed at Whole Foods too, working two jobs so he didn’t have to work at all while he was in school. Our whole marriage has been one of us waiting tables at night to supplement the other person who is working a “real” job during the day. It means that one of us is always around for the boys, and that we are not much around for each other. After twelve years of this style of marriage we are both ready for the way out- not out of being married, but out of being apart, single parenting patiently together for what is starting to feel like might be forever. Now that he’s finished with school and has been working for over a year at this amazing job that we still both can’t believe happened and I’m finished with yoga teacher training it’s time to make some decisions. It means that I have started to think about what I want to be now that I’m grown up.
If there’s one thing being sober has taught me it’s dream big, and then think bigger. Half the reason I ended up as a waitress is that I never dreamed all that big- in spite of being smart and creative and capable I chose instead to dull myself down because success scares me. I remained contained and small, safe in the place of not pushing myself deserving the just settling. Amazingly enough it seems that I can’t tolerate that anymore. That’s part of what led me to do my yoga teacher training: I had to. I knew it was going to wake me up in ways I may or may not be ready for and for sure, it did.
After teacher training I had to take a break: I had to gather all my scattered thoughts together to see what thoughts I even wanted to be anymore. Who I wanted to be anymore. To see if I can handle blogging about who I am and what is happening to me. To see if I was ready to move away from putting sobriety front and center, if maybe I could just quietly be sober and perhaps something else would become a beacon of my life.
Lessening the importance of my sobriety didn’t happen. What did happen was that every time I though about my life and choices, I was reminded of how recovery has given me the life I have today. Recovery is the lighthouse, it is what sends my ship to sail and plants my feet on the ground. It doesn’t need to be in the background, because it doesn’t have to. It isn’t everything I am, I am everything it is.
My recovery is an ongoing, lifelong project. I quit drinking, but that isn’t the finish line, not even close. I get alternately frustrated and overjoyed with the prospect that la la! recovery is going to last forever!!! and that recovery. is. going. to. last. for. ever. There isn’t even a finish line. ACK!! How can this be?
How to stay? How to remain open and transparent and stay in the blogging world when things have gotten so much bigger than simply quitting drinking? How to give value to the privacy my life deserves but to also let it all hang out because what if my honesty can be a thing that helps someone whose ship’s almost run aground find their lighthouse too? Can this be part of what I am? Is it okay for me to be who I actually am, all out in the open? Can I stop hiding and offer and accept the gifts I am given? Who the hell am I anyway?
I figured it all out… the answer is I don’t know.
So here I am, back at my keyboard, thinking of myself and of you there, reading and maybe finding some something that makes you feel ok at your life. I apologize if I left you stranded while I put the oxygen mask only on myself for a while. I thought at the end of my yoga teacher training I would be awake and alive and healed- so healed that I would glow with it, emanate it, radiate it. Instead I was a tender naked mole rat- more than ever out in the bright scary light of the world with only the steadiness of my breath and my feet on the ground to carry me along to where I am today. Yoga helped save me at the beginning of my sobriety, it was an answer to my S.O.S. that now anchors me when I start flailing around. But it also can be so fucking hard because if I practice with honesty and integrity there isn’t anywhere for me to hide.
I’m okay with that now. I’m not in a hurry anymore, I’m not searching for the finish line. I’m afraid every single day without pretending I’m not anymore. I’m glad to be here, back where I belong.