Today, I am almost 4 years sober and my life could not be more radically different than it used to be. I can honestly say that I am living a life I do not want to escape from. Not with a pill, or a bottle, or a boy, or a job, or an identity. I want to be here, in this moment, every day, for the end of days, exactly as I am.
by Lara Frazier, Clean Recovery Centers
I am present, purposeful, awake, aware, and conscious of my life and all lives around me. I see my sobriety as a brave, empowering, courageous choice. Sobriety is not a terrible consequence, or a punishment, or a life reduced to boredom and dissatisfaction. I am not missing out on anything.
By giving up one thing, (my addiction), I have gained absolutely everything. Serenity, pleasure, joy, self-actualization, inner peace, and completion. These are all gifts that were given to me as a result of my decision to get sober and remain sober.
Sobriety is my superpower.
Last Thanksgiving, I was sitting at the kitchen counter with my mother and father and telling them how 2016 had been the hardest year of my life. My dad laughed at this, and said “Lara: remember your addiction?”
Yes, those years were hard. But, I wasn’t present for those years. And if anything went wrong it was another reason to use. Same goes if anything went right, it was another reason to use. The simple truth of my life in the 5 years of my addiction is this: I used drugs to avoid my life.
I don’t do that anymore. I don’t avoid my life. Even when it is hard and even when it sucks and even when the last thing I want to do is sit with my pain, I still do it. I do it because I know the consequences of moving away from pain and they aren’t pretty. I also know the benefits of sitting with pain and they are beautiful. I build strength and resilience and an ability to handle unexpected obstacles without collapsing in the face of distress.
When I look back at all the terrible things that occurred in 2016, all I really see now is a woman determined to live in her truth – practicing grace and integrity in every step. In my sobriety, I have been hurt by business associates I trusted; I have been broken up with by men I loved; I have been physically threatened because I uncovered truths and my principles told me that they were not to be denied; I have had best friends leave me and disinvite me to important events. I have been hurt.
We have all been hurt. But, in sobriety, rather than throwing myself on the floor and crying out “why me?,” I do the things that I know will help me. And I don’t run from my pain.
There are lessons to be had in every experience. Sobriety taught me that I am not God. It has also taught me to stop making other people my God. I do not subscribe to the belief that there is one way to recover – nor do I believe there is one way to do anything. The great philosopher, Nietzsche says, “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”
There are multiple pathways to recovery. I have learned to spend much less time arguing about which way is right and instead focus on what works for me. Today, I stand tall in my truth. I know that in my defenselessness, my safety lies. As my teacher, Holly Whitakers says, “It is not your job to convert people to your way of thinking. It is your job to speak your truth so that other people may find theirs.”
I have faith that everything that is happening in my life, is happening for me, not to me. Every time I was hurt, I turned to my soul and to my God, and said “thank you.” Every time I was rewarded, I turned to my soul and to my God, and said “thank you” This means that I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that everything that is put in my life, bad or good, is to help me grow.
I also know that there is nothing wrong with me.
Rebecca Campbell says “Bless the thing that broke you down and cracked you open, because the world needs you open.” My addiction was not a reason to live in shame, or blame, or misunderstanding. I stopped asking “why me?” when it came to my addiction and instead started saying “Thank God I experienced that addiction.” Because my addiction, and what it led to – my sobriety, is the reason for everything good in my life.
It is the reason I am in love with the man of my dreams. It is the reason I cry tears of gratitude, almost weekly. It is the reason I have discovered the power of family and unconditional love and do not take a minute of that love for granted.
Sobriety is the reason I can leave the table when love is no longer being served. It is why I can put down a book I don’t love and leave a movie I don’t like. It is why I do not say yes when I mean no. It is the reason I have come to know so many of my teachers, my friends, my universe, and my God.
It is a thousand tiny miracles wrapped up into one big miracle. It is the gift of being awake and being able to experience joy and gratitude in the simplest of moments. Like when I watch my pig Peaches, play in the yard and chomp on grass and wag her tail.
I am full of life. I am full of a life I do not want to escape from. I have created a life that is full and fulfilling and I never want to leave this life.
Sobriety has taught me how to own my story, how to be vulnerable and authentic, and therefore, real. Sobriety has shown me who I truly am. It has allowed me to shed layers and grow new ones. I am fiercely proud of my sobriety and I tell it to anyone who asks, and even those who do not ask. Because, it is the one thing in my life, that I am, without a doubt, proudest of.
Sobriety truly is my superpower.
Lara Frazier is a truth-teller, a sobriety warrior and a writer. She is a FIERCE believer in the power of owning our stories and is a strong advocate for addiction recovery. Lara shares a story of healing: in sobriety, through addiction, in life and love, and in all the other big huge moments of fear and magic that we rarely talk about, but we should. Find more of Lara’s work on her website at www.larafrazier.com or follow her on Instagram @sillylara.