Tiptoein’ On Outta Here

Last week my friend Kristen replied to my recent blog posts about alcohol with this: “I realized six months ago my life is better without booze.”

I hadn’t seen her since I left New York in 2009 and she just returned to the northeast after five years in Austin, TX. So I wasn’t the only one who needed a break from NYC. We caught up on a lovely day in the Catskills. Bright sun, every tree in full bloom. Walking through the woods near her house with her dog Violet she divulged a journey that felt very similar to mine.

Kristen’s metaphor about quitting drinking is so great I have to share it here:

She feels like she just got way undercharged at the register of a designer clothing store and she’s standing there wondering if anyone is going to notice or if they’re gonna let her walk out with a free dress. Well no one notices. So she takes her shopping bag and tiptoes quickly out the front door as if she just won $20,000 on a scratch ticket.

She is Scot free. She doesn’t get caught. Kristen survived her old boozy life, relatively unscathed, and now she gets to walk into her new happy clean one in a brand new wavy flowing gorgeous floral print dress. No guilt. No shame. Just positive forward motion.

I feel very similarly, like I was let in on a secret and forgiven for sins that I now know, without any doubt, I will never commit again. That is the level of emotional control I gave to alcohol. I really can’t overstate the burden I feel has been lifted. The result is I continue to feel relieved and lightened, as though I had been carrying a 50 lb. log (read : guilt) on my shoulder and I was finally allowed to put it down.

Actually I shouldn’t say ‘the burden has been lifted’ or ‘I was finally allowed’ because that implies someone else did it. It was me. I lifted the burden off of myself. And furthermore, I didn’t need permission to do so.

Is there a guilt log you can stop carrying? Is there something you do on a regular basis that subconsciously you know is self-sabotaging? What if you brought that knowing to your conscious level and then put the log down and tiptoed away from it?

What if no one noticed because it was actually OK for you to feel light and happy and guilt-free all the time?



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