Today is my birthday – my belly-button birthday, as it’s called in the program. I am officially 42 years old. I have always found that birthdays are a time of reflection, and today is not an exception. I’m not so much looking at the whole of my 42 years, as I am reflecting on just the last year. What a difference a year can make!!
Last year at this time I was trying to navigate a very slippery slope, not very successfully. I was caught in the downward spiral of grief and sadness and self-pity. My husband, sensing that I was feeling down about not being able to spend my birthday with my family, reached out to some of them. It did not go well. At that time, I still had hope that there would be, at some point, a reconciliation of some kind. That door was shut, and my hope was dashed. At first, I thought that it was actually a good thing to have my hope squashed. Living a life full of waiting seemed much more painful than just dealing with the closure that their rejection provided. But, as it turns out, I was devastated. And so I did what any good alcoholic would do: I hid my feelings, put on a game face, tried not to feel, and when that didn’t work, I drank. I threw away the sober time I had because I wasn’t willing to deal with my feelings.
I got drunk on four weekends in a row. I would sober up for the work week, tell myself that I was done drinking and then get drunk again on the weekend. I couldn’t go on that way, I knew that. So I made the decision to go back to treatment. It was the best decision I could’ve made. Once I got to the treatment center, I made up my mind that this time was going to be different. I knew that in order to deal with my feelings I had to be honest, I had to learn to forgive, and I had to learn how to accept things the way they were. I wrote about those things when I had eight months sober, you can read about it here.
So now, a year after the beginning of the end of my drinking, how are things different? I’m not afraid of my feelings. When negative emotions come up, I don’t try to hide. I know that things are the way they are, and if I can’t change them, I let them go. I am honest with the people in my life. While I feel sadness and grief sometimes, I don’t wallow. I use the tools I’ve learned in the program. I’m grateful for what I have, and who I have in my life, and I let them know it. I feel comfortable being me. I even like me, most days.
It occurs to me that the biggest difference on this birthday is….I’m happy.
It’s a happy birthday!
Who would’ve thought?
Maybe 42 is going to be a good year. 🙂
22 thoughts on “What a Difference a Year Makes”
Happy Happy Birthday Jami! You’ve worked so hard to be where you are now. What a wonderful gift to yourself!
Thank you! I had a wonderful day. Just being able to be happy and peaceful was a beautiful gift.
I really needed to hear this. That you drank, and then came back. And, yeah, you’ve worked hard, it shows, and come a long way. Happy birthday! xx
Thank you for the birthday wishes. Yeah, I’m one of the lucky ones that made it back. It’s not easy, but it can be done, and it sure does beat the alternative!
An amazing year lies ahead for you, Jami!! Not wallowing is important. Sounds to me like you had a marvelous day!!
Thanks, Teddi. I did have a marvelous day!
Congrats Jami! Happy. Birthday! What an amazing journey and transformation. Woot woot! Confetti, cake and whistles!
Thank you! 🙂
Congrats and big hugs to you! HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY Birthday!!!!
Thank you so much!
42 is going to be an AWESOME year. I just know it.
Thanks! I think it will be! 🙂
Hey! Loads of birthdays around at the moment. Happy Birthday…You should be so proud of you today! I hope it’s everything you hope and more. Here’s to a fab year!
Thanks Carrie! I think it’s going to be a great year. 🙂
Happy Birthday, Jami! 42 is a very lucky number–it’s gonna be a great year for you.
So happy that you are happy,
Thanks, Christy! It will be great!
Happy birthday, Jami, so sorry I missed the actual day. I hope you had a wonderful day all the way through! You have grown so much in the past year, and your words touch me every time you write, I am so happy to have gotten to “know” you!
Thank you, Josie. I did have a wonderful day. It was able to relax and enjoy the day without any negative emotion. Score one for me! I really appreciate your sweet words, and I’m happy we’ve met too. 🙂