Mark J. Keenan
In a couple of weeks I will clock up eight years of sobriety.
As with previous anniversaries of this date, the day will be approached with self-care and self-compassion.
The day is celebratory. It's a birthday of sorts. And eight is a good age. You can eat a lot of cookies and lollies at that age, and not get sick, or gain weight. Of course, I'm not actually eight-years-old, so I'll count the calories and maybe add in a long trail run to offset my intake.
The day is also melancholic. It's the anniversary of a loss. Not of alcohol, but of a me who was too afraid to face his feelings and thoughts without a moderator. And while I don't regret him being gone, it does feel right to remember how he was around for a long time.
I've learned a lot about myself, and my connection to others and the world, in these years. Sometimes, I think about what things might have been like had I given away alcohol earlier.
But this isn't a useful train of thought.
Firstly, because I didn't.
Secondly, if I had, I wouldn't be the same me as I am now.
(and I quite like this version.....even though he's not perfect, and he likes cookies and lollies way too much).
Talking about addiction with a good friend a couple of weeks ago, he quoted his mum to me.
'It's all there, you just have to take it.'
She's right. And, even though I didn't have these words to guide me eight years ago, I am glad I somehow managed to do it anyway.