I’ve been thinking quite a bit about my past, as may be apparent. This has been firstly an activity to cause me unhappiness. Sadness and bewilderment.
When I say my past, I mean the years of my sobriety living in London from 2006, to when I moved to this small and quite inaccessible town in South Wales three years ago.
One of the good things about getting older is that I’ve been able to reflect on the things that brought me joy or pain. Reflecting on that is what I’ve been doing because this morning I realised that life hasn’t been as bleak as I’ve been telling myself. I didn’t get the things I wanted: a happy marriage, fulfilling work, my own family. That was my idea of success. Now, at 49, it’s too late for me to achieve these goals. Some would say it’s never too late, but I don’t believe that. I don’t have hope now, which is good as well as odd, for someone that lived in hope for so many years. That was because reality was such a disappointment, and worse.
But this morning I realised that I have experienced happiness, just not pursing ‘my dreams’. Ordinary, smaller things, activities I really overlooked in my pursuit of destiny: waking up and going to bed sober each day, my morning caffeine, going for a walk in nature, eating a nice meal, silence, animals, being alone. A good book or drama. I also found one true friend, something I did want. I have other friends as well, but one really special friendship — which comes with two gorgeous dogs.
There is also swimming, which is something I have to look forward to as the local pool isn’t open at the moment.
Pursing the big things of life brought me a lot of misery and worse. They nearly ended my life, in fact.
Obviously, if I hadn’t pursued the big stuff I wouldn’t have found this out for myself. I didn’t find God, as a lot of people said I ought to. Trying to be a good daughter, sister, granddaughter was an absolute disaster. My family was made up of real cruelty. They made being unloved an every-day normality. I still live with the considerable aftermath of so much neglect and abuse, but at least its in the past now. A lot of the advice people in AA passed on to me was wrong. But not everyone in AA gave me the wrong advice, I was just attracted to the cruel side of life because it was familiar. And I was in denial about my family.
Still, I only learnt these lessons because I made such big mistakes. And now, moving forward, perhaps I can achieve some peace and happiness without the presence of so much misery woven together with it.