I’m almost 8 months sober!

It’s been a long 8 months – a time of discovery and a time of healing. Having this blog as an outlet for my personal discoveries and as a way to share my journey has helped tremendously.

One thing I’ve noticed about myself in these last 8 months is that I am emotionally vulnerable.

kintsugi8Extremely vulnerable.

It does not take much to put me into a “near tears” state. Just put “Phantom of the Opera” on TV. Or ask me what’s for dinner. Neither of these are things that “should” send me into an emotional state. And yet I find myself biting back tears or angry outbursts.

The first thing I wanted to do when I got sober was to “fix” everything with my relationships. I wanted everything to be okay right away. I needed to know that I could put things back together again – quickly.

Life doesn’t work like that.

I have to recognize that not only are my relationship broken – I am broken – very broken. And I have to recognize that it will take time for me to heal. And I must heal before I can ever begin to heal my relationships.

kintsugi9Alcoholics Anonymous offers a book called Living Sober, a handy guide for staying sober in many different situations that occur in life. One such situation is falling in love (or becoming emotionally entangled) during the early days of sobriety.

Of course, I’m happily married. But the danger of emotional entanglements still applies to me. I can easily become entangled in the emotion surrounding my relationships with my brothers and sisters and my parents.

In fact, every time there’s a chance I might see them or even hear from them I do become entangled. I start having conversations with them in my head. I plan out exactly what I want to say (and, of course, I know exactly how they’ll respond). I always get the last word – and I never stutter or stumble over what I’m saying. I script it down to the last syllable.

kintsugi7So getting through this holiday season was difficult for me. In order to stay sober, I chose not see my family at all. Harder still, I have decided not to attend my brother’s wedding. This is healthy for me. It helps me avoid becoming entangled in all of the emotion that still engulfs my family relationships. But it’s not easy.

Living Sober states:

During our days of bottles, cans, and glasses, many of us spent a lot of time concerned about intimate personal ties. […] We were often preoccupied with our deep involvement—or noninvolvement —with other people.
[…]our drinking lives left our emotional selves pinched, scraped, bent, and bruised, if not pretty firmly warped.

 

I’m sober enough now to recognize how warped my emotional self is – how easily manipulated it can be – how much protection it needs.

kintsugi6There is a beautiful Japanese art called kintsugi. It is the art of repairing broken pottery with gold, platinum, or silver. The masterpieces that this craft creates are truly stunning.

Like any art, the art of kintsugi takes time, patience, and humility. What I find most beautiful about this art form is that the gold highlights the scars – it highlights the fact that these pieces of pottery were once broken but they have been made whole.

Instead of disguising the fractures and scars, kintsugi draws them out into the light and offers a stronger more resilient piece because of them.

I see myself as broken, yes, but I also see myself being made whole through the grace of my Higher Power and the love and care of those who support me. I could never mend my broken pieces by myself.

I must take care of myself as my pieces are being put back together. They could easily shatter again. And one thing I can do, while I am in this extremely vulnerable state, is to avoid emotional entanglements. Even though it makes me sad not to go to my brother’s wedding, I’m simply not ready for the emotional upheaval I would experience by being there.

kintsugi1I cannot worry about how my decisions for myself will be received by other people. I must put myself and my sobriety first, or I will lose everything I have fought so hard to gain.

Difficult as it is for me, I must put my trust in my Higher Power and have faith that there is a plan – that everything will work out just as it is supposed to. And that I will be put back together and one day be able to serve a useful, beautiful purpose.

 

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