Day 26: The Border Crossing

When alcohol was a constant in my life, boundaries didn’t exist.

Any rules I’d made for myself went out the window after the third drink, sometimes sooner.

When wrapped up in my addiction, I’d set rules for myself all the time. Most of them pertaining to my local pub, which is where I spent the majority of my time. I swore I wouldn’t talk to certain people. I promised myself I wouldn’t do more than X amount of shots. I’d told myself that I’d only drink there on nights certain bartenders were working. But, inevitably, I would not abide by any of the rules I’d formulated to keep myself in check. So, each morning began with a wicked hangover and a long list of regrets.

These days, as I move forward in  sobriety, everything is vastly improved. And, it’s a) because I’m not drunk and b) I’m not in the same places I used to be while I was drunk. Abstinence removes a lot of that stress, obviously.

Now, the new challenge is to establish boundaries and borders in sobriety. I am so used to breaking my own rules that, it’s been hard to navigate the situations that exist in sobriety as well. Relationships. All kinds of relationships: friends, family, lovers. There is a whole new level of variables, some that did not exist before, and some that have come along for the ride.

New situations are somewhat easier, I can approach friends and family members about my treatment and involvement in AA, and set my boundaries with them. Let them know what’s ok with me and what isn’t. Draw on my rigorous honesty to help me explain my circumstances and lay down the ground rules.

It’s the old habits that die hard. Especially when it comes time to put yourself out there on personal or romantic terms. Alcohol was responsible for helping me to make pretty poor choices on that front. And, in sobriety I want that to be different. This time around, I want to make better choices. And, within that smaller chasm, make sure that certain things occur the way I want them to. And, if they don’t, I need to have the courage to open my mouth and say so, or, if it comes down to it, just walk away.

Drinking made it very easy for me to put myself in uncomfortable situations, and then, while in those moments of discomfort, tell myself that I’d put myself in that situation, so, there was no way out. I had made it so, and I had to take what I got. In sobriety I have recognized that, in any situation, at some point someone is going to cross a border you’ve drawn. And, it’s going to be uncomfortable. Despite that discomfort, I’m now responsible for using my clarity of mind to change or walk away from a situation I’m not ok with, regardless of how I ended up there.

It’s a difficult space to walk around in; This being ok happy with the results from the program is still very foreign, but, being aware that, with that happiness, there comes a whole new set of rules. Rules that are not up for discussion. No wiggle room.

I have new borders to defend. And, it’s time to beef up homeland security.

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