360 Degrees of Separation


Today marks my 360th day of sobriety. Only 5 days stand between me and, well, just another standard issue, miracle-laced 24-hour period. All sorts of scary and wonderful thoughts have been coming to the surface lately. I am at once beaming with joy and terrified that I am accountable to a mystical and loving Higher Power, who I experience when I see my partners in sobriety grow each and every day.

This year, I finally learned how to commit. I put the bottle down long enough to discard my former fearful self in order to see how truly beautiful it is to have an unblocked heart. There is no metric to measure how amazing it feels to be a part of the world again, no matter what my brain leads me to believe. The space for insecurity, self-doubt, loneliness, self-centered fear and plain selfishness has been replaced by love, loyalty and faith. I feel like I know less about life and how I “should” live it than when I started. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I am grateful to be writing again. I am honored to know happiness can blossom from empathy and compassion for self and others. I see that forgiveness was my missing link. I am fulfilled because I have direction of purpose. It pleases me to no end that all I had to do was wake up in pure consciousness to see that it is not about me anymore. Thank you to whomever ends up reading this, because you are also part of my recovery.

I’ve learned how to stop treating family, friendships and romantic relationships like they are disposable. I have a better idea of how to cop to the fact that I don’t know how to do something, whether it is at work or while I fumble through transportation issues. I trust that there are a lot of events and people ahead that will change my life for the better, though none more important than who or what exists in my life today. It appears that humility arises by expressing my truth rather than comparing myself to others. I am able to learn all of these things because running away stopped serving me. It turns out that presence is the only way to let go of ego’s destruction and there is nowhere to be but here.

I am one of those people whose obsession with alcohol manifests when things are going really well and I am happy. A few days ago, I was driving in my friend’s car coming from a get together with sober friends and I felt a strong tingling in my throat that I can only liken to the first sip of whiskey I used to love/worship. I called fellow alcoholics to tell them my latest status report and their replies were priceless: “Of course you have cravings, you are an alcoholic–welcome to our world” and, my personal favorite, “It’s okay to be happy”.  Of all the thousands of wise words I’ve heard this year, the ones that strike me in the most dramatic Fashion are always the most simple. Events and people do not need to dictate my state of joy and neither do fears. There is a state of grace that awaits me when I am able to be still and true to myself. I’m pretty sure that is what is means to be human–addicted or not.

My solemn vow is to remain grateful. So thank you to all of you who taught me I am part of something bigger than myself. I cannot be separate when I am connected to you.


Photo courtesy of The New Yorker

Lucy Hartman

Lucy Hartman

I'm funnier when I'm sober.

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