I am loving feeling ultra connected at the moment. Connected to life without a filter warping the view. Connected to people without the burden of expectations. Connected to myself without the pain of guilt and regret.
All of this I put down to sobriety. It turns out that for me, the short term high of drinking gave way to a mighty long-lasting, almost constant, low. The trouble is, being in that time, in the cycle, it is incredibly difficult to imagine getting out of it, even when realise you want to.
So the challenge of the how comes to define the why – or rather why not – to a degree. At least it did for me. The low is like a background hum that changes pitch only after a particularly extravagant bender, dropping you into a deep well, with slippery, vertical sides, the light such a long way up. The easiest option is to opt back in, quickly. Until the opting in stops being optional.
Understanding and admitting this, connecting honestly with myself is central to moving forward. But so too are connections with others. If felt as though the universe was colluding in this theory last week as every day saw another meaningful conversation.
Some could have been challenging; the first meeting with someone since I began ‘owning up’ always contains an element of anxiety for me. But the love, the warmth, the unequivocal support I’ve received is far and away the best silver lining of this decision.
I have enjoyed planned walks, impromptu phone calls, delicious coffees, unexpected live messaging on FB and snatched intense ten minute chats on the corner of the street. Without exception, my heart has felt gladdened each time, my soul uplifted, my determination strengthened.
These soul-nourishing interactions have reminded me that we are all capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for, if only we have connections to anchor us, people to shore us up when we need it and, so importantly, the courage to reach out.
Now I have three weeks of reconnection in the UK. I have day trips and nights out planned, long overdue meetings with friends, our partners and offspring and of course family. I can’t wait. Without connection what is there?