How to stop drinking alcohol and starting living again
Updated: May 14, 2022
I am grateful for all that I have learned in my first year of sobriety.
Over these last twelve months, I have traveled quite a bit emotionally. Looking back, I am amazed at the journey I have taken, and I am proud of how far I have come. I can't wait to see where else this road will take me in the years to come. I am so grateful for this year of growth, because I have learned a lot - about myself, what I want from this life, what I am capable of and what I am worthy of being.
I have come to recognize that I wasn't giving myself enough credit for a very long time. I was selling myself short. Allowing alcohol to be my best friend, my only comfort. There are so many other, better ways to live. Rather than escaping, I have learned to be present and to face this world head on.
Through sobriety, I have rediscovered my love of writing again. I have learned to look inward and found relief in introspection. I have found healing through self-discovery.
Instead of hiding and turning away from the hard feelings, I sit with them. I allow my thoughts to just be, instead of numbing myself with alcohol. I am learning to be receptive to my emotions and new ideas, instead of being reactive. Running away and refusing to deal with it all was easier in the moment but harder at the end of the day. It was a coping mechanism, but it was unhealthy and it wasn't benefiting my happiness.
In the past, my initial reaction to any hard situation was to judge myself. Judge others. I am working to move away from judgement. I am trying to live curiously and thoughtfully. Show some more compassion and kindness in all situations.
Also, much of my life I have lived by the judgement of others. Making decisions based on what others think because it's easier to do so. To hide. To blend in. It feels so freeing now to let go of that and to make peace with the imperfections of my past. To be who I want to be and not allow the judgement of those effect the way I live.
Another important lesson that goes along with that - any reaction that might come at me may not even be about me, it's quite possibly about others themselves. If people are judging me, then it isn't always about me. I am in charge of expressing my authentic self and my emotional truth. How it lands on others is up to them. I am not responsible for how people receive it. If others take it to mean a certain thing, then that is their decision. I am only in charge of telling my story and sharing my journey. If it makes others feel badly, then that is not on me. I cannot shoulder that burden. If it makes others judge me, then that is on them. I must show them compassion.
I have learned to embrace vulnerability. I have questioned many decisions, specifically about sharing my story so publicly. I have worried about what others will think of me and how I will be judged, over the last year. What my friends and family will say. In the end, I have embraced this feeling, as it has allowed me to be more authentic. To grow more. The judgement is not about me. Things come and go. I must focus on myself and my happiness. My truth.
I have learned to be more curious towards my children which has led me to be more patient, compassionate and kind. I have developed an understanding with my husband that has allowed us to grow and love one another more deeply.
I have begun to let go of resentments from my past and heal myself, as I learned early on these were the reasons I drank in the first place. To escape, to manage my sadness and anger. To avoid feeling. I have faced it all, and I have learned to start to leave the past in the past.
I have been released from all the shameful mistakes I made while drinking, as that is not me. I never thought I would forgive myself for the things I did while drunk, but I am a new person now. I have been given a second chance and a rebirth. I am free from the shackles and ties that alcohol had on me, and I have a whole new life ahead of me. My children look at me with pride, and we speak openly about my journey. There are no secrets in this house.
Above all else, I have learned to show myself compassion. This was one of the hardest things for me since the beginning of my sober journey. Self-compassion was a struggle, simply because of the cycle of shame I was in or because of the mindset of judgement that I would always fall into. And with this I have gained a confidence and joy that I never thought possible for myself.
Recently, a friend told me, "I enjoy being around you so much more now that you're sober. You're different, but you're better. All the best parts of you from before are still there and all the things I loved about you, but you seem so much happier now."
There isn't a better compliment on earth. This encompasses exactly how I feel. I am the same person, but I feel that things have become so much more joyful. Before, I felt like something was holding me back. It felt as if, some obese presence was sitting on me, suffocating me, squashing my voice, my breathe, making it hard for me to see what was in front of me.
Ultimately, I am grateful for this sober life.
I feel like I can stand taller now.
I can breathe deeper.
I can see more clearly and the colors of the world are brighter.
I can speak more confidently.
I can feel the world finally.
I can love myself and the people around me.
Getting sober was the very best choice I ever made.
Because I am free.