Those first days of sobriety were the hardest.

Not just because of the physical absence of vodka in my system for the first time in maybe a decade, not just because I was still wrapping my brain around how it all got so NOT okay, but because within mere weeks of my choosing sobriety my beloved husband was undergoing the first of two emergency surgeries… and the election did NOT go the way I and everyone I knew was sure it would go.

I remember sitting in Keith’s recovery room, staring at the empty space that would be his hospital bed once they wheeled him in after surgery, and then looking out the window, down to the street… and there was a bar. I could’ve gone down there, handled the stress of EVERYTHING with a drink like I had done so many times before for stresses far less stressful, and no one would’ve even known.

Instead, I turned to my journal, let the hot tears stream down my face, felt my throat swell up with emotion, and wrote the words, “It is safe to feel these feelings. I do NOT have to escape from them. This feels like shit and I’m scared and I’m alone and I have zero coping mechanisms for this. And feeling these feelings is the right thing to do right now. What I am feeling is NORMAL. I do not have to run away from the hard stuff.”

Hello, 2020.

Friday I celebrate 4 years of sobriety. Every. Single. Day. of the past 7 months that I have continued to choose sobriety has been a bigger victory than I can properly express.

And to tell you that I truly believe — now, for sure — that I can handle ANYTHING, it is precisely because as we’ve all experienced some seriously low lows together and as individuals this year, I’ve remained committed to my sobriety. I have sat in my feelings. I have felt them all.

And when I’ve wanted to stay in bed and cry for days at a time, I’ll ask myself a question the hubs learned in one of his 12-step programs long ago: “What’s the next appropriate thing?”

Next right actions are what success is made of. Success in ANYTHING. Well… next right actions + believing in ourselves. Because we have to believe we WILL make it. That we WILL be okay. (And of course believing in ourselves stems from a resting state of enoughness. Watch my last livestream on the whole KLT factor here.)

“What’s the next appropriate thing?”

When I’m overwhelmed, that question can get me answering one email rather than feeling oppressed by my inbox.

When I’m feeling lost, that question can get me anchored enough to hit PLAY on my feel-good playlist.

When I’m confused and furious and fatigued and scared, that question can get me hugging myself and breathing deeply enough to have that tiniest reset of hope, which is sometimes everything.

“What’s the next appropriate thing?”

That question has gotten me through the darkest corners of sobriety — which really means the darkest corners of my true self, whom I’d worked very hard to never really get to know until four years ago.

And it turns out, that question is what’s getting me through 2020.

bonnie gillespie 4 years sober

Join me for my next livestream, Thursday the 15th here at 11:30am PDT (translate that time to your local time here), to celebrate my 4 years of sobriety! I will also be sharing a little more about how this one simple question is my best coping strategy for 2020 and how it can do magical things for you as well.

Thank you for being a part of my life. You are, even if we’ve not met yet. Thank you for reading. Thank you for connecting. Thank you for the next appropriate thing.

See you on the livestream,

Bonnie Gillespie autographed the internet


Enoughness is an inside job… and sometimes you need a guide to find your way there. Let Bonnie Gillespie get you started.

[REPLAY: Bonnie Gillespie is celebrating 4 years sober! What’s the next appropriate thing?]

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13 Comments

  1. Avatar Ann October 15, 2020 at 8:13 am

    Thank you for your honesty and for letting us know your journey. It is a boon to me. For various reasons, I have taken a step back from my acting journey, but still read your emails because the content is so helpful in my life. Like you and your husband, I am a member of a 12 step program. The help and wisdom I have found in those walls has helped me reorient myself. In many ways, your emails are a meeting for me – even before you joined your program.

    So thank you for these. Sending you love and light on your journey.

    Reply
    1. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie October 15, 2020 at 9:57 am

      Wow, Ann, this is beautiful. I am so grateful. Thank you thank you thank you.

      Reply
  2. Avatar Loren October 19, 2020 at 7:13 pm

    Your openness and bravery are an inspiration and are to be commended. Congratulations on reaching this milestone! Good for your girl! Yay!

    Reply
  3. Avatar La Trice October 19, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    Congratulations Bonnie!!! I hate I missed the livestream…I bet it was a blast. What an amazing journey you’re on! You are a true warrior and an absolute inspiration to all those whose lives you touch. I’m sooo happy to know you! Sooo many hugs and congrats going out to you!! πŸŽ‰πŸ’•

    Reply
    1. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie October 20, 2020 at 4:40 pm

      I love you so much, La Trice. You always light me up and make me smile. THANK YOU!

      Reply
  4. Avatar Michael Greco October 20, 2020 at 4:15 am

    Congratulations, Bonnie! I may have posted this before, but anyhoo: Well Done! You’re crushing this. Cheers, Mick

    Reply
    1. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie October 20, 2020 at 4:40 pm

      Thank you, Michael. I appreciate the encouragement. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  5. Avatar Andy L. October 22, 2020 at 12:28 am

    Loved this one! Great to read something like this in such a taxing year. Thank you and all my best to you and Keith!

    Reply
  6. Avatar Peter Tarantino October 29, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    An amazing thing to come back to. It is so great to hear from you again Bonnie. Congratulations on SUCH an incredible accomplishment. I am so so happy for you!

    I have had many struggles/setbacks occur in my life over the course of my time away, and I can say that catching up on what you have been putting out recently for us all to read and hear has put a smile on my face again. It’s been a long time. Can’t wait to chat again soon. Miss you and Keith.
    Sending love.

    Reply
    1. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie October 29, 2020 at 1:59 pm

      Aw, thank you, Peter. What a lovely message. {{{hugs}}} Good to see you back. Thank you.

      Reply
      1. Avatar Peter Tarantino October 29, 2020 at 3:19 pm

        πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Sending {{{hugs}}} back!

        Reply

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