Every year, Mental Health America (MHA) gathers information about the state…
A few days back, I went for a walk. A long one. One that stretched the span of a few hours and wove from the boardwalk, out to the pier, and took me wrapping around the marina until I met back up with the looming oak tree where I started. It was with my back laid up against the bark and my feet straight out in front of me, that the feeling arrived suddenly, right at the end, like an unexpected but hugely welcomed twist.
The feeling was gratitude. The feeling was the sudden realization that the guilt I so often felt any time I let my brain go idle, whenever I gave myself permission to let my thoughts trip onward into territory unspoken for– wasn’t there. The crippling fear of allowing myself to be unproductive and alone with my thoughts… was gone.
A milestone moment. I didn’t need to block my busy day with a strong-armed attempt to ward off the ravenous addictive voice in my head. I could simply exist.
Fall in New Jersey is always special because it represents a unified deep breath. The benny’s have returned home. The beaches have cleared out. And the sound of the waves crashing against the sand no longer competes with the club remixes oozing from local bars. Collectively, bodies fill with the anticipation of the cooler , much crunchier, season ahead. Everything quiets. Life becomes still.
Unlike the Many Octobers prior, this season I too got to experience that sought after release of tension. The calm after the storm. The deep breath.
The serenity of letting go and allowing myself to relish in the environment I was moving through~ spoke to the interior lining of my soul. Not the darker corners of my brain~ which for a long time I had convinced myself was broken. Much different from my stages of early recovery, I can now rest. I can celebrate the mundane in all of its glaringly obvious beauty. Sobriety has blessed me not only with the ability to take a break but has shown me the true power nestled in doing so.
If there is a banner sentiment with which I am walking into the next stage of my life, it is: sobriety is a genesis of serenity. Taking breaks is necessary and fantastical. Life shrinks and expands in indirect alignment with one’s courage, and through faith all things become possible.