Friday I quietly celebrated four months of sobriety. I usually keep my husband abreast of such milestones, but -like most days now- I questioned my motivation. Why was it so important for my husband to know? Should I just download my sober tracker app to his iphone so I don’t have to remind him? Nonsense. I’m finding while I am proud of myself- this takes work- I don’t NEED bells and whistles, high fives, flowers.
I already have them inside of me. This journey began as a way to salvage my marriage, to earn back the trust of my best friend.Even though I have only been sober for 4 months, my dear husband has long forgiven me for my alcoholic ways. (The man is a saint and clearly NOT an alcoholic; we harbor resentments for decades.)So, I take time now to think about what’s important and I can name a few standouts. This is not inclusive; for each day, I am more and more grateful for the second chance my Higher Power has afforded me. But when I take a clean look at the “garden”, here is what I see.
It’s multi-faceted. I don’t have one standout in the bunch, rather a collection of some hardy, some fragile, some poignant, some thorny. Much like my flowers in my garden, my feelings come in all shapes and sizes. Some days, I have more emotions than I know what to do with; others are like a quiet passing of a soft breeze. I like to think of my new found sober habits as my season showstoppers which I certainly hope are perennials. Remembering, clear-headed thinking, self-care all fall into this category of favorites. Some of the more dainty areas include my Fourth Step work: times which expose the shame, guilt, resentment, fears but necessary all the while. Those, as far as I’m concerned, can be annuals; I don’t care to replant them anytime soon.
But my garden is not limited to a corner in my yard; it truly surrounds my property. Similarly, my sober sowing takes place all around me. I can see the positive effects like daffodils dancing in the sun in my children’s faces. They know I am present now and we are enjoying this time. But, as with any true garden, I cannot plant this and walk away. I tried that once and the weeds took over before the Mantis came in the mail. The crazy who-cares-this-is-all-a-loss-anyway-waste-of-my-time-kind of a garden sounds like how I viewed my life before I got sober. I liken my drinking days to me acting like a bee buzzing around waiting to sting the next victim, searching furiously in the flowers for some life I can suck out of something or someone and move on without looking back, without caring if I left it in ruins or if I took away the part that was the sweetest from someone I said I loved.
I also have to be careful to add the right amount of water (balance) and fertilizer (AA meetings, therapy, sponsor help) to recognize my efforts alone are not going to keep the growth of beauty in tact. I must rely on the other master gardeners in my life and follow their expertise, the path they have already paved for me in order to maintain what I have.
So, today- one day at a time- I sow my garden. I look to be gracious; I seek out those types of flowers I want to surround myself with. I recognize that the beauty I get to soak in every day- my husband, my children, my home, my job, my security, my health, my happiness- are all available IF I do the work. Slipping into a complacent-who-cares-about-weeding attitude will not keep my garden in tact and will leave me vulnerable to “root worm.”