Monday was one of the most uncomfortable days of my life. Actually, it started off relatively manageable. It was my last day visiting my sister and her family in Boston; and I awoke a tad dizzy with a little tickle in my throat. I had a few hours until I had to be at the airport so I stocked up on my favorite remedies from Whole Foods and felt prepared to cure this bug myself.
I felt relatively optimistic as I bid goodbye to my brother in law at at the airport, embarking on my journey back home to the Bay Area. I walked through security, which I now remember, is like entering into a chasm of the unknown. I surrendered any last bit of control of my day over to air traffic control, and to mother nature and her monsoon that cascaded in San Francisco where I was headed. Every 90 minutes my flight was delayed by a little longer; causing my total rendezvous at the uninspiring C gate in the Logan airport to be close to 8 hours. Throughout my delay, I progressively felt more ill.
The most spacious nook of the gate was posted up adjacent to the bar. I watched strangers converse, share laughter and gradually get more tipsy. I overheard one girl say that she was not sure that her liver could survive all of the delays.
I was immediately struck with gratitude when I was remembering what my life used to be like not so very long ago. I am a recovering alcoholic and have been sober for over five and a half years. Airports are where some of my heaviest, most lonely, and powerless drinking used to take place.
It is totally socially acceptable and even encouraged to have a drink or two at the airport bar. It was never the first drink or two that took me down; but it was ALWAYS the first drink or two that would ignite the fire of craving for more and more, causing two drinks to easily become six or eight. Alcohol would take over, and I would turn into a different person. I would buy strangers their drinks, and not just because I was being nice. I knew if I funded us all to have shots and double fist then I could drink how I really wanted to drink. What a paradox; that I would scour the internet to look for the best flight deals and then quickly drop $100 at the airport bar.
As I witnessed these people in the Boston airport they all looked relatively put together and tame. People were bidding goodbye to their new acquaintances, and a new herd of travelers would wheel their carry on bags in. I cringed when I imagined my past self whirling through the scene like the tornado she was.
I noticed some people leave their drinks partially full after they said goodbye to their new airport pals. It always perplexes me why people will leave perfectly good alcohol in a glass. That is just one of the many thoughts that affirm I am not a normal drinker, and sobriety is the path for me.
When I finally boarded the plane, they announced that our nonstop flight would now stop in Denver to refuel; resulting in a 3:00am arrival time. I continued to feel increasingly more sick. I felt freezing and hot at the same time and knew that I had a fever- the first one in over 6 years. I honestly wondered if I could make it through and survive. All I could do was breathe deep and pray. I needed help. The flight was full, so I knew that even mentioning my discomfort to a flight attendant could not have resulted in more space or an upgrade.
I felt embarrassed that the woman next to me had to hear my loud cough. I saw her secretly guard her child, seated next to her from my germs. Yet, she was sweet to me. She asked me how I was and gave me some pink children’s liquid ibuprofen.
I kept remembering all of the times that I would be on the plane drunk. Often time the drinkers nearby would drink with me, but the healthy people would recoil away from my toxicity. Flight attendants have cut me off in the past, and my new ‘friends’ seated near me would sometimes look aghast after a while. Once, I even thought I fell in love with one of my airplane drinking buddies resulting in a hellish four year on again and off again romantic saga.
And there I sat again just a few short days ago feeling dizzy, puffy, horrible and powerless. And there this wonderful woman was who I was coughing on, sharing her kids medicine with me. I believe that most interactions with people are a reflection of our internal state. Despite my feeling sick and uncomfortable, my general spiritual condition feels healthy and connected. I love my life, my boyfriend, my friends, my yoga students, my clients and my community. I practice gratitude and focus on being of service. Its no wonder that a sweet angel was sitting next to me and offering kindness.
In my 5.5 years of sobriety I have experienced a massive rewiring. I kept finding things to be grateful for in the midst of my most uncomfortable sober day. The detour to Denver was now a Godsend. I realized that when we briefly touched down, I could turn my phone on put out requests to get my yoga classes subbed for the following afternoon. I even finally downloaded a car sharing app on my phone, realizing that to be the quickest way to get home at 3am. I said prayers, turning my discomfort over to my Higher Power. I found things to be grateful for in that moment.
When I finally got home even more love and compassion began to flood toward me. My boyfriend brought me groceries and took my temperature. Co-workers continued to sub my classes. My housemates left me oranges, and my friends kept calling me to check in. My life now feels so abundant of love and opportunities to share my light and be of service.
In my darkest days of drinking, my life was much lonelier. I would come back after a trip and usually be hungover and show up to work feeling like a shell of a person. The relationships I had were less authentic. But perhaps the most prevalent, was the general undercurrent of emptiness and personal defeat that I continually felt.
There was a long while when I knew that I didn’t drink like normal people, but I really did not have the desire to stop entirely. It took me a while to realize that every time I drank, I wanted to keep drinking and was powerless over how much I would drink and what would happen. Buried in those uncomfortable years of internal struggle was a spark of true willingness that one day emerged. This desire inspired me to live a different way, to do what it takes, and to take suggestions from sober people who had what I wanted.
Now I can be tossed into a very uncomfortable situation and find the sliver lining. I still would not wish my sick travel day upon anybody; but it has inspired me to feel a new appreciation for being healthy, comfortable, and sober.
With Gratitude, Love, and Humility,
I work one on one with people looking to align with the highest version of themselves in my three month program, Magnetize Miracles. To schedule a complimentary 30 minute alignment call email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and write alignment in the subject line.