Lotta Dann, ‘Mrs. D’, placed the seeds of change in my head. Her diary approach with Mrs. D Goes Without was a key component in starting me down the path.
Clare Pooley’s blog and book The Sober Diaries gave me the final push to choose both sobriety, and to blog about it.
This particular passage by Clare touched me —
“A friend once told me that if she has to make an important decision (like whether to accept a marriage proposal or a new job), she looks at a picture of herself as a child, looking all fresh and innocent and smiley, and asks herself ‘Would I want this for her?’
I brave the Pit of Despair and find a picture of myself aged about ten. I look hard at that little girl, all sparkly eyes and unshakeable belief that the world held all sorts of possibilities, just waiting for her to come and grab them. And I think ‘would I want her to drink a bottle of wine a day? Would I want her to waste all that talent and enthusiasm for life in an endless cycle of getting over the hangover and waiting for the next drink?’.
I let her down, that little girl. And now I have to make it up to her. So then I think What did she LOVE back then? What made her heart race faster?
Now I have the strangest sense of having come full circle. I’ve travelled miles over the last eleven months, and yet I seem to have ended up back at the beginning, back with the girl I once was.” Clare Pooley
And now here -I- am at almost eleven months!!!!
So today I share two things with you. The painting above is my work at the age of eight years of age. I recently discovered it in my mother’s precious things. I marvel first that my dear mother had held on to it all these decades; and I feel a glow of childish pride that she did. And I also marvel at the fairly sophisticated imagining of New York City. Colorful, tall buildings, rather large black birds (!), and bustling streets. Little did I know that I would travel to this wonderful city many, many times in my career and personal life. When I look at that painting now, I think I want to get some of that creativity back! I see joy and adventure and color in there! I framed the painting to treat it as the important work of art that I consider it to be. Thank you my precious mother.
And here is a life-defining photo. It’s a thirteen-year-old me arriving back from staying three weeks with a family in Mexico City. My mother, who feared traveling, had put aside her fear and helped me go through a stringent vetting process to become one of the small group of students chosen to participate in this student – and cultural – exchange event. Arriving back from my trip, unseen to the naked eye, is me bitten hard by the travel bug.
And I ask myself this.
“I look hard at that little girl.. with an unshakeable belief that the world held all sorts of possibilities … Would I want her to waste all that talent and enthusiasm for life in an endless cycle of getting over the hangover and waiting for the next drink?’. .. I have to make it up to her … what did she LOVE? What made her heart race faster?”
Sobriety has cleared the mist – and helped me pick myself up from very dark and difficult times that I allowed to grind me down.
Sobriety is helping me get back in touch with that creative, sweet, joyful wanderlustful girl.
No time to waste!
I want my heart to race faster!!!
And that has been the greatest gift of all from sobriety.