Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Re-Birth Day

Three years ago, today I had my last drink; 18 drinks to be accurate.

On January 15 2011, I twisted the cap off the last bottle of beer I intended to ever drink and I said goodbye to a constant and loyal companion. So what if that companion caused me trouble and complication? The drink was always there for me when I needed it, but because our relationship had changed over time I saw that it was necessary to end things. With a heart made heavy by doubt and uncertainty, I placed the last empty bottle on the kitchen counter with the 17 others that came before it and passed out for the last time.

 The days, weeks and months that followed that night took courage to live through. Remaining committed to sobriety wasn't a walk in the park, but as those days have passed and led to this day, it has gotten easier. I remember hating hearing those words from people "it will get easier", but they were right, they knew it wouldn't always be the "in the trenches", "tooth and nail" struggle it was initially.

Much has happened in three years. Sobriety and life are not mutually exclusive and as such, while I was busy being sober, life has happened. Three years ago, when I first quit drinking, I left home and went to a residential addiction treatment center, planning a 28 day stay. It was during this time that I attended the only two 'A.A.' meetings that I have ever been to. It was there that I learned that to remain sober, the only thing that had to change was everything. I should take this opportunity to share that I am a rehab drop out and did not even complete the first week of the program. I quit and came home, but I did not drink.

The notion that sobriety was dependent upon making changes to my entire existence, was overwhelming. There were so many fixed attributes to my life that couldn't just change and I felt resentment toward the idea.
As I look at what defined me 'then' and what defines me 'now', I have to admit, they were right again. Little of my life today is the same as it was three years ago. Sobriety and change are also not mutually exclusive. While I was busy staying sober, my life was remodeling itself, piece by piece, a bit at a time. My health has changed, my hobbies have changed, my hair color has changed, my diet has changed, some of my friends have changed and my job has changed.

The best change I made was deciding to pick up running again. This addition to my recovery plan was the foundation for building a new life that did not include alcohol. Through running I have discovered the best parts of myself. Parts of me that were being drowned by alcohol have buoyed to the surface and parts of me that I didn't know existed are flourishing. Running has allowed me purpose, has shown me that I am strong
and determined and has provided me an outlet for my obsessive personality. As running is to drinking, I am an 'all or nothing' kind of girl. When I drank, I was all in and as I run, it's all I want to do. Running is not something I do, it is who I am and it is not by talent that this is so. I don't run because I can do it the fastest or the farthest, I do it because I don't have to be either of those things to be able to call myself a runner.

Because I am sober and because I am a runner, I have come upon some opportunities within the running community that would not have been possible if beer were part of the equation. I have been a part of some pretty cool opportunities through iRun as a running blogger and Canada Running Series as a Digital Champion for Toronto Yonge Street 10k and the Scotia Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

 A new opportunity was presented to me last week that overwhelmed the sober pants off of me. I can't wait to share this news with everyone, possibly as soon as later this week. I truly cannot believe all of the great things that have come to me, all because I am not a frequent flyer at the liquor store anymore. It's like positive reinforcement..."stay sober and good things will happen".

I am happy to think that during the year, I get to celebrate a birthday, like everyone else, but then I also get to celebrate a re-birth day. Thank you for joining me today as I observe my re-birth day and stay tuned for
whats's to come :)

Happy New Year and all the best in 2014!

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