I’ve been pretty non existent on the internet as of late. I mean, I’ve been there but posting has seemed to take more energy than I currently have for such things. Normally, I like to post at least once a day and I’m excited to pull out my camera but I’ve been dealing with some intense grief lately and everything just seems dull and not terribly interesting. I know this feeling will eventually pass and I will be back to posting frequently, but this is just where I am currently.
I felt this would be a good time to talk about something quite personal to me, my sobriety. My recent grief stems from a dear friend from my past passing away and while they didn’t pass from alcohol itself, their struggles didn’t make anything easier. In fact, it complicated things very heavily. My struggles aren’t the same and I wouldn’t say anyone’s struggles with substance abuse are the same, though they may have similar paths at times.
Currently, I’ve been sober for over 7 years. In most recovery circles, this would be a big accomplishment but for me, it’s not much of an achievement. Not because I take that time lightly, but because I’ve barely worked to make that time slip by. I came to sobriety of my own accord and it’s hard to explain, but it felt like a switch was turned off. Alcohol just stopped being enticing. My difficulties around sobriety have always centered around other people’s perceptions about me and my sobriety. It’s never been an inward battle. The smell of alcohol is repulsive and I can’t even drink kombucha anymore because all I can taste is the alcohol. This is not the story most people tell about coming to a place of sobriety.
I stopped drinking because I was tired of feeling depressed, anxious, or worried about what I may have said to someone the night before. We have these issues enough in our own heads so why are we also chemically inducing these feelings? I had also not been appropriately dealing with grief and trauma from my past and the cover was slipping off quickly. My tear filled nights became more frequent and my booze blues more debilitating. I had little self confidence and I felt like I was in a rut. I wasn’t happy in myself or the life I was leading so something needed to change. The change came after a 5 1/2 week vacation in Europe. Everyone always told me that Europe would change me and it did in ways no one, especially me, would have ever expected. I didn’t like who I was and while that trip was transformative, it is forever tainted with alcohol soaked tears.
Earlier, I said that those years behind me weren’t much of an achievement but I know I wouldn’t be where I am without them. I wouldn’t have had the courage to quit my long time job and start writing here or applying for jobs that I always felt were out of my league. I wouldn’t have taken up photography or actively placed myself in to the cheese industry in the ways that I have. I would have felt like my voice, vision, and perspective were unimportant and no one would listen. I still battle these thoughts on the regular, but now I can look at them with a clear frame of mind and know that everyone out there is battling similar thoughts.
So, here I am, grieving and processing. My main form of processing is by writing so that’s what I’m doing. This doesn’t directly relate to cheese but at the same time,for me, it has everything to do with it. I wouldn’t feel so strong in this industry if it weren’t for my sobriety. I also feel like sobriety is important to talk about since our industry is placed parallel with the alcohol industry and it can be overwhelming at cheese events. The pressure to drink is ever present and while I strongly feel people can do whatever they want, I would like to see more room made for those of us that don’t use alcohol.
All of that being said, I don’t follow conventional forms of recovery, but if you ever need a sober friend, I’m here. I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled posting soon and thanks for being here with me.