Meghan T is over 781 days sober
For as long as I can remember, I have always been striving to encapsulate myself in a definition. How do I define myself? How can I define myself? I was telling myself this was coming from a place of self development and self growth when really it was coming from a place of desperation for outside acceptance. I was crippled by the idea of being myself, scared to death of vulnerability, and deeply craving connection rooted in who I truly was. That’s where alcohol snuck into my life. For many years I told myself I couldn’t have a problem. I was the straight-A, team-player, multi-tasker. On paper, I had it all – I was it all. Strategically, there was no room for imperfections.
It crept up silently and, gratefully, without an obvious path of destruction. When I drank, I could pick up the pieces I was lacking. I could hold a conversation with a stranger – not completely without the crippling insecurity that drove me to perfectionism, but it would weigh it down long enough to trick them into thinking I was worth speaking to. I could tell a person in my life something real about my experience eloquently enough that it was worth listening to. This was the story I told myself again and again: You’re not actually worth it, but if you work hard enough, you can trick them into thinking you might be. I tried swallowing that story so many times that I finally needed a drink to wash it down.
I can still feel the weight of my body, of my heart, on November 15th, 2014 as I leaned into the tiles of my shower. I clung to each one as if I was trying to keep them from crashing down. I had nothing to give. I had nothing to lose. It wasn’t the worst hangover I had ever had – but it was my body and mind succumbing to neglect. A swirling, overwhelming storm of depression lined with one last push from within calling me to self worth, calling me to listen.
I didn’t declare my sobriety at that moment. Much like my arrival at it, it was slow and snuck up over time. The more I made space for it, the more I was re-introduced to the parts of me that needed nurturing and patience. I found an almost instant pull to creativity. I starting writing for myself, not for performance, not for recognition, but to return home. The words I found were full and true and echoed a voice that had never left, but had just been lost in the story I thought was my own. I found music. I introduced myself to vulnerability through lyrics that poured out of me until they finally felt like they fit. I started listening to my body. I woke up to the resources around in me: my counsellor, my sober peers, my closest friends, my sister. It wasn’t at all once, and it’s never done. My recovery is maturing, but not without growing pains.
Part of my recovery is always arriving at new truths. It’s never static. It’s listening to the whispers of your own evolution. Even when you’re off course, you listen. My space is deeply rooted in the belief that we are all doing the best we can with what we have. That doesn’t mean perfection. I have to constantly remind myself to lean in to my self-worth regardless of my performance. Use your resources. Allow yourself to be pulled towards the example and energy of others that align with what you feel most centred in. Some days aren’t good enough, and simply being in that space with presence and intention is the vulnerable beauty of being awake.
Here I am: 781 days later, breathing through equal parts grief and gratitude. Today, at this moment, I’m grateful for my voice and the open heart to listen to yours, and that’s enough.