A sober Thanksgiving

Being free from alcohol makes me see the world in a whole new light

With the holidays among us, I've been reflecting on the many blessings in my life. This year has been a series of ups and downs, of good times and hard times, and overall an incredible learning experience.

Three months ago, I wrote a column telling a little about my struggle with alcoholism. There are no words to do justice in describing the pain I was feeling and the pain I was causing the people whom I loved the most. I had lost myself; I had lost my dreams and my aspirations; I had lost the people I cared about and loved deeply; I had lost everything that made me who I was. And I had lost hope. I thought there was no way out – that the pain I had caused myself and the people I loved could not be fixed.

As I write this now, with three months of sobriety, I am smiling and realizing just how wrong I was. Alcoholism was an unexpected blessing, enabling me to gain strength and to appreciate and marvel in the immense blessings that I have in my life.

I have been given the gift of sobriety, and for that, I am forever and endlessly grateful. I am now able to feel emotions. I am now able to love others. I am now able to see that light at the end of the tunnel, when just a short three months ago, I didn't believe that light existed. I have an amazing God who has returned me to sanity, which in itself, is miraculous.

I have been blessed with a support group at Alcoholics Anonymous who are unbelievable. They are there, day and night, to give me hope and support, or to do something as simple as listen. It is very rare to have such an incredible team fighting with you, standing beside you and fighting for you when the fight gets tough.

I have also been blessed with an incredible family – an incredible mother, father, sister and grandparents who are gifts from God. My mother has taught me more about life and living than most learn in a lifetime.

Since I was very young, I always marched to the beat of my own drum. I enjoyed things many kids didn't: I liked bugs and microscopes.

My mother always encouraged me to be myself and to be the free spirit that I was, and, for that, I am grateful. She raised me and my older sister on her own, and I don't think she could have done a greater job. She loved us unconditionally, through treacherous toddlers to pubescent teenagers, to the young women we are now. She taught us to do the best we could – and that was all she asked for.

My sister is also an absolute blessing in my life. She is, by far, more than my sister – she is my confidant, my best friend and my angel. Her strength in life is contagious, and she has shared it with me and helped me through the toughest of times, picking me up each time I fall, with nothing more than an outstretched hand and a smile.

I still have my friends beside me, which is nothing short of a blessing, considering the pain and continuous heartache I put them through. They are, each of them, my gifts. They have supported me through the darkest of times and have had the courage to tell me the things I needed to hear when no one else could. They stood beside me as I cycled through the life I had been living, waiting at the other side for me every time. And for that, I couldn't thank them enough.

I have a life that has meaning, and a life that has direction. I am again capable of loving myself and others, and am able to live my life with the knowledge that tomorrow will be okay. I no longer have to be scared of living. I no longer have to be scared to wake up in the morning. I have a life that has been blessed beyond words, and I for that, I am forever grateful.

source: Dallas Morning News.