The first year of recovery is supposed to be simple: no major changes, keep it in the day, focus on your sobriety. That’s great in theory, but life happens.
After I was sober, I spent three days in jail, because of a DUI. I moved to Brooklyn shortly thereafter. I finished my dissertation. I started a new job. Had two new relationships, one of which was great–with a sweet furniture maker who was cool as hell, and one of which was giant ass.
One of the hardest things I experienced in early recovery was that my godbrother died, too young, in his thirties; I was devastated. I found out on facebook, because my phone had been off all day. I’d been a filmmaker friend’s plus one at a film convention, and she and I had had the most glorious day. I was wearing a fairy crown and my favorite black dress when I sat down on my stoop on Flatbush to smoke a cigarette going in. I mindlessly flipped open the facebook app, and saw his death posted–which is quite possibly the very worst way to find out that a family member has passed. I was so distraught that my eleven-year-old neighbor had to unlock the building door for me–my hands were shaking too much. He is a darling, kind, wonderful child.
After trying to reassure him that I was okay, probably unsuccessfully, I went up to my apartment, where I sat on the fire escape crying to my sponsor and my mother and one of my dearest friends, who talked to me until four am, when I finally crawled into my bed and took off the fairy crown.
But I did not drink.
This past weekend, my dear, wonderful great-uncle passed away. I’m 21 and a half months sober, but that doesn’t mean his death didn’t hit me hard. Life happens; and death is a part of life, like it or not. But in sobriety, I can feel my feelings.
That’s the good part. I don’t have to escape the trauma at the bottom of a wine bottle. And the longer I’m sober, the stronger I am. The stronger we all are. But things still hurt. And that’s okay.
You’ll have good days and bad days, major life events and stress.
But if you don’t drink, you’ll be able to process, and more of the good days will come.