The Woman I Saw in the Mirror After 6 Months of Sobriety

The Woman I Saw in the Mirror After 6 Months of Sobriety - Elsa Al-Attar

I woke up this morning groggily, until a thought entered my brain.

“I’m 6 months clean today!”

I hurried to the mirror and examined the woman staring back. She looked tired, but her eyes were bright. They reflected strength, resilience, and happiness.

My day at work continued with its typical ups and downs, until my supervisor congratulated me on the changes he noticed as of late. He described me as flexible, helpful and kind. I couldn’t help but pause on this, because this was not who I once was. I left his office, and the thought returned.

I am 6 months clean today of mind-altering substances. I am free of the shackles that once bore my wrists and ankles. I am not bound by the external world, as the recognition I find every day in the strong and confident person I’m becoming is finally filtering into every aspect of my life.

My work life has improved.

My relationships are changing, even with family (which I’m sure many know, is not easy).

My health, both physical and mental, are priorities.

I have a relationship with myself.

I am pursuing my dreams of graduate school.

I can help others in their own struggles.

I don’t need to dwell any longer on the woman I once was.

Today marked a huge milestone in my life, and it was the ability to finally let the past go. I used to walk around with a duality within me between the person I am now and the person I used to hate. That dynamic is just not relevant any more, and I’m learning that with every passing day.

I asked a friend once how I could get a family member to forgive me after all the things I had done in active addiction. He smiled at me and asked me if I forgave myself. I laughed and said, “Of course not, I’ve done some pretty terrible things.”

He replied, “Don’t ask people to forgive you, until you have forgiven yourself”.

I finally do.

 

(Photo by Stefano Mortellaro)

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Elsa Al-Attar

Elsa Al-Attar is passionate about advocacy and change within our society. She currently lives in Toronto, and volunteers with Eating Disorders of York Region and Moods Magazine. Elsa is a writer and photographer. She has completed a Bachelor in Psychology from Ryerson University.

2 Responses

  1. Congrats. This past January 10th I celebrated 9 Years of Sobriety. One day at a time. All I have is this moment… yet it’s all I ever needed and so much more. Best wishes!

  2. I love how you talk about “the duality.” That duality weighed me down for years after I stopped self-destructing. Sometimes, that girl I used to be still comes back to haunt me, and each time she does, I remember that the only reason she was so self-destructive and confused was because she wanted someone to love her. And now, I can.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story and for taking the time to write it right on your big day! So grateful to you, Elsa.

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