Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 19 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Friday, December 28, 2018

13 years

I'm not sure why I got it when so many others didn't. Luck? Willingness? Chemistry? Maybe a bit of all three? I don't know, but I'm happy I got it. I'm thrilled and grateful today to be celebrating 13 years of sobriety. Most of you reading this post have no idea what I was like when I was drinking. Allow me to give you a glimpse.

When I was in the thick of my disease, and that includes years of abstinence, I did not know what gratitude meant. I did not understand the word, and I'm pretty sure I never once uttered it in conversation. Humility was even more foreign to me. I certainly didn't understand the concept. And if I was ever aware of the word, I probably thought it had something to do with humiliation.

I was selfish, self centered, and controlling. I figured it was my responsibility to make sure you knew what you should be doing, whether that was as a colleague, a family member, or a friend. I could be a jerk, but if I was, I was sure it was because you caused me to be a jerk. Rationalization was one concept I did understand. I'm sure I often wasn't a pleasant person to be around, but I had no idea.

Since I knew what was best for me, I didn't come to sobriety willingly. Believing in something greater than myself, listening to suggestions from others, and admitting I was powerless? None of those ideas sounded even remotely right. Like I said, I'm still not sure why I got it. After all, I came to sobriety kicking and screaming.

I kicked and screamed for well over a year, if I remember correctly. I'm so lucky the people attempting to assist me, to listen to me, to share their knowledge with me; I'm so lucky they didn't give up. They continued to share their experience, strength and hope, despite my reservations and probably protestations. But for some reason I continued to come back for more.

I guess that's what was required, though, because at some point something clicked. Maybe I became willing? Maybe I gave up thinking I knew what was best, not only for me but for you, too? Maybe I realized I actually was powerless? At some point, I got it. Something clicked, and I began to change.

Sobriety is about so much more than not drinking. For me, it's about becoming a better person, a kinder, gentler person. It's about learning to trust. It's about living life on life's terms rather than mine. Amazingly, when I gave up trying to control everything, I found a freedom like I'd never known before. It's weird, and strange, and wonderful.

I'm amazed to be sitting here 13 years sober today. I'm humbled, and grateful, and happy. If you're struggling, know it's possible. If you're willing, a better life, not necessarily an easier life, but a better life is there for the taking. After all, if I can get it, anyone can.


Wendy Love said...

How wonderfully encouraging and well put! Thanks for sharing so frankly and putting into words what others can't. Congratulations!

Katy said...

Happy New Year! May your new year be filled with lots of running with Jet! My friend and I got up this morning and ran a slow and steady 6 miles. I was so proud of us. We did not want to get up, but I'm so glad we did. Lots of love and best wishes from New Orleans! Katy