I was just talking to my father last week about what my life has been like over the last five years. I recently moved into a new apartment with another sober roommate, marking my seventh address in five years. Though I plan to stay at this apartment for a number of years this time around, I reflected on the last half decade in gratitude for what I have now.
What it was like before
It wasn’t always that way. I moved out of my parent’s house a year after graduating college, when I was 23. Over the next 3 years I would move four different times, for various reasons, but with one common thread. My addiction had me doing ‘geographics’, trying to find a place where I would be able to be selfish in peace.
I tried everything. First I lived with five people, then two, then the final two places before sober living I was by myself. I always thought that those “other people” were the problem. It didn’t matter; when I couldn’t bother roommates anymore I upset my neighbors. As it turns out, not many people enjoy living next to a practicing alcoholic.
I distinctly remember my thinking through this whole process. Never once did I think that my drinking and using was the root of the issue; I was a professional at placing blame. I was able to attribute everything that went wrong with my living situation to another person, a particular situation, or any other reason that wasn’t directly connected to my actions or me. Yet by the time I lived alone, I was running out of these excuses.
I only lived alone for 6 months, in two different places. I was arrested and left both within 3 months. The ironic part of all of all of this is I was never once evicted; I simply left from embarrassment, shame and guilt, telling myself that “it would all be better” once I moved on to the next place. That was never the case.
What it’s like now
After my last move pre-sobriety, I went into sober living for a year and a half. I was able to see my moving for exactly what it was, a futile attempt to change the setting and not address the problem itself. When I left and moved into my first apartment with sober roommates it was immediately clear to me just how selfish and damaging my lifestyle was to not just myself but the people I lived with and around. Since I was fully self-supporting, I paid much more attention to the care I put into my house and how I kept it organized and clean. I began living with a sense of gratitude and it showed.
Now, one year later, I have one more brand new apartment that I share with another sober alcoholic. We have open lines of communication and do our best to care for our place. We trust each other, which I could not have said about any of the relationships with my roommates previously. It’s a freeing experience and not one that I could possibly have if I was still drinking or using.