When I first quit drinking, a change of pace was exactly what I needed. The house I lived in was full of memories of booze and being wasted. I moved into a brand new apartment and stayed there for nearly a year, with no desire to drink. I had no memories of being drunk in my new place.
When I first moved to Victoria four years ago, I relocated to go to school. Which I dropped out of within the first month. And then drank and drank and drank, relapsed with drugs. I was working towards building a future in Victoria, and even after I gave up on that, I still stayed. My life became centered around music, shows, and booze. And then I cut that out.
I felt like I was still living in a party though. Even without the booze. The good times continued to flow. I was addicted, and I was doing anything I could to go out and party and have fun. I experienced an extreme sense of growth and confidence, but during the last four years I feel as though I've done nothing to prepare for any sort of future. I love Victoria. I will always love Victoria, and someday I'll live there again. But ...
I've left the city. I've found a change of pace.
Now all of a sudden I've found myself in my hometown, which is still full of memories of drinking. Last week I was out at a bar and realized it was the first time I'd ever been there sober. I'd gone dozens of times in the past and always drank. It was a real challenge for me to overcome, yet again. When I quit drinking in Victoria it took some getting used to to be able to go to bars and create more sober memories than drunk ones. That's something I'm going to have to do in this town, too! I'm looking forward to it, though.
I've had a lot of anxiety about the move. I've driven the Malahat dozens of times, and no longer have that horrific anxiety that prevented me from coming up island, time and time again. I've conquered that.
The first night up here I had to do something to make it feel like home. I had a few transition days, with possessions up here and down island. So I set up my healing stones, and that helped. Then I got a message from an old, old friend, working on his recovery. He said he was going to an NA meeting that night, and invited me to come along. I'd never gone. I agreed to meet up for coffee beforehand, I could do that, even through the anxiety. When we met up he said, "Nah, you're coming, let's go." So I held my breath and I walked through those doors.
I had no idea what to expect. I got a Newcomer keychain, and a Multiple Years keychain. Having those around my keys helped me. It was nerve-wracking, and I even spoke. It was surreal to go to my first meeting in my hometown, the 'scene of the crime', where I'd spent years getting high and drunk. I said, "It's weird for me to be here. I grew up walking past these doors, when I should have been walking in the whole time." And I actually had FUN. I enjoyed it! I'll go back, for sure. This cemented my decision.
That sometimes a change of pace is needed. My last few months spent in Victoria were fun, don't get me wrong. But so filled with partying. I had a few weekends this summer that I had to lock myself in my room and count down until the liquor store closed. I don't want that. Nobody wants that. Up here I have a whole place that's all mine, and again with no memories of drinking. I know I have to go out and recreate all of my sober memories here. I know there's a college here, and I'm looking forward to going back. I'm looking forward to regrouping, and enjoying this change of pace.
I know it sounds like a grass is greener scenario. I know that no matter where you go, you'll end up running into yourself - and that's what I want. The grass is only green when you water it. And I need to spend some serious time gardening.
And Victoria - I'll still be around, don't you worry. I may not necessarily be at ALL of the shows, but I will be at the important ones.