You never really know do you. Nothing in life is certain except that all things change. People do too, although the process might be too slow for it to be immediately apparent from the outside. People promise to change all the time, and their motivations for doing so are as myriad as the problems they're seeking to address through the process of change.

Change is hard. So is honesty.

To an honest person, honesty might be as natural as breathing itself, but for someone with a history of compulsive self-destructive behaviours honesty is a frightening process of coming face to face with a succession of uncomfortable truths that must each be addressed in order for change to be even contemplated ... never mind implemented.

It's slow going and it's painful. But it's good ... and it's worth doing.

It's a process of re-connecting the internal parts of ourselves that have come adrift so that we in turn can connect more fully with the world around us. Isolation and/or hiding away has merits in terms of feelings of safety, security and comfort, but it does not engage us in real life. Life is out there to be lived and that can only happen through accepting that all things change and we must adapt right along with it.

To cling to the known is understandable. It is a child-like response to the uncertainty we experience in all aspects of our lives. In an adult this fear can cause a paralysis of indecision ... and in some cases a clinging to of behaviours that might soothe us, but do not otherwise constructively move us forward in our lives.

Drinking creates above all things a feeling of "stuck-ness" ... a sense that life is going on "out there" and is only for others either more courageous or far more deserving than us to partake in. So instead we sit in our gloriously painful self-induced isolation on the sidelines of it all bemoaning our fate ... little comprehending the role we've played in our own predicament.

How does one break the cycle of these deep seated fears holding us back and thus leaving us with such feelings of lack of worth? One doesn't. Not directly anyway. No-one can rescue us just as we cannot rescue anyone else ... neither can anyone install ready-made self esteem or courage in another. However much we might long to do so, it is entirely dis-empowering to treat an adult as anything other than someone intelligent enough to come to their own conclusions given time.

Instead we do what we can by providing the clearest sign-posts possible ... arrows pointing in directions either we ourselves have taken and found beneficial ... or those born of the wisdom of others already walking paths we ourselves aspire to. And then we just have to wait. People can want to change for an awfully long time before finding the wherewithal within themselves to start the process. If it's frustrating for us from within, how much more so to those already well, who want nothing more than to see us well too?

I've come to know some truly amazing people through blogging. And whether you know it or not I have listened to the words you've spoken. I have read as many of the sign-posts as I've been able to discern and tried to walk in the direction indicated ... embracing change and trying to engage more fully with life despite my fears.

And I am one year sober this coming weekend. The funny thing is that you probably don't even realise how instrumental you've been in my journey to this point. Nor how your help and guidance shows me the way forward even now. How just by reading and commenting as you've done you've helped me to find my voice ... and with it some measure of courage. If I were to write a list of all the people who've helped to point the way forwards I would be here for a very long time.

But your name would be there.

Thank you.

And if I in turn can point the way forwards for any of you I couldn't do better than repeat the words sent to me by one of my wisest friends. She said "first accept what is ... fully and without reservation. It is what it is .... now, what are you going to do about it?" The things we do as a result of self-hatred can only ever be overturned when we learn to love ourselves. Truly, we are not fully able to love one another unless we first learn to love ourselves ... even the wonky bits.