Well, here it goes…..Though it is and will always be a journey…. today I am one year sober. There is a part of me that gives gratitude to alcohol as it has taught me about the person I am and the person I am not. It has shown me the life I want to live and the life I do not. Of course there is the other part of me that carries shame and guilt and wishes I never ever took a drink. Over the years I started to recognize more and more about myself that wasn’t “normal”. Like after a night of social drinking I would watch everyone go back to their “normal lives” while I would be hiding in my room loathing myself, confused, panicking and unable to face another human being. Withdrawn or unavailable is how I would become during my drinking cycles and oddly enough withdrawn or unavailable is how I have been during my recovery. I suppose the similarities between the two extreme states of mind is trying to sort out hurt, pain, and grief. Alcohol would help quiet the noise in my mind until…..it didn’t. Now I face it all raw which can be just as difficult as the aftermath of booze but at least I don’t have a shit storm to cleanup after anymore. It is still tough. As I acknowledge the past year of my sobriety and the uncertainty of so many things going on in the world….there is one thing that I am absolutely sure of….. my life and everyone in it is better off without alcohol running through my veins. I hesitated posting this as I might be viewed differently or judged but the truth is this is who I am, this is a piece of my journey, and I’ve worked hard to get where I am today. I believe that being vulnerable makes room for growth both in ourselves and others .Here’s to the ones suffering, here’s to finding more help for addiction and mental health (especially in rural areas), here’s to the ones who have lost the battle with addiction and mental health, here’s to the loved ones that are trying to help or who have had to painfully walk away, here’s to more non-alcoholic options at bars and restaurants, here’s to you for taking the time to read this, and most importantly thank you to the ones that continue to support and love me. Thank you to the strangers that have shown up like magical fairies right when I needed them. Thank you to my partner Paul who I believe is an earth angel and my mom who has spent countless hours on the phone with me while I try to figure it all out. Thank you to my amazing dog, Finn and two cats, Lily and Gemma ( also earth angels)Thank you to the ones I called yesterday Thank you to music…..my ultimate saving grace. Though it will always be a journey…..today I say… goodbye old friend.