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We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life by Laura McKowen
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“This is the singular, hard truth I come up against every day: I am the only one responsible for my experience.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“The same is true for all of us when it comes to our things. We have to pick a side. If we ever want out of purgatory, we have to decide if we are going back to a life of denial and secrecy and hiding and gripping onto the thing we do not know how to live without, or if we are going to take a stab at doing a thing we have never done before.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“This is the singular, hard truth I come up against every day: I am the only one responsible for my experience. I decide what I let in; I decide who I let in; I decide how to perceive things; I choose it all.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“My drinking — and whatever it is you do to feel better — was born of a natural impulse to soothe, to connect, to feel love. And although alcohol hadn’t actually delivered those things, it was absolutely yoked to them in my mind. In my heart and body, too. It was just what I knew.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“if you truly want to live with peace in your heart and be free of the burdens of the past — you must be brave enough to be willing to look at yourself honestly, clearly, and without reservation. You must take responsibility for everything that’s ever happened to you. Not blame. Responsibility.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“People who stay sick choose to keep blaming. They stand firmly in their anger and resentment and call it a revolution. They bristle against this kind of work because they view it as an affront to their sovereignty. They don’t see that humility is not an admission of weakness but a result of knowing exactly how powerful you are. It’s much easier to go down the path of self-righteousness, to be sure. Nothing is more gratifying. I fall into it regularly. But those who choose the other way? They get better. They get free. They soar, with soft dignity. They rise, without needing to announce it.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“The place where we pretend, in big ways and in small, that we are something or someone we know in our bones we are not. We can go a long time pretending and thinking we’re doing it right this way, building big, complicated lives on a false foundation. No matter how big and impressive a life you build there, on that island, the crumbling of that life is inevitable.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“The process has been the gift.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“1. It is not your fault.
2. It is your responsibility.
3. It is unfair that this is your thing.
4. This is your thing.
5. This will never stop being your thing until you face it.
6. You cannot do it alone.
7. Only you can do it.
8. I love you.
9. I will never stop reminding you of these things.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“It’s the difference between existing and actually living.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“...perhaps you can see a little more clearly the ways in which you've left the center of yourself in order to get to love. Even more importantly, you might see how you didn't do whatever you did to get love because you are weak, or broken, or wrong. You sought love simply and only for the same reason I did, and still do: because this is how we are wired. As A Course in Miracles states, all human behavior is either love or a call for love...Once I started to look at it this way, it softened my shame about my patterns...It allowed me to see myself as someone who was hurting, instead of someone who was weak.

What I am coming to see, very slowly and over time, is that nothing that requires or causes me to abandon myself is really love. Love is a mirror that reflects you back to yourself, not a portal through which you jump into oblivion. It doesn't ask you to be different. IT doesn't secretly wish you were. Yes, a relationship is always going to be compromise, but when you start compromising yourself, it becomes something else. A hostage situation, maybe. An arrangement, A use. An abuse. I have been on both sides of all these scenarios.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
tags: love
“There is a life that is calling you forward, begging you to meet its eye, to glimpse its vision for you. You can get only so far by running away from what you do not want. Eventually you will have to turn toward what you do. You will have to run toward a bigger yes.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“what it's like to hear something that you can't unhear - when a little piece of truth lodges itself into your psyche and won't leave you be...”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“The effort of putting words to my experiences, of trying to describe things as accurately as possible, felt like it was saving my life. One sentence at a time, I was writing my way to an understanding and a grace I could not otherwise reach. I breathed power into a new life for myself and also slowly started to make sense of what I'd never been able to before.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“One stranger who understands your experience exactly will do for you what hundreds of close friends and family who don't understand cannot. It is the necessary palliative for the pain or stretching into change. It is the cool glass of water in hell.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“Over time, and with each right choice, I got stronger. I started to feel something magical growing inside me, getting bigger, more substantial, and pulsing with life.
Something like dignity.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“The truth is alchemical. It transmutes the bitterness of pain and dishonesty and shame into something else, something we can actually live in and stand on.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“The truest story - the one that will always be truest - is that I am a human being, being human. Sometimes, I am my best self. Sometimes, not so much. But goddamn, I am trying to do better. I am always trying to do better. My guess is that you are, too.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“Ultimately, I wanted to be free more than I wanted to be safe. And writing was freeing me.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here, And you must treat it as a powerful stranger, Must ask permission to know it and be known. The forest breathes. Listen. It answers, I have made this place around you. If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here. No two trees are the same to Raven. No two branches are the same to Wren. If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you, You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows Where you are. You must let it find you. — DAVID WAGONER, “Lost”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“Intimacy is having a kind, compassionate witness to your truest thoughts and feelings.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“It is counterintuitive that restriction might offer expansiveness.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“Loneliness started to abate only when I began to really let people in and tell them the truth, and that took a long, long time. The antidote to loneliness wasn’t just being around others or sharing common ground. It was intimacy.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“What I know is this: The truth is ultimately life affirming. Even when it was ugly and inconvenient and has the potential to dismantle your life. It feels like relief even when it's painful...in a "this is real and therefore you can stand on it" way. The truth is uncomfortable but confining. You know the difference when you feel it.

For most of my life I believed I had to lie to get what I needed. I'm guessing somewhere inside, you believe this, too...While lying almost works, just like drinking almost works, neither will ever take us all the way home. While the path may be longer and harder and a little lonelier at times, honesty will always move you closer to love, not further away.

Today I don't walk around looking over my shoulder, afraid of being found out. I don't fear picking up my phone or looking at texts or opening my mail. I don't protect different versions of myself, and I don't have to keep track of my stories, because there aren't any - there's just the one life I'm living.

I'll never forget the day it hit me that things were altogether different...My mind started to wander, searching for the familiar grooves of worry or scheming or protection to run down, but there wasn't anything there but smooth spaciousness. There was the warm sun making rainbows behind my eyelids and my bare feet hitting the baking asphalt and a bit of chewed-up carrot in my mouth.

I had nothing left to hide.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“It was simple, incredibly difficult, and one of the most exquisite, life-giving things you can ever learn to do: to witness yourself, without judgment, as you struggle to stay.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“Things like approval seeking, people-pleasing, not voicing my opinions, and avoiding conflict at any cost — these were all dishonesty masked as something sweeter and more socially acceptable.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“I used to roll my eyes at looking back at the past. Digging into my childhood for answers about my present patterns, blaming my parents or others for how I turned out - it seemed like a convenient rationalization, a bunch of psychobabble meant to excuse me from responsibility. But I've learned it's not at all about blaming. It's being willing to look at it all with clear eyes - to have compassion for the reasons people fell short but also to admit that they did. This was the hardest part: to admit that parts of my childhood were not okay. To stop protecting people. It is hard to type this even now, because I can hear voices telling me to stop playing the victim, that it wasn't all that bad. But I know that acknowledging the truth is actually an act of maturity and autonomy - it is, ironically, how we relieve ourselves from the victim role. Because once we are operating in reality, we can begin to take responsibility for what's ours, and stop taking responsibility for what never was. Denying works for only so long; eventually that shit will come out, and it will be ugly.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“We are all magnificent monsters, capable of everything — all the light and every bit of the dark.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“Forming a new life is a really, really big deal. As John O'Donohue says in his blessing called "For the Interim Time," It is difficult and slow to become new. It's supposed to be difficult It's supposed to take everything you have. It's supposed to take longer than you want and to change you, completely. This often won't feel good when it's happening, but nothing worth having ever does.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
“We think it is the aloneness we fear, but I believe what we actually fear is not having a home within ourselves. For so long, I did not trust my own landscape. I had believed the stories I learned about it, and I had taken every chance to avoid living there and learning her. Sobriety forced a closeness to myself and to life that was at first excruciating. It burned, and it burned, and it burned. But in the ashes from burning all the things I was not, I found her. I found me.

And then I could finally be found by others.”
Laura McKowen, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life

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