year five... a year of mala

I don't know what I pictured. Maybe something that scene from When a Man Loves a Woman, where Meg Ryan's character is at her AA meeting receiving her chip {was it 90 days? A year?} and there's cheering and tears and of course a beige cardigan... didn't she always wear beige cardigans in the 1990's?

When I stopped drinking I certainly didn't picture that at five years sober it'd be just another day. That alcohol wouldn't be on my mind daily. That we'd be in the midst of a houseful of flu germs and the last thing I'd want to do is hear cheering because my head hurt so badly.

Staying sober for five years has been work, of course, but at this point it isn't the same kind of work it was in the beginning. Sobriety, at its very core has been an invitation to feel all the feels, to work through the uncomfortable moments to get to a place of peace and understanding.

But at this point I'm getting lazy. I'm not thinking about ditching sobriety, I've worked hard to keep my recovering alcoholic status, but I'm not actively working on myself like I was the first few years.Things have shifted, I've created new habits and routines that have made the act of not drinking easier and nearly painless for the most part. I've created ways of coping with emotions, with anxiety... a few of the reasons I drank. Not all are great habits, but I've kept myself safe. It's not about the not drinking these days. I'm not carrying my sober status as a cross to bear any longer, which is good. But at the same time, I've ditched a lot of the self work and introspection that came with carrying that heavy load on my back.

Last week a strand of mala beads that were hanging on my necklace holder caught my eye. I bought them last summer when I was in the midst of all things yoga, and wanted a set of beads to sit with while I meditated. They've been on the shelf for quite a few months now...  I looked at the strand of wooden beads and felt drawn to wrap them around my wrists. And that day I noticed more of the feels. I noticed my body more. The beads brought a kind of attention to my movements, an awareness to my inner being every time I felt the smooth of the beads on my skin, or heard them clink against the sink as I washed the dinner dishes.

And so I wonder, what difference can wearing a mala make? What if I make an attempt to wear these beads every day for a year? Will I be more intentional? Will my mind be calmer? Will I remember to meditate or do yoga.... walk the walk so to speak because I'm wearing mala beads? By wearing my intention, my meditation, on my wrist or around my neck for a year, what will happen? What difference could that make in my life? Is there magic in my mala?

And so I think it's fitting to begin on this, my sobriety date. To start fresh as I did five years ago, and continue on the journey. A year of mala.



I'm not sure what this will look like... maybe a few posts throughout the year for updates, maybe Instagram shots {I think I'll use #ayearofmala on the pictures} and snippets of what transpires, or a few journal entries. But I have a feeling that these little beads, this small intention, is a lot bigger than I think it is...

**if you've landed here because you're struggling with addiction, please know that you are not alone. There's all sorts of help available if you're ready. Here's a few places to start:
Alcoholics Anonymous
Women for Sobriety, Inc.


  1. Five years...well done. It's hard work but good work you've done. I am looking forward to see where the mala beads take you this year. I'd never heard of them before (not being a yoga person, or is it yogini?) but they sound like the could work some serious magic for you. I hope they do.

  2. First time reading your blog. I have a bit of catching up to do and look forward to that. Also, interested in your online writing course in the spring.

    Thanks for your honestly with this post. I would love to read more about your year of mala and think this is a beautiful way to honor your sobriety and be mindful of it throughout 2015. Good luck, my friend.

  3. Bravo. I remember 5 years ago and am so grateful to be able to read your words and follow your story. xoxoxo

  4. Your struggles and triumphs are who you are and I'm happy that you have five years to celebrate. May you always be blessed with strength courage and wisdom :)


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