Life in sobriety

Today, I celebrate 35 years of being alcohol-free. For many years I’ve thought of my life in terms of before and after. Though it has been a long time, I can still clearly remember life before I quit which was an emotional nightmare, to say the least. For a while alcohol was my best friend, but then it became my master. I lived with fear to the point that I was spiritually paralyzed. For a number of years I couldn’t envision escape, and that was as hopeless as my life has ever felt.

Being able to remember has helped me to stay grounded in gratitude, even on my worst days in sobriety. And as the saying goes, my very worst days now are still so much better than my best ones back in the day.

The duality of life is evident in many places for me, and this includes art. In the course of a day I can be elated with the outcome of a piece within hours of feeling frustrated and incompetent. I can be self-critical, but I can also be loving and supportive of myself. And, interestingly enough, I can be engaged and drawn to both a simple ink-and-wash piece at the same time as I’m wanting to get some sort of loose atmospheric landscape onto paper.

In my life before sobriety, I saw everything in black and white. I mean, everything. The scope of my vision was limited to my internal landscape which was limited by the narrow one-way road of my journey to that point. After I put down the bottle and began to expand my vision and understanding, slowly (very slowly!) I began to see the shades of gray, and eventually all the colors of the rainbow that paves the road I walk today. I am blessed.

Above is a last minute holiday card I needed to send out, simple and yet pretty. Below are some of my recent pieces… really enjoying a new ink-and-wash floral book, so look for more of those in January.

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