Story 10/25 Survivor: Laura Silverman

Story 10/25 Survivor: Laura Silverman
I will survive
As long as I know how to love, I know I'll stay alive
I've got all my life to live 
And I've got all my love to give and I'll survive
I will survive.
- Gloria Gaynor
Survival. 
It's as raw and deep of a theme as it gets. Rebirth, resilience, reclaiming life.
My life today is a chasm apart from what it used to be. From the outside, the chasm can appear both subtle and massive. I don't have the drinking bloat anymore nor do I have the lazy eyes of drunkenness. I'm not dancing on bars or getting kicked out of them; I'm not being carried into an ambulance because I've gotten to the point of drunken public hysteria; I'm not alone in my bedroom drinking a bottle or two of wine and hiding the evidence. I was me then; I'm me now. But the differences are more than just eliminating the booze that caused all of the above. I'm stepping into the daily practice of self-love now. And trust me, it's a daily practice.
Survival.
Now that I'm sober? I do have all my life to live and all my love to give. I survived.
The tragedy is that so many people, on a daily basis, don't. They don't get to survive from the depths of their personal hells. They don't get to choose sobriety and self-love. They're robbed of that opportunity. That's why those of us who have survived have a torch to carry. To help as many people as possible and show that survival from hardship, from pain, from suffering, is possible and attainable. And it'll look different on everyone. And it'll feel different for everyone.
But it's real. 
And it doesn't always feel like a tectonic shift. As I sit here on my cozy Ikea chair, covered by a blanket, listening to Beatles guitar instrumentals, reflecting, I'm getting over a cold. With tissues at my side, cold medicine at the ready, plenty of chicken noodle soup, hot tea, and popsicles, I'm taking care of myself and doing what my Mama taught me to get well again. I feel peaceful sitting here and enjoying my own company. 
Survival doesn't always have to look like skydiving or being rescued by a team of Navy Seals. It can be as simple--and as Glennon Doyle Melton says, brutiful--as doing the next right thing. The picture I painted above isn't grand or dramatic--it's beautiful in its simplicity. I survived so that I can live. And living starts with what's in front of us, right here and right now. 
***
Laura Silverman is the founder of The Sobriety Collective, a resource and blog created to celebrate multiple pathways to recovery from substance use disorder and mental illness, especially through creativity. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia with degrees in Sociology and Spanish, and found long-term recovery from alcohol abuse and mental illness in 2007, at age 24. 

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