Happy Anniversary to ME!

Happy November 11th!

Huh?

(Yes, it is Veterans Day, and God bless our nation’s heroes.)

But today I am celebrating me.

A one-year sober me.

I wrote about my journey to sobriety with fear and trepidation on my dear friend Cindy O’Krepki’s blog back in July.  But I was still so uncomfortable with the admission that I never cross-posted on my own Facebook page.

Why do we assign shame and stigma to our imperfections, despite having done the work to turn our ship in a healthy direction?  

For me, my reticence to “own” my story emanated from a lingering desire that others think well of me.  If I didn’t feel good or comfortable with it (yet), how foreign to consider that others would accept, embrace – even applaud a candid confession!

People are generally much nicer to us than we are to ourselves.

When I drew the line in the sand and told alcohol, “No more!” I fully expected to be immediately rewarded with major weight loss, an argument-free marriage and a dissolution of a host of personal and professional insecurities.

None of that happened (though Universe, I am open to all of that…)

But looking back over my shoulder, I see the places where, previously numb, I am now able to feel; further, to acknowledge the feelings and consciously choose love.

I hurt more.  I cry more.  I question more.

But these are far outweighed by laughing more, taking more chances, surprising myself, seeking adventures, expecting miracles and connecting with others (and myself) in new and deeper ways.

And here’s a HUGE ONE:  I regret less.  In fact, this may have been a regret-free year!

On November 10th, 2013 I couldn’t imagine getting through the week without at least one glass of something.  On November 11, 2014, how glad I am that, day by day, I said “no” to a vice that never offered me anything BUT regrets, and said yes to the possibilities of a new way of living.

I am still saying no, every day – and it is more difficult some days than others – but what has changed is my resolve to remain true to the truth.

For me, alcohol is a lying son-of-a-gun.  It has always wiggled back into my life seductively, just like a player, telling me what I wanted to hear.  “C’mon sweetheart.  You can handle me!  What’s just one…?”

For me, one is a ticket to an early death.  There is no sugar coating this truth.

Saying no is my ticket to the life I longed for, but was too numb to acknowledge, let alone pursue.

And FLUFFI is one of the happiest parts of my new life.

So as I am celebrating this landmark today, I want you to know how fulfilling it is for me to connect with each of you.  It’s freeing to be vulnerable and forthright about my foibles and flaws.  Each time one of you responds with a memory of your own or an insight, my heart leaps.

I sense that I am taking baby steps to my destiny.  (Aren’t we all?)

Those baby steps, of necessity, involve stumbles.  But instead of grousing over them, I say let’s act like proud parents of our own life story.  Let’s get giddy with delight over every little move. 

And let me just add, FLUFFIs, if there is a “thing” (fill in the blank) that you have been  holding on to; a “thing” that you know is not good for you but you can’t imagine your life without:  Please start imagining your life without it.  What waits for you on the other side is beautiful.

Why settle for anything less than a beautiful life It would be a privilege to hear about your “landmark days.”  I will mark them on my calendar and celebrate them with you!

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8 thoughts on “Happy Anniversary to ME!

  1. Kudos, kudos, kudos Brenda. Never had any idea that you were struggling with any problems. You always exuded the utmost of control and ambition and everything that went with it. You did a good job of hiding your “plague” of a problem and now you really can celebrate. Everything old is now new again.
    I will celebrate with you each year I am here. You know you are loved and admired by an awful lot of people who cherish you for many reasons. My sincere love to you.

    1. Thanks for the support, Aunt Joan. It was kind of difficult to be so open about this, but I firmly believe that being honest about even the tough stuff can help another person on their journey… that’s how God “works all things for good.” xoxoxox

  2. “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?” asked poet Muriel Ruykeyser. “The world would split open.” Honest writing & shameless truth-telling is a gift, because reading about someone else’s courage summons our own. Thank you for being brave enough to tell the whole truth about your journey. May your “world split wide open” as you show others the way from brokenness to wholeness.

  3. CONGRATULATIONS! You should be very very proud of yourself!
    I have a date that changed my life forever. Thirty-One years ago, on Labor Day, I quit smoking! I still count each year’s anniversary as a conquest. When my father was diagnosed with lung cancer, he called me on August 26th, 1983. I was a secretary for many years and a very heavy smoker for over 15 years. He said, “I know you’re having a cigarette right now (everyone smoked back then in offices), and I want you to stop.” I remember screaming, knowing that he didn’t have long to live. I said “I promise you, I will.” Two weeks later, on Labor Day, 1983, I quit for good! My father died January 1st 1984. At least he knew that I did quit. That was of some consolation to me.

    1. Somehow I never knew that your were ever a smoker! Well that is an awesome landmark. You are rich with stories, Mrs. Kantor!

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