Taking care of yourself in the first year of sobriety is so important and part of that self-care is about taking care of the child inside you. The stroppy inner child that has learned to demand a drink when things are rough or boring will challenge you at every turn and it’s good to know what to expect. It’s also important to know that what you are doing in staying sober is learning to address the needs of that inner child in a healthy way.
When I first began to live alcohol-free, I was elated to finally get past day one. Then after the first three months sober, I thought that I had nailed sobriety. I felt amazing and expected that I would keep feeling amazing and be happy for the rest of my life. Sadly, suddenly, the pink clouds that I was riding on turned grey, and self-doubt began to settle in.
When those early sobriety pink clouds turn grey it usually means that you are feeling a bit lost, a bit empty, a bit deprived, and it’s time to wrap yourself up in cotton wool for a little while. You used to indulge in alcohol and that did not serve you. Part of staying sober is learning to know when you need to indulge and how to do that without drinking. In your first year sober you need to be okay with having unproductive days. You are no longer losing time and energy to recovering from drinking sessions so learn to let yourself lie low now and then just because you feel like a down day. Let yourself watch soppy movies and cry like a baby just because.
When you stop drinking away your feelings you may be surprised at how forcefully they come out. Some days you may need to storm around like a mad man/woman and to scream like a banshee. These days can be the toughest days, especially for me as I didn’t feel like I was being rewarded for the great feat of sobriety that I had undertaken. I wanted the world to acknowledge my heroic effort! If you have to rant and wail a bit at the injustice of the world, rest assured that any ranting done sober, will pale in comparison to the type of damaging rant you may have indulged in drunk.
In my first year sober, I found that it is the great human ability, to keep going no matter what. I tapped into this when I needed to during those darker months. My inner demon drink child bashed me from the inside so bad some days, I thought she’d rip through my skin and march down to the pub. But I got through it. I separated myself from this other entity that felt like it was going to take me over. I starved her and I walked her until she cried in the corner. Most of all, I kept her safe while she was raging.
It’s important to forgive yourself for these days and know that it will get better. There come other times where everything feels tedious and drawn out; like life isn’t fun anymore and you may lose the concept of what fun even means. It’s like the raging inner entity cancels any kind of enjoyment that used to be felt. This is just the demon drink child cunningly trying to get her own way. Don’t let her win. She will begin to quite after that first year sober.
Something miraculous eventually starts happening to that little child. It awakens, not as a demon but as a child of wonder. It starts to see the things that were hidden by a preoccupation with alcohol. Things that have always been right in front of you, that can now be cherished. A spring day that blossoms, a smile from a stranger, renewed energy. It’s like waking up from a long foggy slumber and that little wondrous child begins to grow daily.
My wild nights of fun and debauchery are over and this is the fun that I used to crave. This has been replaced by a child-like wonder and appreciation of little things.
I can’t count the lovely moments I’ve had throughout my sober journey thus far but they come more and more as time passes. It is different now. Sobriety is joy. It’s unexpected funny things that happen and I notice them because I’m present. In my fourth sober year that stroppy inner child is in stasis and no longer has the power she used too. She’s not completely silent because I’ve sat with her, and waited until she caught up with my new sober life. I now walk side by side with her, and she is quiet. We have both learnt that my sobriety is my most precious thing.
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
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