8.8.19, date of "The Lion's Gate" according to astrology, was also my 3rd sober birthday. 3 whole years = 36 months = 157 weeks = 1095 days of living clean. Not to mention approximately $33,000 saved, based on the rate of my spending on alcohol at the time I quit. Wow. In my lived experience the past 3 years have flown by, but simultaneously I feel as if I have evolved through several lifetimes worth of growth in the past 1100 days of sobriety. I celebrated my birthday on the first day of our Arizona Exploration Retreat, with an amazing group of recovering humans.
So what got me and kept me sober for 3 whole years? What made me into a new person?
It wasn't just AA, although that played a big part and I wrote more about it and my full rock bottom story last year.
It was a lot of desperation and hopelessness, so much that I knew I had to try a new way.
It was all the friends and acquaintances who bravely blazed the path of sobriety before me, saving me a seat.
It was yoga, always and every damn day, giving me that sweet sweaty serenity and a place to feel alive again.
It was the 12 steps, and my sponsor, and following the blueprint for a new way of life.
It was the sunrises I became conscious enough to witness.
It was realizing that if I continued to numb my pain forever, I'd also never fully experience unhindered joy.
It was walking my dogs through Ocean Beach and walking them far enough, with enough love in my heart, making up for all the times I neglected them.
It was the clarity of looking back and beginning to see how the breadcrumb trail of my life that seemed so scattered and random at the time had actually led me on a roundabout trail to purpose.
It was the willingness and strength to be the weirdo, the only sober one. It was learning to not give a fuck.
It was the whispered messages from Spirit that came to me in Shavasana or as I was drifting off to sleep, planted thoughts so out of nowhere that I knew they came from somewhere higher. The first big one: "You and Zach are going to help people someday."
It was the mountains of Sequoia, and the hills of Catalina Island, and my backpack heavy on my shoulders, and my hiking boots forcing me to slow, slow down, meditate by walking, and take in all the infinite beauty of the world.
It was the returned calling on my heart which I hadn't felt since childhood, this pressure that I was meant for something more. That I must do something more with my time.
It was all the naysayers who told me to shut up and be sober quietly, or not travel, or stay small. Thank you for fueling my fire.
It was the ornate temples of Thailand and the warm waves of Sri Lanka.
It's all the people still out there, waking up with headaches and showing me the life I don't want anymore. Thank you.
It was the insanely amazing souls of yoga teacher training, our deep conversations for 30 days straight, shared coconuts and coffees and Reiki healing.
It was the universe continuously teaching me the lessons I need to learn about independence, work, balance, money, love, anger, fear, no matter how many times it has to re-teach me.
It's Wim Hof Breathwork, always breaking me open when I need it most.
It's all the true friends who let me go when I need to leave and patiently await my return.
It's Arizona, this place I never wanted to live in, challenging me with winter snow and shaking me awake to your beauty with summer sun.
Now it's this small and funky community of Williams & Flagstaff, all the hippie soul mate friends I've made in such a short time, reflecting my new self back to me with love and happiness and yoga poses.
It's YOU. Whether you've been to one of my retreats or classes or talked to me or just found this post randomly. Thank you for being here. Thank you for believing in and being part of the audacious dreams granted to us by recovery. Thank you for your small part in my 3 years of the best life. 💖
All these big and small moments of grace stretch out behind me and in front of me, guiding my steps into a rainbow road of unexpected joy. I can't wait to see what the next 3 years bring.