Note from Jason: Please listen to Natalie’s interview on The Better Human Show. Natalie is an inspiring human being whose story holds important lessons for us. She shows us that exposing our demons to the light is the best way to exorcise them from our lives forever.
I was absolutely terrified to live without alcohol. It had become my best friend, my companion, my comfort, my band-aid for all the wounds I suffered and created. I was terrified that without alcohol I wouldn’t have any identity at all because I was always drinking to keep hiding in the shadows of who I had become. The fear of living without alcohol had weighed me down so completely that I could never have enough around me, just in case, and it was just about all I could focus on. I always had to make sure I had enough, even when it wasn’t working for me anymore. It had come to the point where I didn’t know how to live with it or without it and I had become frozen in time if not to only keep going backward.
May 8th 2008 was the worst day and the best day of my life. Briefly, let me explain why it was the worst; I had been arrested for my 3rd Dui with my 8 year old daughter in the car. This also resulted in me getting my 2nd felony charge, a charge for Child Endangerment and a long custody battle. I used to drink over anything. I would drink if I lost a damn pen and now I was going to have to survive through all of this sober.
Now let’s get to the beauty of it all. I want to share with you the 5 most magnificent and divine things that sobriety has given me.
If I had never surrendered to my addiction I wouldn’t have been able to discover who I truly am. I had come to the realization, after some time of course, that I am not my disease and I am also not my past. I am confident, I am passionate, I am fierce, I am humble, I am gentle, I am free, I am loving, I am intelligent and I am strong. I am. Who was I to think that I came into this world to only be devalued by myself and others? Who was I to think that I didn’t have anything to offer myself, my family, or even strangers? I had learned to love the NEW version of me and let go of the past, the shame, the guilt, the resentment and the judgement of others. I finally came to the realization that I had more love to give and receive once I had started loving myself, and we are all supposed to loves ourselves first. Once I was able to love and forgive myself I was able to be the mother my daughter deserved.
I am not powerless over alcohol because I have the choice to not buy it. I was literally amazed myself at how much control I had if I just didn’t put it back in my system! Now I have the ability to control the things that I can, to make more mindful decisions, to lead the life that I want to live and surround myself with those who want to see me flourish in life. I have also found that I have control over which thoughts I give the most attention to; if the thought feels good I let it linger as long as I can, and if it doesn’t I quickly switch gears. Finally realizing that what thoughts I give the most attention too predicts my mood, which predicts circumstances in my day and life is a power that we all have and life treats us beautifully when we focus on the good!
Something beautiful happens after you literally die inside and come out with a new awakening. To see the world with clear eyes, an awakened soul and an open heart that isn’t shut off any longer because of all the pain previously endured. I am able to now focus on the important things, the things that truly matter in life instead of stressing out about everything and nothing all at the same time. It’s very lonely when you feel that you are the only one battling so many demons, but we all have pain and we all have the ability to help each other heal. With my new found clarity I was able to take the focus of off the pain of my past and live in each moment, to live in the Now.
Every day I get stronger and stronger and it’s not from building up walls, it’s from tearing them all down and dealing with everything that was holding me back all these years. It’s hard to be afraid of much now because I continually work on the on myself and how to come up with solutions when a problem arises instead of the problem itself. In addition I was able to stop worrying about what everyone else was doing, thinking and gaining. By doing this I was able to put the focus back on me and what changes I needed to make and the strength that I had to get though them.
I find it hard to believe that all of this has been for nothing. As a matter of fact I know it wasn’t. The best thing that sobriety introduced me to is all of my purposes. Not just as a mother or a wife or a sister but as a contributor to society on a whole new level. How could I possibly hold onto what was given to me and not spread it on to others? I am here to love, to inspire, to enlighten, to encourage, to find the joys in life and help others find it too.
Reprinted with permission from Sober Soulful Living