step one

We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol –

that our lives had become unmanageable.

When I was about 18, fresh out of high school, muddling my way through community college and trying to figure out what I was supposed to do with myself, I wrote me a letter. I can remember sitting at the computer in my mom’s room, a bright sunny day in peaceful suburbia. I knew something was wrong, and even in my distance from myself I knew that writing the words out would help me process and find them.

‘Dear Sarah, first of all, you’re most likely an alcoholic.’

Boom! I knew it even then! The first part of the first step was obvious to me before I could even legally drink. Before I knew what a first step even was.

I knew I didn’t drink like other people. More importantly, I knew I didn’t stop drinking like other people. Most importantly, I knew I was missing an important something. Nowadays, I call that vacancy my Soul Hole.

And I’ve only recently learned that this was the key to the second part of that first step.

It has been my modus operandi in life to attempt to fill said Soul Hole. I’ve tried; being a ‘good kid’, making money, reading lots of books, alcohol, getting good grades, boys/men, being ‘cool’ so that people would like me, food, finishing school, sex, work, marriage, housekeeping and motherhood.

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None of that shit works. Because ultimately, my life IS unmanageable. As in, not able to be managed. Because life is not for managing. It has to be lived!

And living is messy and hard and uncomfortable. But also beautiful and exciting and joyful!

And so I cannot numb myself to any of the things if I am going to have a real life.

I must eliminate the alcohol (or TV or crack or whatever I’m trying to fill the hole with), and be open and available to life as it is happening for me right now. That is the only way forward. To feel all the feels. To open up my heart, expose the Soul Hole to all that is available, and trust the universe to fill it up with good, hard, lovely living.

It’s scary! But it’s exhilarating! That first step seems so simple, but it’s really huge.

It might even be a leap.

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