I’m on vacation – a beautiful respite on the quiet beaches of Jekyll Island, GA. I can see the ocean from where I sit, and the waves are a tranquil murmur in the background. The sun is warm on my face. Everything here is peace.
But I am not at peace. I am craving a drink.
Vacations used to mean drinking for me. Lots of drinking. Drinking until I would argue with anyone over the smallest things. Drinking to the point of blackout. Drinking from dawn to dusk and well into the night.
I don’t do that anymore. So I don’t know what to do with myself right now.
I went to a meeting yesterday, and I shared in the meeting that I’m frustrated that I still desire alcohol. That I haven’t changed. I shared that I’m almost six months sober. Shouldn’t I be better at sober life? Shouldn’t I be enjoying this beautiful place more?
And then someone else shared something beautiful and wonderful that put things into perspective for me. Alcoholism is like walking into the woods. We spend years walking into the woods. Deciding to get sober is like deciding to turn around and walk back out of the woods. But if we spent 25 years walking into the woods, we can’t walk back out of the woods in six months.
I spent 11 years walking into the woods. And then I spent another 2 years running around in the woods like a lunatic, relapsing. Now I’m finally on a good path out of the woods, but it’s going to take more than six months to get out of the forest.
I’m still going to be jumbled up. I’m still going to make silly mistakes. I’m still going to lack self awareness and humility.
But I am walking out of the woods. I’m here, on vacation in this delightful place by the sea. And I’m sober.