Since sobering up I have traded my daily quest for temporary freedom for something with more meat on it; something deeper. Something less transparent and more enduring.
When I was at my darkest I sought out freedom on a daily basis.
It was a frail, wimpy, expensive, kind of freedom. But cheap was fast, easy, and familiar to me.
I associated being physically and emotionally distant from any place that might contain other humans with my definition of freedom. Being anywhere that I could isolate myself without anyone fucking with me or asking me questions or encouraging me to change? Boom. Freedom. Winning the race against my own thoughts and seeing how quickly I silence my internal, perpetual, self-deprecating shame fests? More Freedom.
Obviously I had missed the mark in my search for freedom, but it took me a long time to recognize that my daily quests weren’t as much about freedom as I thought. It was about honoring and comforting the little girl inside of me. Refusing to abandon coping mechanisms that had always delivered. I did what I had to do and in return, I was given another safe, temporary place to hide.
When I chose to say yes to recovery, I chose to say good-bye to that girl. I chose to embrace the woman who I am, who God created me to be.I chose to believe that there really was something better out there or even better, inside of myself and every bone in my body excitedly anticipated what my first taste of real, lasting, freedom would be like.
My true freedom came when I began to believe that I didn’t need to hide anymore and as I discovered why I had spent my entire life taking refuge in various forms of hiding, and that is where I found my healing.
I could have died hiding.
But I didn’t.
The grace of God carried me right through the unknown, right into the realm full of feeling human beings. It is nice here. It isn’t perfect but the imperfections make it unique. It isn’t the same every day but the unexpected parts are what make it mine. It doesn’t always feel good but it is how I know that I am alive. It isn’t enough to break me because I have already felt what broken is. And here, there isn’t a guarantee that I will know wtf I am doing at any given moment and I am not sure that I don’t look ridiculous fumbling around from time to time, but it’s proof that I am still trying.
I can rest more easily knowing that I am a strong woman who can overcome hard things. The most freeing part of this entire process has been coming to believe that I can learn to face the things that come my way, without hiding.
And you can too. If you are in a place that you don’t recognize or don’t feel completely comfortable with don’t turn around. Transition isn’t always super smooth. Change takes time. Learning new ways and embracing and practicing more healthy approaches to handling the ups and downs that life throws at you isn’t easy. Every single day you are moving further away from that old version of you, right into the path that you were meant to be on.