With my parents here, it was inevitable that my inner child was going to make an appearance.
No, not the cranky, needy child, but, the new improved one.
Did you ever have a productive day at school, pass a test with flying colors, get an A+ on a paper, get picked to head the debate team? Remember wanting to run home and tell Mom and Dad? Tell them how amazing you were…what you’d accomplished? Were you ever so beaming with pride that you just had to blurt it out, exuding it just wasn’t enough?
Well, to an extent, that’s how I feel this week as I spend time with my folks. While I’ve done a lot in my life that I am proud of, accolades that I’ve always shared with my family, sobriety is the notch on my belt that takes the cake. I’ve never been so proud of one of my accomplishments. And not because it’s hard, which it is, but, because it’s something that only I can do and gauge. I can go to treatment or AA and have the people there tell me that I’m doing well, but, at the end of the day, it’s only me who can really know what’s going on inside. I am the measure of my own success.
Sure, not taking a drink is a success in its own right, but, that’s not indicative of what’s going on inside me. Those changes you can’t see. The strength. The new found knowledge of self. The spirit of my higher power. The spiritual awakenings that are still resonating in my heart and pumping through my veins. It’s all in there. But, no one can see that experience of recovery.
And, frankly, as much as I want my parents to understand the feelings I have inside, it’s something I’m not sure they can understand. I know that they can feel my happiness in a way they never have before, but, explaining the changes within, well, I just don’t think that’s possible. While they may be able to see the few pounds I’ve lost, they can’t know that those pounds are gone because I spent hours at the gym pounding out my frustration and anxiety. And, that’s something that they don’t need to see.
As I sit here contemplating how to show them what’s happened to me, I realize it can’t be done. What’s inside, is inside. The way that I can show them how far I’ve come, is by carrying on. By my living amends to myself. Because, that’s all they ever really wanted for me. They wanted me to be true to myself. To live my best life. When alcohol was in my life, running the show, I could not have been that person that I wanted to be, to show, my parents. And, now, I can. Not only can I have pride in what I’ve done, but, I can have pride in all the things that I have yet to do. The world of possibility that sobriety has opened up to me is a gift that I can share with everyone that means something to me in my life.
So, another lesson is learned. It’s not about showing my insides for everyone to see. It’s about being true to all those things that live inside me. Being satisfied with what I’ve got, and where I’m going. That’s the gift that we all can share. And, it’s pretty fucking rad.