You know how the life of an alcoholic is- well, I know how mine is: I drank for a long time, then I stopped. And now I have a pretty good time figuring stuff out about myself like I’m really an introvert, or I need time by myself to stay steady, or I will be lazy about things unless I push myself to do them.
In the second book Donald Miller talks about the story our lives tell. If my life were a story it would be me being little, then me being drunk, and then the much more interesting me sober and getting on with it. It really got me thinking about the story I want my life to tell, the story my children might tell about me. The story my husband might tell of our marriage.
It made me think about how many things aren’t under my control, but then how many things are.
Books always seem to show up right when I need them. I have been in that winter rut where I do the winter thing I do: gain weight. Abandon everything except Facebook and avoiding all the things. I let the boys fry their brains on computer games and I sink into my own version of hibernation until thankfully spring happens and I find some books and some sunshine and get off the couch and back out into the world.
I also found a journal entry that I can’t stop thinking about. It’s the one where I talk about telling myself no, and doing the things I want to do, and how sad it makes me feel when I just give myself full license to eat all the cookies. But it isn’t just one journal entry- it’s a lot of them. Then I came across the book that talks about our life stories and I knew I needed to start writing mine instead of it writing for me.
It’s like this: when I was drinking I just told the same story over and over again. And over, again. I don’t want to do that now that I’m sober- it’s just the same thing over and over but without being drunk. (which is a huge plus)
I sometimes feel like I’m in limbo land. Sober long enough to not be newly, but not sober long enough to be consider totally “there”. I feel like when I put myself out on a limb people still want to tell me to “be careful” and “take it easy”- like they think if I take on too much I’ll drink again. Or are they comfortable with me the way I am? Or am I always changing things?
I feel very comfortable in my sobriety. What I don’t feel comfortable with is carrying the alcoholic behavior on in my story. My perhaps MS has got me thinking about the many things I would be sad I didn’t do when I had the chance to do them. And then I think about when I get to the end of my life will I wish I’d eaten more cookies or gone for more long walks? I don’t think I’ll be heading into the light wishing for more time on Facebook.
The idea that my life is my story to write is all at once kick ass and scary. It’s a balance of control and free fall. But it is mine. And it’s up to me to choose it: the people in it. The things that happen. I can’t control outcomes but I can write them as close to my desires as I want them to be.
Think about your story. How you want it to be. How to write it, how to read it. How it’s true, and hard, and lovely, and yours. I’ll be out on a long walk in the sun thinking about mine, too.