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Sober Milestones – From one month to six years Reflecting on Living Life Free
How does it feel to stop drinking? How does it feel to stay sober for three months or a year or five years? If you’re sober curious, if you’re thinking of taking a break from drinking or if you’re ready to go alcohol-free but aren’t quite sure how to do that yet, we hope that these posts will inspire you to take a chance and Rethink the Drink.
I’ve probably had a hundred day 1s in the last 7 years but and it has led me to this point in my life. Life is so much better. Don’t give up.
I’ve decided I need to be brave.
I feel very proud of myself. I’m in control (whatever that means) and leading my life the way I really want to. I feel peaceful as I’m writing this.
So these are my thoughts on my recent experiences. …. cont
What is different this time? Well, I’ve been thinking about that as I believe mindset is where it is all at. Firstly I struggled to get past day one for several months. I desperately wanted to stop drinking. Every morning when I woke up I promised myself ‘today is the day’ and then had a glass of wine in my hand by 6 pm latest. If it was a weekend then probably lunchtime! But I kept stopping and one day it stuck.
There is a bottle of Bourbon in my freezer which I should have poured out when I started my Alcohol-Free journey. I pulled it out of the freezer the other day, pulled off the cap, held it to my nose, and took a deep breath (psychologists would refer to this as “dangerous behavior”). Yep, smells like Bourbon, all right. Other than that … nothing. No desire to have a drink, no desire to numb myself, no desire to start down that path again. I put the bottle back in the freezer and said, “I’m not afraid of you anymore.”
Also, I don’t feel like I have to perform so much at home, to convince myself that everything is getting done, despite my habit. When I was drinking, I felt bad about how much stuff I let go because I was drinking or hungover, so I would either be berating myself about that, or pushing myself really hard to try and stay on top of things. Like a poor little mouse on a treadmill, running but not getting anywhere..
I have learned in the past 4 months that there really is absolutely nothing solved by drinking. There is no relationship or event improved by including alcohol. Really.
It takes a bit of time to realize that. Each time you ignore the little voice in your head that encourages you to drink it will get quieter. Starve that little voice and it will die.
At this point I don’t crave alcohol anymore. But I will never drink again because I know that I crossed a line and am addicted.
I want everyone to feel as proud, focused, calm and centered as I do today.
Yogis control their thoughts words and actions… ideally. We practice. But thoughts are extremely powerful and they lead to the words and actions. I think that is why sobriety has worked so well for me. I changed my mind, not just deleting the act of drinking but truly taking charge with the right thoughts.
I had a great list of things to look forward to thanks to Boozemusings, the Boom Community, and this terrific post, Guide to your First Month of Sobriety: Why and How to Quit. It all came true and more.
All it takes is one drink for my nightmare to start again. After only one drink it starts. The anxiety and tightness in the chest feels almost like a heart attack.
The demon screams
“you need another drink! Only more alcohol can ease your pain”.
This of course is a lie. One of many lies that alcohol tells me.
This blog post is to remind myself of what it is like to drink the poison known as alcohol. I am starting to forget the horrid things about drinking and FALSELY remember fun and relaxing times. At the end of my drinking there were NO fun or relaxing times. Only regret, self loathing, horrid hangovers.
For me, sobriety is the most empowering experience of my adult life. I have not been brainwashed or hypnotized and I don’t think that alcohol is demon’s poison. I just know that my long and illustrious drinking career is over and I am thrilled with the result. Rather than waking up blurry, hungover and grumpy I’m up at six ready to rock. It turns out that every occasion that I once thought required a drink is actually more fun, less stressful, easier, and more genuine with a clear sober head.
It was my self that was lost and this process has been one of trying to find my way back. The longer I’m sober, the stronger my connection to my real self and the world becomes. Now that I have it, I never want to lose it.
I won’t lie, it was a hard first 30 days, and the next year was a lot of work and self discovery. But I will say at almost 18 months sober, I almost cannot believe that was me. I almost cannot believe that I was living that way. I almost cannot believe the lengths I would go to in order to satisfy the need for my wine. It seemed a big and scary idea to stop drinking. I wasn’t sure what would happen in my life. But I was pretty convinced it was going to be all bad things if I kept drinking. I took it one day at a time and tried not to think of forever. Forever is overwhelming. It still is!
I often hear people trying to stay sober say ;
“I MISS MY DRINK”
Don’t think for a second I don’t understand. Don’t think I don’t know exactly what you’re going through. Don’t think for a second I didn’t go through exactly what you’re feeling. I am so sorry you are scared and miss drinking and think you have no choice but to stay as you are.
This is hard. Make no bones about it you are flailing about not knowing what you’re doing, one moment determined and the next in ‘F’ it mode.You want to drink but don’t want to drink because you know deep down it’s harming your body and mind. Can we call it a slow suicide? And round and round you go.
Sobriety is a practice.
My sober practice right now, in beginning my third year alcohol-free, has to be flexible, agile, moving, but intentional and centered around harmony, truth, and authenticity. And that’s the thing for me about thinking about sobriety as a ‘sober practice’. The sobriety itself is NOT the end goal. The sober practice provides the foundations for a rich and authentic life. I know – people in AA have been saying this in a different way for almost 100 years – but for me, thinking about it this way is revolutionary! Sobriety is NOT the end goal, It’s the foundation. And for me, it is the foundation of a Sober Practice – practicing how I want to be in the world and of the world without substances clouding my way.
I did not WANT to stop drinking. I loved to drink . I loved the taste of wine and the shape of the glass and the beautiful labels on the bottles. I loved the sensuality of wine. At the end of a long day, I loved the soft warm buzz that I got from that first glass. I loved letting my body and brain go numb as I finished off the first bottle. On the nights that I kept going and drank to oblivion, I loved escaping to the dark, velvety nothing shortly before my brain shut down in a waking blackout.
4 Years Sober
Before my relapse in early 2016, I had 5 years of sobriety under my belt, but I wasn’t happy being sober. I had always told myself I could drink again one day and that when I did drink- that I would be able to control it. I managed to stay sober for 5 years, but I didn’t have any help or support to do so, so after my relapse, I began to consider what I needed to do differently to succeed.
So now that I accept that I still have in me the seeds of my own destruction, it is time to find more creative ways of becoming harmonious me, starting with learning to articulate my needs and providing myself with my wants. In doing this, I will draw from the lessons that I learnt in early sobriety: I was afraid to stop drinking because I feared who I would become. I discovered that I am a much better person than I ever suspected.
So I’m here to say you can make an absolute choice with no loopholes. It can work and it’s good when it does.
For me, if it wasn’t simple I couldn’t do it. If there are any fallback positions, any get-out clauses or loophole, I don’t get past the first hungry/angry/tired/ecstatic moment – the old pathways are too well established. But a simple, always-on ‘no’ answer to any urge or question about drinking I can manage – so far anyway.
Whenever I felt like drinking I went onto the site for hours and hours – to read and comment and to get as much support as I could. By reading over and over again and having to accept just how much alcohol affected not just me but so many other people I saw the reality. -That this legal drug is causing problems for too many.
Slowly, very slowly, I moved onwards and I counted every day as another day I’d got my life back. And here I am at 5 years. Believe me, I’m as shocked as you. If ever there was an ‘if I can do it you can’ it would be me.
So, in a nutshell, my message to you is you are human. Apologise when you need to but do not carry your past on your back. Be loud, be proud: in doing so you will not only be helping yourself, but you will be doing an immense service to others.
I chose emotionally freedom and heaven on earth.
What do you choose?
7 years Alcohol-Free!
Make no joke about it I sulked and pined for the companion I had lost…. my grief a physical pain at times.
– Though deep down I knew we hadn’t been friends for a very long time.
For now, for today – the rules were so very simple – I could not drink alcohol – and the reality of living that rule was so very hard.
– AND THEN THE MAGIC STARTED TO HAPPEN AS THE DAYS AND MONTHS WENT BY
– Seeing the World through new eyes I realised I was becoming happier and healthier in body – and most importantly in mind.
It was – and still is for me – TRULY AMAZING to live this way
If you’re “sober curious” … If you are drinking too much too often and want to stop or take a break…or if you have stopped drinking and are trying to stick to sober! Talk to Us. Join us for 100 Days of change or start with 30 days. Try a Dry July, Sober October, or New Year’s Dry January challenge.
We are an independent, anonymous and private community who share resources, support and talk it through every day. It helps to have a community behind you in a world where alcohol is the only addictive drug that people will question you for NOT using
Don’t let the shame of the stigma keep you from saying
“I think I have a problem with drinking”
Where will it take you ?
“When you quit drinking you stop waiting.”
― Caroline Knapp, Drinking: A Love Story