In the warmer light of day, I will resurrect my faith. I’ll scream out loud while demons that I chase strike me down without a warning but I will win this morning.Early in the Morning – Rob Thomas
I’m not going to lie. I have been emotionally rough and unstable this past week – and I mean really, really dark. I’ve also done a lot of self reflection, exploring my emotions and giving myself time to understand how these emotions affect me in body, mind, and soul. This week has been terrifying and beautiful all at once. A journey in itself. The amazing thing about it is that the feelings I have experienced not just in the past week but in the past 355 days, have been experienced fully with complete clarity. The good, the bad, the in-between. The dark, the light, the terrifying, the exciting. Happy, euphroic, excited, sad, lost, broken, hurt, angry, confused, apathy, numbness – all of it. And even when there are emotions that are so intense and leave me to wonder if it’s possible to find a way out, I think to myself how incredibly grateful I am to experience real, full blown emotion in this way. Emotion after all is simply “energy in motion”.
I forgot how intensely I felt emotions before alcohol. Don’t get me wrong, alcohol created an intensity of emotion for sure, but there was always a layer of numbness or fogginess to it. And when I wasn’t actively drinking, my emotions had an element of hysteria – panic attacks and irritability at the forefront. But my emotions when I’m 100% sober have a different intensity to them. Before, I would often feel like I was having out of body experiences, now, my emotions completely fill my body – wonderful when the feeling is happiness or joy and terrifying when the feeling is a hysterical panic attack (thankfully, they only occur once every few months instead of multiple times a day). The negative emotions are a son of a bitch though and while it’s scary to feel such darkness, it’s those feelings (along with the good and the in-between) that make me feel alive. Yet, I’ve learned that it is 100% ok to feel the way I feel, no explanation or excuse required. Another beautiful part of this experience is realizing that alcohol didn’t just distort how I experienced emotion, it stifled and stuffed the real me so deep that I almost forgot she existed; she was lost, or so I thought. Since my drinking began at 18, that girl, my true self, was silenced and quieted and struggling to break free – locked up tight in a cage, drowned out by alcohol. And now, she is finally coming to the surface again. When I first got sober, I thought I was on a journey of finding myself. But I was wrong. Quitting alcohol didn’t allow me to find myself; quitting alcohol allowed me to finally reveal my true self.
And my true self is a total and complete bad ass, emotions and all. I’m not saying I’m a bad ass to be cocky, I’m saying that because it’s true for me, for you, and for anyone else in the world. Because I want everyone to find their inner bad ass and kick ass at life! Seriously, I mean it!
First off, my true self is a ton of fun, no alcohol required. Most adult (or non adult) activities involve alcohol and it’s so normalized that I almost forgot what it was like to have fun without it! Now, I strive to have the type of fun I did as a kid, before the alcohol, and to find that fun free feeling again! Playing board games, playing card games, watching scary movies, dancing around my living room to music, riding rides at the amusement park, laughing so hard with friends or family that I cry, and just have fun with whatever it is!
Another thing I love about my true self is how much I value honesty and how much I appreciate it when others are honest with me too. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that honesty wasn’t my forte for a long time. And now it’s one of my most important values. Just the thought of lying makes my head hurt. Lying is literally one of the most exhausting and complicated things you could voluntarily do and guess what? I don’t have to do it anymore!! Freedom!!
Something that goes hand in hand with honestly is no more drama!! Since I quit drinking, the drama in my life has literally disappeared. It’s fucking beautiful. I ditched the gossiping “friends”, I ditched the immature behavior, and I ditched the drama!! No lying, no drama, no rumors, no back stabbing, no insanity – just peace!! Freedom (again)!!
Now to bring it full circle, my true, bad ass self is viewing emotion in a whole new light. I am turning pain into power and the way I see it – I have two choices.
- I can be consumed, crippled, and destroyed by my emotions or
- I can face my emotions head on, fully and completely, and use them to my advantage
Now, I don’t know about you but option 2 is much more appealing to me than option 1. So I’m choosing option 2, the difficult option, the “very scary” option, the no turning back option, the option that requires me to continue fighting and the option that I know is the most rewarding. So, I’ve buckled my seat belt and pulled it tight. Ok, universe!! I’m listening! I’m going to feel every emotion that comes my way to the fullest, good or bad, and use those feelings to motivate me and to inspire me more than ever before. I’m going to grab life by the balls! And punch every obstacle that comes my way in the throat! The girl I thought I lost is back, baby!! Let’s do this!