I am six months sober today.

This afternoon I tried my hand at sewing. After an hour I sort of sighed and moved on. I won’t say I gave up since I’m going to try more. But my eyes were kind of crossing, and the picture didn’t really make sense, and so before I got frustrated and cranky I did something else.

Today I had a free day- I ate what I wanted. I bought a scarf, and another book for my Kindle. I sort of waffled around the house listening to it rain. I thought about stuff. About how different I am than I was six short months ago. About things I’m ready to try. About happiness. And me.

I thought about the next step. The next part contentment. Goals for the next six months, since I accomplished the one goal I had for the past six months: staying sober.

1. bringing yoga back into my life.
2. eating the way I know makes me feel the best
3.  regular dog walks
4. saving money
5. opening myself to vulnerability

Rearrange all those letters and they spell: SOBER

My challenge-ish thing I want to try for the next six months is living my dream life. Living the life I want- not the one my ego pushes off on me. Listening to my heart, to my me. Not listening to the voices that say “not good enough” or “more more more” or the feelings that run through the cookies blindly. Listening to the voices of joy, of sad. Hearing what I need when I would normally waste an hour on the computer or eating past fullness.

Taking pauses. Chewing it all up. Concentrating on slowing down. On counting to 10. Breathing in. Finding my passion and my patience.

This seems like a tall order for a half year. But I am up for it. I am excited by the possibilities!

Long ago back at the New Year I chose a word. That word was INVEST. I’m ready to put my word to good use. I’m ready to invest in myself. I can now trust that I’m worthy of it.

I thrive on rules. I learn this about myself almost daily. I like a short leash. I like to know what to expect. I don’t like the freedom to go with the flow: this does not work for me. When I go with the flow I flounder and flail and always end up taking waaaayyyyyyy more rope than I need, and then I’m either tangled or hanging by it at the end of the day. I need things to be set. I like organization. I like no’s. Boundaries. Fences. Lines. All of these things make me feel safe, relieved.

I want to set some goals. Like:

1. lose that 20 lbs I’ve been trying to lose forever.
2. train for a half marathon/marathon- have a set running schedule
3. yoga class 3x a week.
4. strength training
5. write an hour a day
6. limit computer time- maybe once a week for surfing and wasting time instead of 5 times a day
7. stick with a budget
8. spend more time with the kids
9. have a date twice a month with husband
10. work on my flailing libido
11. give up caffeine
12. stick with a Paleo/whole 30 way of eating. Banish sugar.
13 Get to work on the garden
14. be silly and happy
15. stay sober
16. continue to be open to deeper friendship connections
17. be proud of who i am

But then there’s this thing that always happens when I make the grandest plans.

Life.

So there are those things I want to do, ways I want to become the normal rhythm of my life so that I do them without thought or question. Like how I stay sober without the struggle to avoid the wine store anymore. I just do it. It’s who I am now.

My mother commented today with her eyes shining wetly with pride, “You are so much easier to be around now” when I shared with her that I was celebrating six months of sobriety today. And we laughed about it, and I tapped myself on the head and said, “It’s easier out there and in here.”

Something happened to me when I decided to quit drinking. I made a commitment, a whole hearted promise, that I was going to succeed. I made a deal with myself that I would not drink so I could live. So I could be the person I wanted, in my heart of hearts, to be.

And now it’s time to do just that. So while all those goals seem silly, or restrictive, or like too much maybe to you to me they seem like a big white bright ball of hope. They seem to say “Look at me. Look how big your hopes can be now, when a short six months ago you were just praying for the courage to not drink that day. Look how your world has stretched and moved to include any possibility you choose. Look how fucking strong you are now.” So now that I’ve quit drinking it’s time to be really brave. It’s time to see what I can do. It’s time to explore the map of who I am. Unafraid. Not worried that it’s too hard, or too much; but embracing the challenge of living a life full on- full of love, and of joy- full of failure, full of trying.