How I managed to get 165 days of sobriety under my belt.
It’s simple really: I have wanted to be sober more than I wanted to be drunk. I have had to fight through the initial physical cravings and have had to fight against the psychological ones. There was a constant fight against myself, the self that can convince a butcher to become an ethical vegan, the self that could sell ice to an Eskimo. I have had to constantly battle against the self that can rationalize and justify drinking until I justified myself into an early grave. There’s been a fight against the self that wanted oblivion from my feelings, the self that sees a relaxant, an escape, and a damn good time inside a bottle of alcohol. I have had to do everything I can to protect my sobriety.
I had to want to be sober more than I wanted to run away from everything. This has taken a lot of bravery on my behalf because I have had to sit with things that I thought would crush me and in years gone past, I’ve simply drowned out in a bottle of alcohol. There have been times where every single fiber of my being has wanted to drink, yet I have stopped myself and protected my sobriety, as there is something inside of me that is SO stubborn and refuses to curl up and die.
That’s what I would do, if I ended my sobriety and picked up a drink. I would die. Emotionally, spiritually and eventually physically too.
I have taken ridicule from friends for my decision to stop drinking and have sat with them and forgiven them because I just don’t think they get it. There’s been pressure to drink endlessly for hours on end, both by my friends and by myself, yet I stuck to my sobriety. I have driven myself to the bottle store more than once and still the stubborn person inside of me that has gotten me into a lot of messes, bailed me out of those particular messes. I have had death, family issues, internal and external stressors and I wanted so badly to drink, yet I didn’t.
Instead of throwing away my sobriety, I have thrown tantrums and I have cried. There have been fights that I have picked with my husband, and I have ignored my daughter in favor of bed (she’s been safe and fed). The housework has been ignored and we have had more lazy dinners than I would like to admit. I have relied on my husband emotionally more than I ever have since I met him and it has been uncomfortable, but I wanted to be sober more than I wanted my emotions to swallow me- and our relationship has grown beautifully as a result.
My sobriety is precious and I have done what I have needed to do to protect it. Sometimes that looks like sleeping for three hours during the day (like today…and yesterday). I have had to take responsibility for my thoughts and my emotions, and I have had to voice to my husband when I want to drink because voicing it out loud often takes the power away from it for me as it’s no longer an internal struggle.
Sobriety is a gift, given from me to me after years and years of treating myself and my family like crap. I am responsible for my own sobriety, I haven’t drank because I wanted to stay sober more than I wanted to drink and as I have said- there has been a lot of times that I could easily have justified drinking. I didn’t though, because I have a choice and I choose not to drink anymore. It is that simple however, it is not easy. When I begin to entertain thoughts of drinking, I try to remind myself of all the reasons that I quit, and why moderation doesn’t work for me.
Look how far you’ve come over these last almost six months. Almost six whole months of sobriety! You’ve gone from drinking almost nightly to drinking nothing at all. Vulnerability has become one of your strengths. You have laid yourself bare to a community that has done everything that they can to support you through your hurts and through your triumphs. There’s been a lot of work to do to maintain your sobriety, and you’ve been doing it! Not only have you been able to survive without alcohol, you are thriving. You have become are a person who is worthy of self-love, someone to be proud of. Someone who can receive love from other people, you have softened and that is not weakness, that is strength.
You love getting up early most mornings and drinking your coffee without a hangover. Staring at the clouds and daydreaming about what sobriety can bring you in life, brings you joy. You have dreams now! You want to move overseas when you graduate and somehow you managed to convince hubby to agree. Your husband trusts you in your sobriety and knows that you are reliable. No risky, thoughtless behaviors have been engaged in for the past six months. You haven’t embarrassed your husband or spoken out of turn, cheered on by liquid courage. Your thoughts are measured and you can react appropriately (for the most part) when your emotions are in turmoil.
You have survived memories you thought would crush you if you abstained from alcohol. The memories that you can’t put to rest at the moment haven’t been overwhelming because you’ve allowed them to co-exist with you. How you have grown! You have a special vulnerability with your husband that you have never had since you’ve been with him. Your daughter isn’t walking on eggshells, wondering if she has drunk mean mummy or drunk nice mummy today. You don’t wake up in the morning, humiliated at what you might have done the night before, trying to unsuccessfully fill in the hours that are forever lost in a black sea of nothingness.
You are ALIVE for the first time since you can remember. In the morning, you wake up and you appreciate the breath in your lungs, you appreciate the wind outside, the rain on a leaf and the sun in the sky. You’ve begun to nurture the child-like wonder that has started to bloom within you. You finally feel free.
Take away thoughts of your family for a second and think about you. You are beautiful and you are smart, and you are actually pretty funny. You are deeply flawed but that adds to your beauty. There is an understanding in you, of deep things that not a lot of people your age understand. You have a beautiful, creative mind and a yearning to understand the complexities of your own humanity. You are creative and you have a lot of love to give. Make sure that you give yourself the love and the credit that you deserve and stop beating yourself over the head with all of your perceived failures.
A piece of advice from me to me? Don’t let alcohol back into your life. Challenge the notion that it can add anything to your life. The only thing that will do is take away the life that you fought SO hard to take back. Do you really want to blow up your entire life over a drink? Do you really think that you have control? You don’t. Remember that. You. Don’t. Drink.
Remember when you didn’t think that you could ever stop drinking and you tried to kill yourself to rid yourself of the problem? When you realized that you were going to let a DRINK kill you, a DRINK! Remember when you washed your hands of yourself and gave alcohol control over your life? Notice how you can still remember and feel everything that you attempted to wipe away with alcohol? Remember when you almost blew up your family? Do you remember all the times that your husband had to fetch you from the hospital after being taken away in an ambulance? All of the friendships you blew up? Remember the husband that you almost drove away?
That’s it- that’s the life you choose if you choose to pick up a drink, there’s no moderation. It’s either complete sobriety or an early death. There is one drink between your freedom and the shit–fest that you called a life. You’ve been there before, you know the road, you know where it ends. Give yourself a chance to put the broken pieces back together. Give sobriety a chance. You have done a better job of blowing up your life than most people you know. Don’t even attempt to cross that line again. IF you do, you might not be able to scrape together enough willpower to leave it all behind, and you will end up the broken person you were not so long ago. Will it really be worth it? I think you know the answer.
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Don’t let the shame of the stigma keep you from saying
“I think I have a problem with drinking”
How do you go Sober? ( more reading in blue titles)
B Be accountable Talk to Us We Understand
A Avoid alcohol like the plague Ideas Here
L Let yourself enjoy regular sober treats Ideas Here
A Allow yourself to cry when needed Ideas Here
N Nourish your body with good food Ideas Here
C Create happy & fun memories Ideas Here
E Enjoy the precious moments in your day Ideas Here
W Work hard to get what you want Ideas Here
O Organise things for less stress Ideas Here
R Realise you can’t control it all Ideas Here
K Keep going & prepare for success Ideas Here
S Sleep enough for body & mind rest Sleep Solutions