One of the biggest gifts of sobriety has been the desire to try new things. I didn't expect this gift. I thought I'd tried everything I wanted to try and if I hadn't, well, it just wasn't for me. That was one of those big lies we told ourselves to keep us stuck in our old stories though, because if I were truly honest, there were so many things I hadn't tried because they would have interfered with my drinking time. That's the truth. If it happened after 5pm or too early on the weekend or too late on the weekend, nope, wasn't happening.
One of the first things I said YES to after I felt a little more sure on my sober feet was sign up for my first memoir writing class. I don't really have an interest in writing a memoir, per se, but I've always wanted to take a writing class. I've always loved to write, I'd journaled on and off since middle school, I didn't know if I was a good writer or even if I should call myself a writer (which, I've come to decide that if you write, you are a writer), but I didn't care. Now I do have to add one caveat, and that is when I turned the magical number of 4-0, something did happen. An I Don't Give A F*ck light came on above my head and it's gotten a little brighter every year that has passed since. The only problem was that I had fallen so far down into the well of despair, no one could see it. Hell, I could barely see it until I got sober. It didn't have a chance to shine until then.
Now, I've taken this memoir writing workshop on and off for a bit over a year. Have I penned a best-seller? No. But I have published some essays, I started this site, I write most days, I show up to class and listen to my fellow writers as we all spill it on the page and for the third time last night, I read an essay I wrote to a small theater audience. And there was applause. I'm not saying this to appear fearless, because I'm nervous as hell every time, but the sheer joy I feel from feeling it and doing it anyway is electric.
If you are new to sobriety, I encourage you to just stay sober. Don't drink. It's so hard in the beginning, it's like a full-time job. But when you get to a place where it feels more like a part-time job, I would suggest trying something new, put your head out, cross the line, make yourself uncomfortable. I promise you, it is a gift. If it sucked, no one would ever get sober.