So turn and face the sun again. Dream what you are, you sunflower. Rise up and face the sun again. Be what you are, you sunflower.Sunflower – Chalk Farm
An old friend, Ana, reached out to me today who I haven’t seen in over 5 years. She tells me she is planning on visiting and wants to get together. Then she writes:
“every picture I see, you look awesome and happy. Your relationship looks healthy. I’m very happy for you and proud of you.”
I read the message a few more times. She’s right. I am happy. My relationship is healthy. Things are good. Things are peaceful.
I think about the last time I saw Ana in 2014; I was still in college. Coming home from a night out, my ex is driving and I’m in the passenger seat. We are about to turn into the parking garage of our apartment complex when we see flashing lights behind us. Next thing I know, my ex is arrested for drunk driving. I call Ana at 3:30 in the morning, crying and desperate for help because I had been drinking too and wasn’t allowed to drive to pick up my ex from the police station.
My head hurts, I don’t feel well. I’m crying because of what happened and because my arm hurts. I look down and see the bruises from the fight we got into before we were pulled over and I have no idea how I am going to deal with this situation. I’ve just gotten off the phone with my Uncle who told me if I couldn’t find anyone else to pick up my ex to call him back and he would go.
This is the second time in 4 days I’ve called him in the middle of the night crying. Two nights before the DUI, my ex disappeared when we were leaving a club with friends, and was wandering around the city alone with no phone from 2am until almost 5am. Here I am calling again. I need to find someone else to call, I can’t place this burden on him.
Who can I call? Think! Ana. I’ll call Ana. “Hello?” “Ana? I need your help…” After filling her in on the hazy details, I hear her call to her boyfriend “fuck, we have to go!” I can hear their mumbled conversation….”….arrested for a DUI…..neither one of them has been in jail before…. no, no one was hurt, thank god…….called in for backup and 3 more cop cars showed up……it’s going to be ok (she’s speaking to me again). Hang tight, I’ll be there soon.
Ana knew me at a time when I had no clue who I was. She knew me when I was merely existing. When drinking was an essential part of my life. I was stuck in a toxic relationship that was abusive and codependent, controlling and desperate. I still can’t believe it was real – that I was such a shell of a person. That relationship lasted one month shy of five years but it felt like a lifetime – full of toxicity, gaslighting, and abuse.
But, now? I want her to see me and to know me now. As a happy person. As a sober person. I want her to see who I am with a partner who is supportive and who loves me for who I am. I want to tell her about life I’ve created for myself – one where I wake up every morning with a sense of calm, peace, and gratefulness and where my days are filled with activities that bring me joy on a body, mind/emotional, and spirit level. A life where I have a partner who I can share all of this with and who gives me the space to grow. A life that started the second I got sober.
After reading her message a couple more times, I tell her I would love to see her. I write that Josh and I celebrated 5 years together this month and that I’ve been sober for almost two years. I realize I start typing words freely without thinking. I write that I never knew what a healthy relationship looked like or felt like until being with Josh – a healthy relationship was something I never had with anyone else before. That being in a healthy relationship combined with my sobriety has allowed me to create a life filled with happiness and peace.
“And it shows, girl. I’m so happy for you, you deserve it” she writes back.
You deserve it……a few years ago I wouldn’t believed that sentence but now? I do. I believe it and know it wholeheartedly. It’s been a rough few months, my blog posts haven’t been the most cheerful, and lately I’ve been wavering between feeling more confident than I have in years and feelings of fear and hesitation. But the universe gave me a little reminder with Ana’s message today that I am still on the right track and that my choice to be sober has paid off. I’ve worked hard and changed my life in almost every single way and if that doesn’t merit happiness I don’t know what does.