Sober & Single in Snowmaggedon
Between Snowmageddon '14 to hit North Carolina and Valentine's Day last week, I learned a lot about myself. I was forced to. I was stuck in my house...alone...for three days..sober. Now, I love alone time. I really do. But three days is a lot of uninterrupted alone time. Thanks to buzzfeed quizes and boredom, I know what state I should live in, what girl scout cookie I am, who my Disney best friend is, why I am single, and what character I am on a number of tv show...some I don't even watch. But other than all of that, I realized a few things about myself. Sometimes I think God puts us in conditions that require us to be still and snowstorms are a perfect example.
Reflections and realizations from 72 hours of stillness...
1. Alone but not lonely. I used to think I was lonely because I was alone. I now know that is in fact not true. I was lonely because I was lost. I didn't know who I was. I didn't like who I thought I was. I constantly surrounded myself with the wrong people and always felt lonely. I often felt most alone in crowded rooms or bars. Today, I can sit in my house all by myself for 72 hours and not feel one ounce of loneliness. I can sit and be still and be comfortable with that and who I am. I'm not lonely anymore.
2. Find God...find Love. I honestly can't believe I just typed that. Only because it just sounds kind of cheesy. I would have rolled my eyes so hard at this statement if someone would have told me this a few years ago, but it's true. It's like a domino effect. Once you allow God into your heart, these things start happening that I can't even explain. It's something that you have to experience for yourself. But once you start loving yourself, you start loving others. When you can see the good in yourself, you can identify it in others. When you have God in your heart, you see Him in everyone and in everything good and you are able to love. Loving God lets you love yourself and loving yourself let's you love others. Love...found!
3. I love Valentine's Day...single. Social media was inundated with invites and post for singles parties with themes like...love bites, cupid is stupid, love stinks let's drink, and the list goes on. I am not sure when Valentine's day became a self-loathing, depressing, love hating single holiday, but I am single and I love Valentine's Day. I mean...it's a holiday about LOVE and candy and flowers and hugs and cards. What's not to love about all that? Love showed up in many different forms for me this Valentine's Day... like...coffee and cupcakes with a friend...chocolate covered strawberries from an "oldtimer" at a meeting...handmade valentine cards from my nephews...box of chocolates from a friend...my birchbox that was delivered in the mail that day...even the dozen roses I bought myself at the grocery store the next day for $5.99. I'll take that day over any regular ole day...any day! Love doesn't have to be romance and sexy time. Appreciate the love that is all around you. Just look, because love actually is all around.
4. Being sober...being of service. This was the first snow storm that I have been sober for and being stuck in my house for 72 hours alone will put anyone's sanity and/or sobriety at risk. Old Allison would have drank her way right through those 72 hours. But what I learned was that being sober allows me to be of service to others..even in a snowstorm. I can get caught up in being of service to other alcoholics, but I need to be more aware of being service to everyone around me. I am not being of service to myself or others when I am drinking. I had the opportunity to help some neighbors shovel snow from their driveway...to cook breakfast casseroles for a few of my older neighbors who live alone...to visit with a few shut-ins...to watch my neighbors kid while she walked to the store. All of these things that I would once have been either too drunk, too hungover or too self absorbed to do...but now see them as opportunities to be of service. But what I have to ask myself is, why does it take a snow storm to make me lend a hand to the people I see everyday? What if we were as neighborly to one another everyday like we are on snow days?
5. JOMO not FOMO. Everything I did prior to recovery was based on fear of missing out. I didn't want to miss anything. What I realize is that I wasn't really missing out on anything important. In fact, I can't name one thing great to ever come from being wasted at a bar. I didn't get in trouble every time I drank but every time I got in trouble, I was drinking. As I scrolled through social media during the snowstorm, I would see the pictures of snow-day bar parties and drunken sledding excursions. I am not going to lie...a part of me missed that...for a minute. But when I get honest with myself and stop romanticizing the smokin' mirrors of Instagram photos and Facebook statuses... I don't miss it. Not even a little bit. Because for me, for alcoholics, it doesn't just end with a few beers at a bar on snow day. I have to play it through to what that would look like for me and it isn't the pretty pictures I was seeing on social media. Once I got sober, I slowly removed FOMO and replaced with JOMO... joy of missing out.
Otto is totally on board with my new found #jomo
So, I am thankful for the few days of stillness in my house. There were a few times that I had moments of boredom...hence the numerous buzz-feed quizzes. But overall, I tried to enjoy the quite hours alone and not wish them away. For someone who used to not be able to sit alone for more than 20 minutes or so without drinking or being on the move, I think 72 hours of stillness is pretty impressive. I really like who I am becoming. I think I'll keep her!