Over my time in sobriety I have heard a lot of talk about being open to change, being willing to change and having to change. I never really understood what this meant and how I was able to change. After all I had already put down the alcohol was that not all that was required.
After having a painful few years it seems not…
Change is hard and to me feels extreme, how can I fundamentally change who I am as I have been this person a lot longer. In addition I was incredibly unsure of who I was so in turn that made me even more unsure of who I was meant to be. With time and patience and the support of my fellows I am slowly starting to unravel and work this out.
For me the change is not about becoming someone new it is about changing my vision of who I am. I am a terrible people pleaser, even though I would strongly deny this I do realise that I am always seeking love, validation and approval and by seeking and demanding these things I miss them when they are right in front of me.
Rather than being who I think I should be, or the version of me that was dictated by family, peers, friends etc.. I have now found the courage to be the me that I am. In doing so I am changing my inner voice and reflection and instead of now seeing everything I am not I am looking for everything that I am.
To get to this point I have gone through a huge amount of pain, all brought on by myself as I would continually berate my feelings and emotions as either weak or wrong and selfish. In order for me to truly see them for what they are, they are just feelings, I have to accept all aspects of my personality.
Quite often people will talk of character defects, I am not keen on this term, I want to view these as aspects of my character I could be kinder too. If I am fearful, which I am a lot, I need to ask myself why that is. Is it something, someone or somewhere – once I have found that answer I can talk about it, share it or write it down. Almost always it is someone with me and that is always easily resolved. If I can remember to do this then I dont get defensive, angry and then let myself down by behaving in a way I am uncomfortable with.
I am learning to be kinder to myself and to allow my true person to shine through, that has given me great peace and incredible head space. I no longer feel like there is a war in my mind but that the sky is blue and all is tranquil (for now anyway) and by having that peace I have taken life on life’s terms.
Finding space in my mind has allowed me to slow down, and thus gain more time – sounds crazy I know but it is so true. By pausing for a moment and considering my next move has stopped me making fumbling errors of judgement, rash decisions or inappropriate comments. I am not in a rush to make friends but would rather stand back and observe and then focus on the right environment for me to be in. Because I am learning to make the right choices for me my expectations of people are met and my friendships are a lot deeper and secure.
For the first time in my life I feel happy (ish) with how I look, dress and sound. After all that is what makes me, me so why should I be disappointed with that. I am happy in my own company but most of all am happy when I am in the company of the right people.
All of this is of course a work in progress and I am sure at some point something will change but hopefully this is my turning point, hopefully this is when I learn to live and feel and accept serenity.