Where’s my miracle?

busted up boxThe problems I eliminated when I stopped drinking: My alcohol related problems.

Every other problem, challenge, irritation, life lesson, ache, or issue was still waiting to greet me—without the luxury of a drink. What felt like my life becoming worse with each sober day was the reality of the choices I had made and my awareness of my inability to cope, let alone flourish.

In the beginning, I was satisfied to be sober. It seemed like the “goal” had been achieved. Not only had the goal been achieved, but the thought that I might not be a true alcoholic ushered itself in rather quickly. (My original sober agreement was for one year. Stay sober for one year, get my act together, and then I could go back to drinking like a lady.)

It wasn’t long before the realization hit me—I was a true alcoholic. Stone cold sober for several months and the gravity of my person was painfully apparent. Drinking wasn’t my deepest problem. Drinking had become my catchall solution.

Drinking then became my obsession.

How had all of this happened? How had I slowly slipped away into this delusional world? I remember the 9 month mark the clearest. I was absolutely riddled with pain. There is no way that being sober is better than being drinking. Life has too many troubles to deal with it without drinking. I hate not drinking. I hate this.

What I came to learn was that I didn’t hate life. I hated me. I hated me sober and I hated me drinking. But at least when I drank I didn’t have to feel me—a dismal moment. It was also a pivotal moment. I had to make a decision, a commitment, one way or the other. I was going to endure the confrontation of finding me or I was to return to alcohol; equally horrid options—at the time.

I chose the former but I can’t say I did it without several moments of looking back. Every moment of looking back was a moment I was afraid to be in the now or worried for the near future. And at most moments ‘now’ and ‘the future’ felt the same. I did not yet know how to separate what was really happening from what I knew might happen.

This was the place I had learned to live: Regret for the past, fear of the future, and unable to decipher what was happening now.

There was no way in 9 months I was going to reverse forty years of thinking. I was going to have to settle in for the long haul. This is when my real journey began. It was no longer about giving up alcohol. It was about finding me.

What did I find in sobriety? I was waiting for “the miracle,” what I found was (short list):

  • I was comfortable lying and manipulating.
  • I was a yeller and a rager (w/ and w/o the cops here).
  • I was unfaithful.
  • I was a blamer, runner, and hider.

The miracles weren’t apparent by any twist of my imagination.

And yet I stayed clean. I chose clean.

I kept feeling that which I didn’t want to feel. I learned to have a genuine conversation with myself before the fact—rather than after. (With an I’m sorry trailing every action.)

I practiced being comfortable (while uncomfortable) as I clamored to know the true expression of me. That has taken more than nine months. To date, it has taken 10 years, 4 months, 24 days, and still counting.

I have done two things, every day, in all these days:

  1. Not drink/drug
  2. Work on myself.

Somehow I started to like me. Over time I started to love me. And when I learned to love me I could handle life’s problems, challenges, irritations, lessons, aches, and issues, which are still waiting to greet me—without the heartache of a drink.

Sobriety is a busted, battered package that this born from the bowels of drinking hell. If you stick with it long enough it becomes a beautiful gift from the heavens.

One you’ll never want to trade back.

Go find your miracle.

It’s somewhere in today’s battered box.

44 Responses to “Where’s my miracle?

  • Reblogged this on My Blog.

  • You “WOW” me–every. single. time.


  • This reminds me of one of my favorite sayings… The box the package comes in gets thrown away. My heart swells to know you have thrown away the box.

    • My beautiful Red, What a joy to see the the brightness of your heart shine in the comments box. You are a lovely lady, through and through. I am forever grateful for my moments with you. You taught me then and you teach me now. Thank you for the kindness. xox

  • I love your candour Lisa.

  • “Sobriety doesn’t make life better. It makes a better life possible.” That sounded very discouraging to me, until the real value of those “genuine conversations before the fact”– with self, with sponsor, with others– began to sink in.

    It’s not easy. It never has been. In fact, if anyone promises you “easy,” run in the opposite direction, they’re selling something you do NOT want to buy.

    On the other hand, it’s STILL worth more than we pay for it. And the value keeps accumulating.

    Sobriety is compound interest: After a week, it doesn’t amount to much, after a year, you can just see a little gain, after many years you begin to see the return is way, way more than the initial investment.

    • I love how you say “easy, if someone promises it run.” I have never heard that sober saying. (life saying—really). You always, and I mean always, have an attitude of gratitude. I love this about you. “Compounded interest” the perfect image in my mind. Always great to hear your perspective. xox

      *** Friends: Check out this site Recovery Systems Institute. A plethora of knowledge. The scientific kind. All things recovery.

  • Chris10452
    10 years ago

    this is perhaps your best post ever. fantastic message and very well said.

    • Wow, thank you Chris. I am down to posting once a month due to time restrictions, so I have to cram four weeks of thought into one. Maybe that’s it. 🙂 Thank you for supporting this blog through readership and comments. I want to thank you because long time readers like you have made this blog possible. My love and gratitude, Lisa

  • catlinwellness
    10 years ago

    “Sobriety is a busted, battered package that this born from the bowels of drinking hell. If you stick with it long enough it becomes a beautiful gift from the heavens.”
    This quote sums it up for me. Thanks Lisa for putting into words what it’s like~

    • Thank you for posting a comment. I see the word “wellness” in your URL so I think I’ll get over there today and see what you’re about. Blessings as we all journey together to a better life.

  • It is NO COINCIDENCE that I said to my husband yesterday morning, “I want to tag Lisa on the blog tour thing, but I think she is on hiatus, I haven’t seen a post in a while.” Then, BAM! There you are, with one of your all-time greats. Also interesting: another blogger I follow (And Everything Afterwards) wrote a post either yesterday or this morning that addresses this very subject. I love when we are all in sync with one another!

    So glad to see you smiling face pop up in my inbox, and I hope things are well out on the Left Coast!

    PS… it goes without saying, love the title 🙂

    • Hi cutie, I have been off the charts busy. Good busy. (As if there were another kind 🙂 I’m only posting once per month now, so I have to squeeze all my thoughts into that one post. Glad it was readable and enjoyable. You flatter me with your words. You have done nothing but inspire me for 2-3 years now. (How long has it been?) I am blessed to know you and call you friend. All good on the West coast. I am taking hiatus for the month of August. We are heading for our annual river trip. All sober friends going…yay!

      Before I ask you how you are, I will head over and read July’s posts—today. And soak up some of the miracles from the East coast.

      Even though I am not blogging/commenting as much you are forever on my mind. Please know the admiration is a two way street.

  • I think we might all be things we wish we weren’t but only the strong confront and admit it.

    • That is a beautiful statement … and oh so true. I thought honesty and humility the way of weakness. I am learning that it is the ultimate strength to look and face one’s self. All this time I thought I needed to confront him (or her) now I see I need only face me. Thank you for reading and commenting. You enrich my writing and my world with your honesty.

  • Hi Lisa,

    A very deep and personal blog as always.

    This is the line that reaches out to me today.

    “Not only had the goal been achieved, but the thought that I might not be a true alcoholic ushered itself in rather quickly.”

    I have been reading Alcoholics Anonymous and all of the terrible stories of lunatic asylums, suicidal tendencies and drinking from morning until night have really got me panicking about who I am. Was my problem really that bad?

    After taking stock, and realising that I lost everything due to drink, I quickly pushed those thoughts to the back of my mind. But I know they are going to pop up every once in a while. Perhaps, it’s just procrastination in disguise?

    You are a miracle.


    • It’s so easy to compare yourself with the worst of them. I have done the same. It did not serve my mental state to elevate my lack of severity. I just had to be done. While I see that as a life long achievement, I also see it as a daily achievement, lest my ego suck me under. I like your stock taking. That is real time recovery for me to read. It’s easy, very easy to forget from whence I came. All that horror is waiting for both of us if we choose it. I choose this. I choose these friendship. I choose recovery.

      You’re a miracle too. Me xox

  • The most valuable part of sobriety for me has undoubtedly been getting to know and working on my (true) self. Everything else since has stemmed directly from how honest—or not—I am with myself about myself.

    Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  • i am so thankful for your blog! i find it refreshing, compassionate, and inspirational. it challenges my thinking whenever i read it, and it focus me to reflect. thank you so much for your words.

    • Ohhh, you make me smile. Thank you! You know, we all just seem to grow and change together and it’s a beautiful thing. As you share your compassion with me, I am driven to create and be more. We both win. Lovely isn’t it. Even with all the pain we go through, it’s still so lovely.

  • Love this Lisa! A battered box – yep, that was me. But, man, sometimes the most beautiful things come in those kinds of boxes. Love how you think – and write! Good to “see” you!

    • C.
      Thank you for the sweet words. Good to see you too. My time has been limited with work and kids (summer). I’m down to posting once per month (I think), but I have committed to reading and that keeps me connected. It is a pleasure to be in the company of so much great, creative, and honest writers. You make me (a non-writer, by trade) a better writer. Hope these words find you healing and flourishing. L.

  • You know Lisa, I remember you told me once (a while ago) that you weren’t very good at conveying what it was like as an active drinker / user. I don’t know why I remember that, but it seems to fly in the face of what and how you write. And this is a prime example of absolutely nailing what it was like for me. You portray the deep seeded feelings we had as alcoholics and how we acted out on them. You show this coming through the lens of love now, having gone through the wringer and out to the other side. You continue to progress and yet remember what it’s like. You soar above while keeping that little sachet of what it was like in the chambers of your heart.

    This is what attracts, Lisa. This is why your words are so powerful. And I agree with so many of the folks here – this is one of your finest posts (which is hard to single out, as I mine so much from each of your posts).

    Thanks. Again. And Again. I am seeing this in a new light myself, as I start on a new path on this journey. Today was the perfect day for me to read this.


    • My blessed Paul,
      I do not remember telling you that, however, it’s what I say, and often, so it must be true. Even in this post I do not see the refined description that I read in others’ works. I kind of skim over the details and get to today. I am realizing (again) that we each bring our unique perspective and style to our writing. I feel blessed that folks like reading my words.

      The longer I journey (spiritually connected) the greater my admiration for a state of humility. I need draw no attention to self: I have chosen to draw attention to Love—by living in a place of Love. Any following I have at Sober Identity (OGEL Coaching) is a direct result of this energy.

      I feel blessed with the community we share here—online.

      On a separate note, I see you have become non-anonymous on Twitter. I must say it is nice to put a face with the words.
      with love, Lisa

  • Printing this out to carry in my purse. Your words are so inspirational to me in this early period of my recovery (14+ months). This is another keeper for my “sobriety toolkit”. Thank you so much for all you contribute to my journey.
    Love and Light~Britt

    • Britt, So great to read your words here. I am equally as blessed with support for my sobriety. I remember how delicate those early years were. Keep holding on. Keep reaching out. Keep people you trust close. Someone will always be there for you, but first you (we) are there for our self. And this I see you are already doing. Blessing my friend, Lisa

  • That was the best, clearest, descriptive understandings of our “addiction confusion” between problem and solution- I have ever heard. It is quite easy to see that you have worked your ass off to find that love you desperately needed for yourself. Awesome job and thank you for this piece of helpful truth. I needed to hear this.

    • Thank you for the affirming words. It’s so easy to see the rewards of working our ass off, but it is so difficult to find the courage to do it. That internal battle is one we all face alone. I am grateful for blogging. It has afforded me the opportunity to share with like minded people and grow at my own pace. Thank you for your friendship and support on this blog. It is appreciated. with love, lisa

      • You are welcome Lisa. You are absolutely right. It is so much easier to make excuses and justify to ourselves for the lack of positive change in our lives and ultimately, like you stated- we do face it alone. The quiet thoughts that seem to drive a deep pit in the center of our gut when we know we are driving the wrong direction. Of the many blogs I read, your blogging definitely stands out. You have a gift to translate the Sanskrit language of emotion, (for me anyway lol) to a beautiful and swirling English calligraphy. For me, comedy; or humor is so close to anger that I may think I am feeling humor when in fact it is anger. It is continuous and strenuous training for me to understand my emotions. Just putting a “name” to what I am feeling often seems impossible. Eventually I will learn what I am feeling. When I started this process, I was either happy, sad, or angry. I used to think melancholy was a vegetable. I have come a long way! lol Thank you for responding and I hope you have a great week!

        • This deciphering of emotions you speak of is still unfolding for me also. I noticed it (especially when I was new) but I still do now! Shocking, I know. I really love it though. Thank you for reminding me of more of the stuff I love about life and learning. It gets better and better. Looking forward to getting to know you. Lisa

  • Your words were just what I needed on this oh so reflective day. When the student is ready…..

    • Gray Dandelion, I feel the same way when I read other blogs. I learn and grow and learn and grow and then some more. It’s nice we have one another to journey together.

  • Great post Lisa! Always enjoy reading your posts and comments. :o))

    I always thought of drinking as like wearing a heavy overcoat, which helped insulate everything against whatever life wanted to throw at me. These past 8 years or so of not drinking has meant that I’m no longer wearing the coat and have to deal with these things myself. In that time, like you I’ve found that the real me is OK, that I don’t need to binge drink to fit in, being me sober has helped me find the real me. It’s taken a lot of work, and something that you indeed have to work on every day.

    • I am out at the river reading your comment. Taking a small family vacation. I apologize for the late TY on the reblog. I love your overcoat analogy. As I sit here in the 105 degrees I am reminded that the real me discards that which no longer serves a purpose. Poignant comment to read. I love your sobriety. You always give me words to grow on. So thank you for that as well xo lisa

  • You’re welcome Lisa! Enjoy your holiday and keep inspiring us with your blog posts. :o)

  • “The miracles weren’t apparent by any twist of my imagination.

    And yet I stayed clean. I chose clean.”

    sometimes that is almost as baffling as the active addiction was, you know? the choice to stay clean thru it all, that active CHOICE to deal with life and learn from it and stop hiding from it.
    I’m so glad you made that choice and write so eloquently about it.
    wonderful post

  • I never knew that that. I love you and I love your blog.

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