Monday, December 22, 2008

The year in review

I've been thinking about this past year since it is soon coming to an end. I have to say that all said and done, it's been a pretty darn good year. With the help of the program I've made enormous strides in my emotional sobriety. I no longer fool myself, I know it will be something I will work on the rest of my life, but progress, not perfection is what I strive for everyday. There are some things that happened this year that I'm very proud of, there are some things I could have handled better, but rather than flog myself like I've done in years past, I learn and move on. Losing Ozzie was difficult, finding Callie was a great joy. Both reminding me of the cycle of life. Having to file bankruptcy was humiliating, but in the end has given me a fresh start and new hope that I can walk through anything and not have to drink over it. Knowing that my drinking led to my bankruptcy; emotional, spiritual and financial has galvanized me to work the program and try to be a better person each day. I am happy to discover that my optimism for life is intact. I am glad to discover that while I am wiser, I am also less fearful of the world around me. More easily, I take things in stride. Someone breaking my car window while I was at work became a minor inconvenience rather than a "world will stop spinning on its axis" crisis. That I have a job, that I have been able to keep this job, that I have been able to advance in this job is a major miracle in itself. I have a pretty nice and very safe place to live. I have made great friends at work, in my group, and through my writing, and I feel like I belong here, I feel welcome here, and I feel comfortable and safe here. Two years ago, I didn't feel any of that. I am glad that I have it and can welcome it into my life everyday.

I have struggled to bury the past, finally making peace with the fact that I can't bury it. Remembering it, and slowly it's all coming back to me, helps keep me sober and keeps me wise. Making the mistakes that I made will likely not happen again simply because I am sober and trust my own counsel, and no one will ever be able to manipulate me to their own selfish ends ever again. I still believe if I had had more sobriety behind me, and the support group I needed, I never would have made such a destructive, life-altering decision, or at the very least would have done it better, done it right. But it cannot be changed. I will live with it and work on healing from it the rest of my life, however, it will not rule me any longer, of that I'm very sure.

The most important thing that has happened this year has been the rebuilding of my relationship with my family, especially my parents. We have been able to talk a lot about what happened and share the damage it did and have been able to heal from it. We each have our own work to do in this area, but as a family we will do it. I appreciate their love and support and ability to deal with the pain I caused honestly and openly, and I am proud of myself for being able to hear it and do what I can to make amends. Some amends can never be made, but with time and continued sobriety, trust will return, I believe that.

The big event: I finally finished a manuscript. I think it helped me work through Step Four. I've said that before. It was a difficult but cathartic experience, and best of all, I know I can write the way I have always wanted to write, but through lack of confidence, self-sabotage and living too far in the future, never thought it would happen. In January, I plan to begin another project, and look forward to its unfolding, one day at a time.

The most important lesson of the year: While I can plan ahead, I cannot put my hopes on a future that isn't here. I have to take care of today. I learned from my own experience and listening to the experience of the group, that if I take care of today, tomorrow will take care of itself. There are many things that are out of my control, the best that I can do is take care of the things that I can control. With that, I look forward to putting together the 365 days that will make up the next year.

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