When I first got sober the only thing that I really wanted was to figure out how to stop drinking and get my life back. It was the driving force behind entering into treatment and if that was the only thing that I got from sobriety that would have been enough. But sobriety has offered me so much more, so much that I didn’t know I was going to receive.
Being sober and involved in Alcoholics Anonymous has given me a new way of life, with new principles and a better understanding for who I am in relation to the world around me. And it has taught me some important truths that I probably would not have learned otherwise. Recovery has also helped heal from trauma that haunted me for so many years.
The first major truth that being sober taught me is that I do not have to be perfect. I am not sure if other people learn this quicker than I did, but for me perfection was always the goal, whether conscious or not. I’m not sure where this need for perfection stemmed from but my ability to accept my failings as a human being has always been lacking. For most of my life, I have been extremely hard on myself, and anything that did not measure up to the level of perfection that I was seeking was deemed a failure.
This thought process is not unique to me, and one of my favorite principles of the program is that of progress not perfection. This has helped me combat to some extent this type of thinking, but accepting this was always difficult for me. It is one of those strange dichotomies of being an addict or alcoholic that doesn’t seem to make sense. In one regard I ruined pretty much everything during my addiction, yet I always sought to be perfect. If I couldn’t be perfect I didn’t bother trying at all. Once I got sober and learned that seeking perfection was a fool’s errand, my attitude changed.
I learned that all that I could expect of myself was my best effort and that if I could honestly say that I tried my best then the outcome was good enough for me. This is not always easy for me to accept but being sober and understanding that I am not perfect has helped greatly in this aspect.
The second major truth that I learned in sobriety was that I actually am a good person. A little over two years ago you could not have convinced me of this, in fact, for the most part, I thought I was one of the worst human beings on the planet. I felt as if I could never be forgiven for the things I did. This changed however once I got sober and I began to see that many of the actions that I took during my addiction were not me, they were uncharacteristic for the person that I actually am.
Learning this truth took some time but when I finally began to see that I actually do care about people and their feelings and that what I want most out of life is to help people and see them succeed, I began to reevaluate my own appraisal of myself.
This was a huge truth for me to learn and going from thinking I was the worst, to thinking that I was actually a good person completely changed the way that I interacted with myself and with others. I found that I no longer berated myself as much, although I still can from time to time, and I also found that I was more forgiving and accepting of others as well. I don’t always operate in the mindset that I am a good person, but for the most part, I am aware today that this is the truth.
The third major truth that I learned from being in sobriety is that I, of myself, am enough. I don’t need to pretend to be anyone else, I don’t need to try to please you so that you will love me, and I don’t need to feel less than every other person on the planet. When this truth truly entered into my understanding my entire world changed.
For most of my life, I felt like the outsider. I felt like there was something wrong me and there was some fundamental lacking that I had to make up for through other’s acceptance. No matter how much I tried to acquire the knowledge that I was enough through other’s opinions, it never brought me the fulfillment that I craved. It was only after I came to realize for myself that I am enough that I began to be at peace with myself.
If you think about it from a logical standpoint, being enough with what you currently are makes sense. I mean why would God, or whatever you choose to call your high power, create a being that was not enough? What sort of cruel joke would that entail making a person, who locked within the essence of their being was not enough for the world? When I realized this, I realized that I no longer had to strive for approval and while I could continue to try to grow as a person, my growth was not contingent on my ability to be loved.
Behind almost all of these truths is the fear that I was not someone who could be loved. I believe that it is most people’s greatest fear: that they are too terrible, too broken, or too lacking to be loved. Getting sober showed me that none of this was true and above everything else I was worthy of love because I was worthy of love. I didn’t need to be anything other than Rose and understanding this, took some of the pressure off of me that I felt throughout my life as I tried to figure out how to be someone else.
I know that if you get sober you will find your own truths and that these truths will transform the world that you live in. This has been the case for all of the people that I have met during my sobriety and I am excited to hear what truths a life of recovery will bring you.
Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.
You can find me on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/rose-lockinger-6a0a23109?trk=hp-identity-name), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/rose.lockinger), & Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/rlockinger/ )