A sunrise yoga celebration to an anniversary that holds near and dear to my heart. My journey to sobriety began just a short 6 years ago on September 23rd.
I had just jumped out of a moving cab on Las Vegas Blvd and found myself sitting on the curb in front of the Bellagio with nothing on me but my phone and a credit card.
It was 5:30 in the morning and I was watching everything I knew and loved about my life pull away.
As I heard the dancing fountains splash behind me, I couldn’t imagine or see a way out of this.
Hit after hit after hit had come at me for the last 3 years. And as strong as a fighter as I was, the blows to my face proved to be too much for me.
When you think of Las Vegas, you picture nothing but bright lights and loud noise, yet this morning was eerily silent. I was trying with everything in my power to recall what had happened the night before, and every time I tried, the scene went dark.
I felt like a private investigator to my own life.
It was at that moment I had two very clear choices because there was no way I could continue to go on like this.
My kids deserved better.
I deserved better.
At that moment, it was either I jump in front of the next moving vehicle and stop this insanity the easy way OR, I admit I am powerless and that my life was unmanageable. From the outside looking in at a 40-year-old woman that had just done the ‘ol tuck and roll out of a car, you would assume that would be an easy thing to admit.
Not So Much.
I had white knuckled my grip on control my entire life. The thought of letting go terrified me more than the wreckage I would leave behind had I taken that jump into the street.
A power greater than me ; Good Orderly Direction…..GOD…..Stepped in.
My hand reached for my phone, and for the first time in my life I uttered the words…
“Please Help Me…”
When I think back to that moment, it seems like a lifetime ago and in many ways, it was.
My life before sobriety isn’t something I am shameful about. Although I don’t relish in stories of my old Drunkalog, as memories of my life pre-September 23, 2012 come up, I have love and compassion for a girl that was quite literally running scared. Doing what she learned, what was modeled, and even though she knew it was hurting her…she knew of no other way.
Her resilience, strength, and courage got us here….It was time to honor her for that.
Time to do the work.
The work that I had no idea how to do.
The work that terrified me.
The work that required me to wipe out my own “internal hard-drive” and start from scratch.
The work that would require me to walk away from my entire playground of playmates.
The work that would allow that little girl in me to stop lashing out in fear.
The work that would not only forever change my own life but countless others.
The work that would break generational patterns and change that pathology forever.
Moving a pile of bricks from one side of the room to the other requires strength. I was ready to muster up every bit of it that I had left.
Time, discipline, patience.
This is exactly what this work would require.
When you get a new computer and there is nothing on it, no desktop folders with scripts of your life and prompts to remind you to wake the fuck up and un-numb, it is more overwhelming than when you get the notification that you have used up all available space. Starting a clean slate and no instruction book was out of the norm for me, and it terrified me.
Don’t we all pretty much operate with full hard drives most days pounding the keyboards in attempts to make it all work?
Instead of worrying about the storms that come, sometimes we must realize that they come to clear the path and make room for what our purpose is.
It was like a tsunami came. I never saw it coming
I was never one to celebrate my Belly Button birthday. Quite honestly, none of them were great and there was always drama and chaos around them. I am grateful to be alive, and I do from time to time embrace my inner recovered Aries girl,(trust me, she’s still in there) however, the birthday that means the most to me is the one that lands in the fall… The day that I knew without question was singlehandedly the most important of my life.
It is the day that changed EVERYTHING, and from that day forward I will do the endless work to honor and protect it.
Addiction is so cunning, baffling and powerful. I know half-assing recovery never ever ends well. (trust me, I tried…)
In the past 5 years, I’ve spent that day in my own reflection and time of stillness. To be completely transparent, I was always fearful that if I did some type of celebration that I might tank and well, there would be documentation of another one of my failures.
Clearly, I hadn’t gotten my new operating system up to speed yet.
However, that all changed on September 23, 2018.
Year Number Six of coming clean and living clean.
I have done so much to change my life in the last six years. Stuff that books are written about…. Oh, wait, they have been. (wink ;)) Stuff I am sure a movie will be made about. (mark my words)
This year I decided to publicly celebrate my real day of rebirth.
I like to keep to myself most days and stay in my own lane.
I’ve even made “flying under the radar” a professional sport.
But this year I was being called for something different.
My heart was ready to spend a morning with community through yoga and meditation.
It may not seem like much to some, but the thought of opening up my private home which is a place of peace for me was uncomfortable.
It is my sanctuary.
As the sun came up that morning, and my acre of a yard was filled with 50+ yoga mats and one by one people showed up, I felt peace come over me. There was no more of that internal anxiety going on masked behind a fake smile.
I was genuinely happy and filled with gratitude.
Other than my children, who now have a healthy role model in me, I knew each one of these incredible people wouldn’t be in my life had I not taken that scary step into the unknown.
Had I not pushed thru my fear, I would not have the life I do today.
As I took the microphone in my hand that morning, ironically at the same time I sat on that curb a short six years ago, there were no tears. Everything that has gone on in my life lead up to that moment.
That moment I realized that no matter how far down the scale I had gone, my story could still be used to benefit others.
The moment the pain was no longer the purpose.
The purpose was the purpose.
Through my experience, strength and hope, I will always carry the message that at any moment you can decide,
“This stops here. This Stops now. This stops with me”.
And as the calendar flipped, and September 24 rolled around, I woke up as I do every other day, with a heart full of gratitude, and a unsatiable willingness to do the work.
To those that were able to attend the event, I so appreciate you being there. To those that couldn’t make it, I know you were there in spirit.
Over the years, as I have chosen to break my anonymity for hopes that it sheds a positive light on something that can get so dark and help someone else who feels everything is lost.
There have been countless quiet and private conversations I have had with others.
I listen to the stories.
I see the look of pure fear in the eyes of the soul staring back at me.
I feel my love and energy enter her body and give her some hope, maybe for the first time ever as i whisper,
“I was exactly where you are.”
My eyes fill with tears as i utter, “I get it, I was lost for so long…”
She doesn’t always get it. But she believes me.
Most of the time after they leave me, I never know how the story goes.
Not all of them have happy endings, and some have many sequels.
It isn’t my job to know, only to pay forward what was so freely given to me.
The principle of the 12th Step is SERVICE. As much as I know how it helps so many others, these heart-to-hearts are important for me.
They take me out of my own regret. They remind me of my value.
Most importantly, they keep me from losing sight of the hole I crawled out of to get here.
From time to time I glance back to remind be but I never stare for too long.
I will never forget.
If you have something worth celebrating and you too love to do yoga. I encourage you to check out my dear friend Gretchen, fellow sober sister, lover of people, and believer in spiritual healing and owner of the Grateful Yogini.