2 years ago, while searching around the internet for help to stop drinking, I stumbled over some words that were not at all what I expected to be reading. The title of the article was pretty straightforward, Guide to your First Month Sober: Why and How to Quit Drinking, but there was little in it about the dull, controlled and somewhat depressing world that I assumed was addiction recovery. I had no idea how much those words would change my life. I joined the online community, BOOM Rethink the Drink, that was recommended in that article, and 100 alcohol-free days later, I was loudly proclaiming that no drug was sweeter than my sobriety. It was like I’d found a portal into this magical parallel universe.
Now at over 2 years sober, I love my life in a way that is entirely new to me. It’s the life that sobriety cultivates, slowly but oh so surely. It’s a life so full of intense gratitude and appreciation that it’s almost psychedelic. Any little thing I might have taken for granted before is now blooming and swelling with joy. It could be doing dishes in my sunny kitchen while my daughter chats about her career goals. It could be cycling to work past spring flowers. It could be shopping at the upscale market and a fantastic jar of pickles. I’m alive and that’s pretty special. Aging is a privilege denied to many. I’m also free from abuse and poverty, which is newish still, and something I’ll never take for granted.
Being a drinker was not being alive. It was being a host to a parasite. Being a drinker was unwittingly trading everything good for a brief and elusive spike in mood. Alcohol took far more away from me than I even realized it had until I got some sober momentum. Now that I have the full range of life’s offerings before me unfettered, I can’t believe I ever courted that stupid parasite. But I can forgive my former self for not knowing better.
If you are struggling to stop drinking or stay sober, please meditate on your inherent capacity for joy. What you think alcohol gives you is a fake and alien version of a lie of an experience. All you need is within you. It might take some digging to get there but it’s right there. And it’s so much bigger and better than a life awash in booze.
For the Month of May – The second full month of my 3rd year alcohol-free! I thought I’d celebrate the spring in my spirit and write something fun based on a wordplay using May.
Actually, within the subject of sobriety you could give me any random term to riff on, because in my experience, sobriety connects to EVERYTHING. Sobriety leads to everything, everything that matters anyway.
Sobriety means experiencing life more fully and it means sorting out your head and your past. No more escape, just alllll the feels. In my life, it’s been practically psychedelic, like a hyper-real dimension I live in now and never want to leave. I never thought I could do it, I never tried going sober before, except this once, and it did start with a big MAYbe.
MAYbe… May it be? It just might!
Maybe I could experience what these Boozemusings writers, on the blog where I read that article, were talking about, looking better (that was honestly the hook), being really present in the conversation, not feeling endless shame, feeling free, so many positives.
Maybe sobriety wasn’t just deprivation but the acquisition of these positives and powers. That was a huge leap in rethinking drinking for me!
Maybe they were on to something and I should check it out.
Thing is, it’s a wonderful mind shift, the pivot from what was to what could be. The big tempting maybe. You just need someone to illustrate this glorious new land for you to have that vision to ponder. That’s how the Boom Community, that Boozemusings lead me to, saved me. When you are in the pits it’s so hard to imagine anything changing. And when you’ve soaked your brain in alcohol for so long you don’t realize how limited it has become, for such fanciful ideas as a much-improved life. It does not compute. So you really need a big maybe to draw you out of this stupor. You need to get to yes, I will quit drinking, but first, you get to maybe.
Like maybe you are sober curious.
Curious and maybe are good friends.
Now I should say that I don’t know what it’s like to quit drinking more than once, so for those that do, they know just how much better life can be. It is acquired knowledge, no maybe about it. In that case, for the sake of my tidy word play, it’s more of a maybe I can get back there.
Maybe it will stick this time. Maybe that slip unlocked the last lesson that had to be learned.
You can list all your maybes, it’s such an inviting word:
Maybe I’m stronger than I thought.
Maybe I won’t miss it!
Maybe I won’t feel so sad.
Maybe I’m not so stuck.
Maybe my relationships will improve.
Maybe I could love myself.
Maybe I could have nice things.
Maybe it’s time.
It’s just an invitation to imagine. We know we need things to move towards, and not just away from. And I think our brains are rather easy to lead around, so I do like to keep it going forward by really envisioning what may be. When you are older and wiser as most of us are by the time we get sober, you can more easily let go of the things you can’t manifest, so it’s ok to envision, move towards and then not attain something. Not every dream can come true. But plenty of them can. And I just find sobriety really fuels the limitless possibilities in life. After all, when you remove the garbage that was clogging you up and stifling you in your life, your self-development and achievements seem to escalate. Booze demands loyalty to it number one. Without that full-time occupation, you have the energy to burn on all the good stuff.
So what MAY BE for you?
I’d love to hear you speak your dreams a little closer to real. And maybe you just be. That’s a zen chill concept, isn’t it? Integral to sobriety for sure. Just being you is not just enough it’s fantastic! Because drinking isn’t being you it’s becoming something else. Being is rising above the need to get and have, and yet it lets you really enjoy the things you get and have. It is occupying yourself comfortably without the itch to consume something, all those pesky externals.
So may you be.
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