I didn't feel disconnected from myself when I was drinking. I thought I was in touch with how I felt and who I was. It wasn't until I took the alcohol away and grew to really understand myself, that I realised how cut off I had been.
Crazy isn't it? I had lived inside my head for 39 years and thought I was knew myself, but now I know I didn't at all. How could I? For all of my adult life I'd never given myself the time and space to connect inwardly. I'd never sat fully in my emotions for long enough to truly figure myself out.
Instead, I was always reaching for the bottle to ease my moods. Drinking steadily through the days, weeks & months - and always more heavily in the tough times.
As a result, I realise now, I never really, truly understood myself. I hadn't been with wide open brain for long enough to properly process my thoughts and feelings. I blurred things, complicated things, numbed things, avoided things. Constantly.
For all the years I was a steady, regular drinker (20+ years), I didn't realise what a massive impact this was having on my overall experience of life. On my connection with myself. I had no idea. Until, that is, I took the alcohol away.
Now that I live with a wide open brain 100% of the time, never altering my brain chemistry, never 'taking the edge off', never numbing or avoiding, I've had no option but to connect in more deeply with myself. It's been incredible, amazing, eye-opening, grounding, calming.
I can type these words out to try to explain to you how differently I feel now, how much better I know and understand myself and what a positive impact this has had on my life. And you can read them and try to understand. But only if you really experience it yourself will you know exactly what I mean. Some of you reading this already will, because you'll have experienced it yourselves. The rest of you who aren't quite there yet - I truly hope you try.
Connecting with myself has been without a doubt the Number One joy of my sobriety. And watching how this ripples out to all the connections I have with the people around me is Number Two. My connections with my family, my connections with my friends, and my connections with other people in recovery - like you lot here at Living Sober! - they're all rich, meaningful and rewarding.
Connection is what sobriety and recovery is all about. And it's a glorious, glorious thing.
Mrs D xxx