The latest and greatest in excitement? My boyfriend bought us tickets to go to Puerto Rico for two weeks! Of course, as with all things in my life, there are two sides to how I feel. As excited as I am to go spend two amazing weeks on the beaches, in the forests and exploring the cities of Puerto Rico with the man I love, I can’t help but be a little bit nervous. Will it be hard not to drink there? Will I give in to the temptation I’ve been able to withstand these last four months?
Those of you who were paying any kind of attention on Facebook this time last year might already know that the large peer-group excursion to the island was the beginning of the end for drinking-but-still-in-control Seana. There’s not, in fact, a whole lot of sober moments that come to mind from that trip. Can I truly be confident that this year will be different?
I believe that I can. I believe that I am different now than I was then. I am confident that I became a new person in 2011. I have become stronger and more independent in my thinking, more willing to protect myself and my well-being in the face of temptation and peer pressure. I have learned how to love myself in a way that allows me to love others, to be mindful of my limitations in a way that allows people to have their own. I have grown.
The cynic might point out that I said I was a different person last year. Last year I said I could drink and keep it under control. Last year I said I was a better and stronger person than ever before, and certainly in comparison to anything prior to 2008. The cynic would be right. I did say those things. Of course, I was right, too. Then and now.
I do not stand still, have not arrived to some place of complacent perfection. I am still (and forever) changing and learning, growing and shifting. No matter what it looks like in the learning, each lesson lived and learned makes me better. My life may look, at times, one step forward and two steps back, but nothing could be farther from the truth. I might not yet be arrived, but I’m sure not where I started.
While I cannot say with absolute surety that I will not have a drink while in Puerto Rico (I’m still making my way through *this* day), I can say with full confidence that I don’t want to, and that’s more than I could say last year. I can say that I am going to do my best, using the tools I’ve learned over the last several months, to continue to protect my well-being and sobriety as earnestly there as I do here – if not more! I can proudly point to those that I have chosen to surround myself with, one of which is my boyfriend. I know that despite my temptations and any failings, my relationships protect me with love and gentleness, and do their best to keep me on the right track. In 2007 and 2008 I purposefully sought out relationships to feed my addiction. In 2012, I pointedly and with purpose choose relationships that will grow my sobriety.
I look at these things that I know, that I can see clearly evident in my life today, and I think that maybe things are going to be just fine. There’s a street vendor in Guanica that makes the most delicious, fresh juiced pina colada’s, alcohol free. I’m guessing he’s not the only one. Which means there’s one more thing I know for sure: Jason and I are going to find his counterpart in cities all over Puerto Rico.
I’m not big on New Years Resolutions, instead believing that we should resolve daily to be the best that we can be; that if we fail in the course of a day to conquer ourselves and instead give in to our weakness, then the next day (or minute) is the time to try again. However, the New Year does give us a chance to meditate on our passage of growth, to remember who we were the year before in contrast to who we are today.
I encourage you to try this for yourself. Set aside the usual goals that you make on New Years, most of which, if you’re really honest with yourself, have a lot more to do with “keeping up with the Jones’” than actually growing into and beyond your own self. I’d encourage you to stop comparing yourself to everyone around you and start comparing yourself to yourself. Who are you today vs. who you were a year ago? Does any other rule of measurement even matter?
Have a happy and progressive 2012.