Sober Girl's Guide to Life

I often wait to write about something painful until after the damage has been done, the remnants of another failed romance have been cleared away. It gives me perspective for my story and clarity of tone. It is neat. I do not keep a diary, I’m afraid of what it might say. How weak that girl would sound, to read that version of me on the page. Who is she? Is that me? Ugh.

I am stubborn about my feelings, but often free with my love. When I get hurt, which happens a lot (see above: free with love), I let the hurt pass its way through me, slowly. My hand is over the flame, I feel the burn, but always alone. People can’t know, what will they think? I wait until my whole being is charred to tell people I was burning. It isn’t wise.

That stubbornness is a secret and it will destroy me.

To open up, to risk sounding overly indulgent and say that this one hurts, this thing that I am in is causing hurt that I am feeling… It’s another kind of pain, that vulnerability, the admission of weakness, but it’s one that makes me stronger. It guards against future pain, it takes some power away from the secret hurt and it let’s me acknowledge that things are shit, and that’s okay. Because saying it, that’s the only way things start to change. When I say I am hurting and it is real I must remind myself that the pain is possible because I’m still alive and I’m sober and all of this will pass. The more I open up, the quicker the tide will turn. I hope.

Sep 14
Sep 5

Somewhere along the way it became harder to believe in myself. It seemed uncool to be hopeful, being angsty felt like a necessity and moodiness suited me, or so I thought. I had this idea and I’m not sure where I picked up, but I held onto it for far too long, that being happy and hopeful meant being boring and static and that the cyncial people, the ones who chose to suffer, they were the ones who got it. I don’t know where I learned that optimism was such a bad thing. If you say your wish out loud, it won’t come true. Don’t say you want something, you’ll jinx yourself! Basically, just keep quiet. Maybe it’s just written into the rules of a being a teenager, maybe I idolized drug addicts for far too long, but I wasted a lot of time looking into empty subway tunnels and believing a train would never come for me.

Sep 3
Sep 1


Aug 27

"We can watch what happens when the girl under the bleachers puts down the blade. Suffering is interesting but so is getting better. The aftermath of wounds - the strain and struggle of stitching the skin, the stride of silver bones - contours women alongside the wounds themselves." -Leslie Jamison, "The Empathy Exams"

Aug 22
Getting Better is Interesting Too
Aug 17
Aug 15

Naturally I have compassion for drunk people, but the limits are hazy and sometimes I just can’t handle belligerence. Is it hypocritical to judge someone who is wasted and acting inappropriately? Is it unfair for me to look down on this person who is just like how I was less than five years ago? In moments like these, when confronted with someone drunk, I try to be patient, loving and kind… to others as well as to myself. If anything it’s a reminder of where I don’t want to get back to and I feel grateful for my sobriety.

Aug 14
Aug 11

Your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

-Charles Bukowski

Aug 10
The Laughing Heart

Though my reality continues to get better and better, I still indulge my fantasy life way too often. A bit of dreaming is good, essential even, but when you find yourself spending most of your day imagining another life - one where you two are together, for instance - you rob yourself the gift of being present and enjoying what’s right in front of you. Hope is a good thing, dreams are lovely, but be wary of living in fantasy because regardless of how realistic your musings are, they have a ridiculous power and ability to consume. Why not aim for making your life a dream come true? I’ll try it if you will?

Note: when switching back into reality mode, do so gently. We’re working with fragile equipment.

Aug 8
Aug 7
Aug 1

For a long time after I got sober I was worried about never having fun again. My idea of fun was still wrapped up in teenage fantasies and druggy dreams where everything glitters and champagne flows and hangovers, well they never happen. I forgot that the last few years of my using were mostly terrible: I didn’t have fun, I got wasted to try to feel or not feel and all the while I just sank deeper into the darkness of my addiction.
Fun isn’t one perfectly filtered Instagram photo of girls posing with bottles at a party on a boat or big smiles through a cloud of smoke in a crowded room, it’s not one moment or one thing, it’s whatever it is to you.
Fun changes when you get sober, it doesn’t disappear! Everything changes, most things for the better. Fun for me now is being with friends (like it was before, I think) but it’s remembering the jokes and enjoying the moments, it’s being present and comfortable and truly myself. Letting loose. Sober.

Jul 29
The After Party