Leaving Things Behind


I have started over a lot in my life, and I am finding that I have less energy for doing that now. I know that there are many things that I need to leave in my past and things that I need to work to heal, but thinking about my past makes me anxious. In the past few days thinking about the past has been overwhelming me so much that I have been staying firmly planted in the present as much as possible. I do know one thing- I am not the same person that I was a short time ago.

My old life is slipping away, and I am letting it go. That is scary for me, but it feels good, too. I still have so much to figure out and it takes time. Time and patience. My past is not going to magically be resolved, but I am hoping that answers will become clear to me after more time passes.

I have always been kind of a loner. I have always felt weird about being a loner, like it is somehow the ‘wrong’ way to be, but I am starting to accept that that is who I am. I needed to be drunk to be around a lot of people every weekend. Right now I prefer small groups, being with my husband and baby, or being alone. Going to a party sounds fun, but as a special occasion thing, not a regular thing. I am not lonely when I am alone… I like it. But the guilt and anxiety about liking it is still there. I feel that I should try harder to be with others. I fear that I am missing out.

I also sometimes wonder if I am not blindly traveling down a well-worn path from my childhood. My family always isolated themselves, mainly due to my Dad’s alcoholism, but also due to my Mom’s tendency to enable and spend time drinking, too. We started over a lot as a family when I was a kid… moving to new locations in new cities for a fresh start. We never actually said that we were moving for a fresh start… it was always about money or jobs or something else, but in actuality it was because things had gotten hairy in the place we were living and we needed to leave. I suspect that alcoholism played a huge part in that, but I was too young to understand or pay attention to what was really going on. I just went along with it and learned that you start over when the going gets rough, but maybe you call it something else. You also spend most of your time alone. That is normal.

I have been an alcoholic my entire adult life, too. It is much easier to admit now, but it still floors me. How did that happen? How did nobody notice? Do I really like being alone so much, or am I scared to show people who I really am? I don’t know.

There is a lot of conflicting information about letting go of the past. It is good to live ‘in the now’ but you have to find a way to integrate your past into the now. I don’t want to leave my old life completely in the past, but I am not sure how exactly to bring it into the future either.

I am figuring things out slowly. I am letting go of control little by little. I am realizing that life has plans for me, but sometimes I have to get out of my own way. I don’t have the answers to all of my questions.

I am 180 days sober today, and it feels good.

28 thoughts on “Leaving Things Behind

  1. First of all, Congratulations on 180 days, I’m proud of you. Second, you describe alot of what my childhood was like, so, even though you are a loner you are not alone. It’s not a bad thing to prefer to be alone or in the company of your husband and child. If that’s what you prefer then crowds be damned. You do what you need to do to make you happy. Happy 180 days Jen. You’ve already figured out what’s best for you.

  2. So happy for you–congrats on 180 days!

    In time it gets easier and easier to treat the past like a rear view mirror. Ambiguity and uncertainty get easier too. I guess you just start to realize it doesn’t matter.

    Rilke wrote something about “living the questions” themselves. That in time, looking back, you may find you were living the answers too. (I’ll see if I can find it and post it on daily Words with a wave to you.)

    Congrats again on 180!

  3. Such an insightful post! It IS scary, letting go of the past–it’s almost like, turning around and no longer being able to see your signposts in the midst of a storm. It’s disorienting.

    One thing my counselor told me when I told her some things about why I drank, was about being able to identify “transgenerational issues” and break free of the cycle. I took that to mean, I don’t have to be the overachiever that my dad was, and his dad before that. I can break the cycle. Maybe for you that means, drinking, that could be moving around (believe me, I totally get the desire to leave when things get rough, to start over, and to remain a loner!), that could be any number of things that you want to change. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to like being alone! What I think you see, though, as being “iffy” is a desire to move when it’s not convenient, just to get your fix/fix things? I get that, but I also see how it could pertain to alcoholism, in that, you do what is ultimately easier because you don’t want to change, or confront, or break the cycle? (Just my 2 cents…)

    HUGE congrats on 180 days–awesome…

    • Thanks DDG! I am breaking the cycle in so many ways… I guess I hadn’t thought too much about how the isolation could be part of the cycle, too. I want to live intentionally, not simply survive/get by because I am scared of things. If that makes any sense. I think that will become more clear as more time goes by… hopefully! Thanks for your wise words, as always. xx

  4. Whooo hooo!!! 180 days!!! Happy dance, happy dance!!! Who rocks????? Jen ROCKS!!!

    I am so happy for you!! I feel like we should celebrate with cake, ice cream, and balloons! πŸ™‚

    My husband said something that resonated with me awhile back. He said the alcohol stunted his maturity into adulthood. He feels like he is an adult with the emotional development of an adolescent. If this theory holds true then it will take time to allow yourself to develop into your true potential. There is nothing wrong with enjoying being alone. I want to call in sick to work just so I can be home alone and clean house on my own terms. The world is full of different personality types, and there is room for us all.

    Hugs — You are one awesome lady!!!

    • You are just such a wonderful support… thank you so much. You give a lot, even if you believe you are focused too much on yourself. I don’t think so! I definitely think alcohol messed with my maturation process- that asshat. Now I have to figure it out, and it is slow going sometimes. I think I need to find balance. Having enough alone time, but also finding people/reaching out to those I want to be around in the real world. Thank you for your kind words, my friend! xx

  5. I keep on realizing that, though I think I am who I am, being a person is an ongoing process of becoming. I love that you’re so open to who you’re becoming and where you’re going with all this, and it seems to me you’re doing a great job figuring it out as you go. Congrats on your 180 days. It’s wonderful to see you keeping on and on, doing so well and getting better all the time. Big hug to you my friend! xo

    • Your comment means a lot to me… those are really nice things to say. I am trying to be open to becoming more “me”. The best me possible, if you will. Sometimes I wish I could just wipe the slate clean, but then I wouldn’t be me at all. I am who I am, but I am also capable of change. No big deal! Ha. xx

  6. Congrats on 180!

    I was just talking to a guy tonight about something like this – this thing about being the quieter, happy to be alone type of guy. I felt almost guilty about it early on in recovery, thinking I had to be something or someone else. In the end, I just make sure I am not isolating – that’s a different can of worms, but spending time with myself is something I enjoy. It’s how I recharge, how I engage other things in my spiritual path.

    As for the past – I find it has it’s uses, namely to help others along using my own experiences. I do my best not to hand wring over the past and all the stuff back then, when I have right now in front of me. I spent too much time drinking over what had already had happened, and what was to be, missing what’s then and there in the present. But this is something that you will find in your own way. I know because I was exactly where you were at…and it begins to integrate.

    Blessings, and congrats again πŸ™‚


    • I think it is finding the balance between enjoying alone time and isolating that is important… and where I struggle a bit. You are right, also- I already spent time worrying and drinking over my past. Ha! I never thought about it like that. Luckily the anxiety is subsiding. Thank you for your kind words! xx

  7. a jumping up and down congratulations on 180 days! that is real, copper-bottomed achievement. so happy for you!
    One of the things I am finding hard is not only listening to myself, but trusting what I hear, because for too long the only thing I heard was the strident voice calling for more wine, and that voice was not a good counsellor. Now he is (mostly) absent the little mouse voices are coming out from where they have been hiding all this time and plucking up courage to be heard. Occasionally a mouse leader emerges, jumping on tables and demanding attention, waving his Reepicheep sword. But the mice are not accustomed to power yet and need to learn its uses. I am asking myself ‘does this serve me?’ frequently when one of them makes a bid for sole government and decides that, eg, I should do the Whole30 NOW.
    I guess what I’m saying is that we don’t know who we are under the booze, and that perhaps we do need to be careful while we are finding out. But how exciting to unwrap!

  8. Wow, this is going to stay with me for a while: “I just went along with it and learned that you start over when the going gets rough, but maybe you call it something else.”

    Thank you, and here’s to another 180 x 180 days for you!

  9. Hey Jen! You’re home had a facelift – it looks great πŸ™‚ Sending you the biggest congratulations on 180 days! Massively huge achievement. Like you I like to be alone too. I don’t know if it’s because of my childhood (I think we had pretty similar experiences from what you’ve shared) but I’m comfortable with it now. So pleased for you πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Lucy! I get bored easily. πŸ™‚ Sometimes I think I overshare about my childhood, but it is slowly helping me to resolve it, so I will continue until it feels right to stop. Thanks for your support. xx

  10. 180 days is wonderful. πŸ™‚

    I’m an introvert too. I don’t like parties, or big groups. I hate festivals. And I don’t drink? Hell, I may as well have twelve heads! πŸ˜‰

    A lot of being sober for me has been learning to accept the person I really am, stopping trying to be the version of me I think the world wants to see and being the actual me. You just kind of…..get used to it. It feels weird, and then weird good, and then good because you are weird.

    I’m so proud of you. xoxo

  11. Congrats on 180 days! I was pulled in by your description of your childhood and your preference for being alone. I was sucked back into days of moving vans and boxes. When you move a lot growing up, you learn how to be alone. A loner. I like solitude. With cats.

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