We all have standards right? Baselines that we set for ourselves and insist we won’t fall below. These standards become our ‘code’ that we live by. A lot of the time, we form these standards unconsciously, but alarm bells ring in our heads when we approach them. It could be the wide eyed stare at the scales when we realise we are fast approaching a weight heavier than we have ever been before. Or when you realise it’s been 2 months since you’ve checked in on a grandparent.
It is our close proximity to these baselines that jolt us back to our senses and gets us back on track. This was one of the scariest parts of alcoholism for me. Reaching that baseline, but finding it acceptable, so resetting it a couple of levels lower.
You find yourself acting in ways that were previously unacceptable to you. You give yourself excuses as to why this new baseline is tolerable. ‘I was being too uptight’, ‘everyone else does it’, ‘the world’s changed’. Except it hasn’t. Nothing has changed. You just bend your rules to quieten your mind.
Slowly but surely, with a bend of a rule here, a lowered standard there, your life morphs into something unrecognisable. You didn’t notice it happening, because the transition was so drawn out. Your life that had so much happiness, energy and hope is a memory.
How did your life get to this? When did you choose this path? When did this existence (because that is all it is) become good enough for you? When did it become normal for a bottle of wine not to be enough? When did it become usual to wake up in the morning not knowing if you’ve argued with your partner the night before? When did it become satisfactory to get drunk in front your children?
In sobriety you can chuck those baselines out the window. You swap standards, for goals. You trade limitations, for aspirations. The possibilities are endless, your potential is boundless. This life is worthy of you. Welcome back!