Today I'm celebrating a milestone in my freedom from alcohol, 500 days, and it seemed like a good time to start this blog. Sobriety has given me the courage to be vulnerable, shown me how to be grateful in the wake of loss, and taught me to be an objective observer when my very human mind starts its story-telling. I wish I could say I’ve mastered all of these skills and that the last 16 months—and the five years of effort prior—were smooth sailing, but recovery is a practice. It means being present and living an examined life. It means connecting with others, even when I don't feel like it (and I usually don't). It means dragging all my demons out of the darkness and watching them burn up in the light of day. Or melt like the Wicked Witch of the West.
Dragging out those demons, kicking and screaming, is a scary process, but sharing our struggles with others is helpful to both them and us. It creates a real connection, which I've learned is the opposite of addiction. I've read and listened to a lot of Brené Brown lately, and her work on shame teaches that in order to connect, we must allow ourselves to be vulnerable, and vulnerability can only come through courage—the courage to share our stories of struggle without shame or fear.
So on this 500th day, I'm starting this blog. I don't know how often I will write, but I believe it will strengthen my resolve to not only maintain my sober life, but also be a better human being.