I read a line in an article by Nora Ephron’s sister, “I didn’t have the stomach to fight to be heard.” This took me back to being four years old and learning early on that it would take a lot more energy to be heard than it would to just do things for myself.
I became very competent and self reliant. I’m now working to unlearn these traits…or at least lighten up.
I picked up my four year sobriety chip this month and as I sit listening in AA meetings, I can almost divide the room by the people who are learning to trust themselves plus believe in their own competence and by the ones who are having to learn to trust others and experience vulnerability.
For those of us in the vulnerability camp, it’s really more about unlearning and going back to some basic developmental steps that may have been missed.
I’m still not a fighter and definitely not around being heard. I see my little four year old self in the black and white, choppy, 8 mm movie of my mind, full of spirit and liveliness wanting to be noticed and heard. Tugging at skirts and pant legs to no avail. Rather than throwing a fit or getting louder, simply going to the kitchen and getting her own snack.
It’s easy to connect shame, self soothing, and food from this mental clip. It later evolved to alcohol.
Now 44 years after being a 4 year old child, I’m celebrating 4 years of a new life sober. Passing new developmental marks, learning, growing and quietly demanding that I be heard, because I do have something to say.
Today I celebrate four years of sobriety. These have been the best four years of my life. Seriously.
I don’t think I ever heard anyone talk about how great sobriety was when I was a drinker…then again, I don’t know that I was actually around anyone who was sober and working a recovery program. I was definitely selective about my friends and sought out the drinkers, or at the very least “normal” drinkers who would tolerate my over indulgence.
I wish there had been someone there to tell me the merits of sobriety and a healthy recovery. Someone who would have told me things like:
- Your creativity will flourish! You will paint and write and create. And, all of this creativity will expand into the rest of your life.
- You will be more fit than you were in your twenties! You’ll be able to go to boot camp at 6 am (because you won’t be hungover!)
- Sleep will be the most luxurious indulgence. You’ll fall right to sleep, sleep all night, and wake up before the alarm goes off at 5 a.m., refreshed and excited about the day. And you’ll have a clear head and clear eyes.
- You will feel so much lighter and happier. It will feel as if a heavy blanket has been lifted from your being and rocks have been taken out of your pockets.
- You will have a process, a program in place to deal with whatever life throws your way.
- You will have a support system who truly cares about your health and vitality. They are always there for you. No matter what city or country you are in. Your AA community is there for you. You may not know them all by name but you know them on a deep primal level. Oh, and they are very, very funny people!!
- Guilt and shame will continue to exist less and less in your life. You will have hope that it will soon be a thing of the past.
- You will continue to learn, grow, heal and expand your consciousness by continuing to work a program.
- You will serve and help others heal by sharing your hope and strength.
If you know someone who is on the fence…please forward this message to them. There is hope. There is another way.