Getting Sober vs Living Sober

Getting sober and living sober are two very different things. One is a short(ish) term project that is hard work and requires a big concerted effort. The other is a long term lifestyle choice that requires the implementation and nurturing of a variety of nourishing tools and techniques.

Getting sober requires grit, determination and bravery. It involves you identifying triggers, beating cravings, shifting hard-wired beliefs about alcohol and reframing your identity to that of a non-drinker. It is an intense, tricky process that can take months of effort. It is turning your life around!

It is hard work – no doubt about it – but cracks of light come through at every stage in the process. Slowly but surely things improve, you get glimmers of hope and whispers of freedom that eventually turn solid and magnificent.

Then eventually one day you realise the hard work is over, you’re not having to make so much effort any more to not drink. You relax into your new sober skin and not drinking becomes your norm. This is a happy day indeed!

But then the ongoing work required to live sober becomes very apparent. This is the work to establish (or really ‘bed in’ if you have them already) tools and techniques that will keep you strong when dealing with everything life deals up.

Because tricky stuff comes along constantly, and living sober means we are prepared to always face them without numbing or blurring.

Us sober folk NEVER get to avoid feelings by bending our brains with a liquid drug (like many thousands of other people do). We NEVER get to take the edge off a tricky day with a glass of wine (or five). We NEVER get to let loose with a bevvy or two and forget about our cares for a while. No. We front up day after day after day, through sadness and stress and pain, through tricky relationships or or complicated interactions, and we remain raw and alert and present for all of it. Sober.

And for this we require some next-stage/long-term recovery work. This is the job of living sober. This is where we need to find, learn, foster and cement a bunch of kind, authentic, nourishing tools and techniques that are going to be with us for the rest of our lives.

These things aren’t quick fixes (like booze is). They’re not dramatic and outrageous (like booze is). They’re subtle, deep, grounded, nourishing and powerful (unlike booze).

They’re also utterly fabulous because these are the things that lead to a genuinely calm and satisfying life. That’s what I’ve found anyway. I now have a vast array of lovely tools and techniques that I can turn to when the going gets tough. New things in my life that I never had when boozing and only started to develop after the hard work of getting sober was done.

I wouldn’t have these things available to me if I’d kept boozing, and that would be a great shame. Because right now – at nearly 6 years sober – I’m happier, calmer and more content than I’ve ever been before. And this is a glorious thing.

Love, Mrs D xxx

P.S. I describe what my tools and techniques are for long-term sobriety and how I found and established them in my new book Mrs D Is Going Within.

  1. Anonymous 5 years ago

    Just wanted to comment on getting verses living….

    In my journey I thought I was strong enough to do it on my own.
    The benefits associated with stopping drinking kept me high for a few years.
    I lost weight and felt great, life changed and I was born again into a new life of sobriety.

    Slowly but surely the beast worked its way back in until one day after nearly 5 years sober I took that 1 drink that lead back to ground zero.

    You see I believe drinking is a function of my disease. I needed to better understand the why and I couldn’t do that alone.

    There is so much support now for people like me… for me, I have to use it…

    Don’t be fooled it’s a powerful, cunning seductive beast. I need every tool / weapon available to keep it at bay.

    Thanks Mrs D, fantastic to be part of this community

  2. Twinkle 6 years ago

    Hello, Mrs D!

    I’ve just been thinking about this. The difference between getting and living sober. I think that’s why I checked in this evening, I needed to read something encouraging and there you were. Thank you xx

  3. MsLil 6 years ago

    Congrats on your new book. I can’t wait to read all about your inspirational ideas and ways to handle long term sobriety. I have just re-read your first book – its helping me already to take the bull by the horns and get rid of this ugly part of me that keeps rearing its head. Thank you.

  4. Pegret61 6 years ago

    Absolutely loved your new book…so many things resonated with me.I’m 280 days sober (thanks for the calculator on LS) and I’m really happy to be sober…but…I have felt a little lost…I have just started yoga classes and I’ve been trying to do meditation and mindfulness…trying…its not as easy as I thought. Your book has inspired me to keep at it…thank you Mrs D…you’re an amazing lady…I have so much admiration for you..

  5. AnneC 6 years ago

    Love you, Mrs. D, and love this post! You are an inspiration to me. Thank you!

  6. NoMoreNoMoreNoMoreNoMore 6 years ago

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your wonderful book Mrs D Goes Without. My Mum heard you on the radio last week in New Zealand and sent me the info about your book, your blog and your radio interview. I straight away purchased the book for my Kindle and I haven’t been able to put it down (except when I had to stop, when I read about your blog, then I had to leave the book and get onto the computer and sign up). I can totally relate with so much of what you have written and I think it will really help me to follow in your footsteps and write out my own story, just to get it out of my head.

    Congratulations of your sober time up and especially for sharing your all. You are a great inspiration.
    I have been struggling for the last year. I have tried and keep on trying AA meetings but I get a block when asked to share. I love the people I have met through AA but Im just not su’re its the right place for me.

    To be able to share anonymously here, I think, will be so much easier. Anyway, I’m going to give it a try.

    Thanks again enormously.
    PS I am currently 39 days sober.

  7. Darleen 6 years ago

    Thank you very much Mrs D is sharing those thoughts in your head…. I downloaded your book and am enjoying it very muchily and even recommended to a friend with a sugar addiction…. I listened to all 3 of your radio interviews and even had “heavy drinking trying to moderate husband” listen, who commented later on that it was good to listen too….
    Keep up the awesome work Mrs D – you rock!!!

  8. Janna 6 years ago

    Thanks Mrs D. Lot of good solid truth in this postxxx

  9. Cinderella 6 years ago

    Thank you for all the calm strength that goes on behind these effective powerful posts Mrs D. They are a true inspiration and helps to keep us all one step ahead – ) xx

  10. Lucy 6 years ago

    Loved your post @mrs-d and I’ve just listened to your interview, very true al of it… My sober 3 month treat is your new book, should be here next week……. thank you.x

  11. JanB 6 years ago

    So very true and real @mrs-d…..thanks for writing and sharing!

  12. Beth 6 years ago

    Me too! I hit two years on March 15th. You’ve explained my experience perfectly.

  13. JM 6 years ago

    This is timely for me. At 2+ years of not drinking, I have no cravings. But sometimes the sober life can feel arid, flat, desert-like – which is really my life speaking about adding something else to challenge or inspire me. So many upsides to the sober life: I like the quiet pride I have in staying sober every day, no matter what. So much time + money was wasted in the past, I love luxuriating in long nights with my dog, books + computer. I’m really looking forward to reading your new book @mrs-d. It doesn’t come out til November 1 here in Canada. Great post, thank-you.

  14. Clare 6 years ago

    Lovely delicious post!! I utterly devoured it!
    Getting a new pixie cut today,a reward for my good work this year so far,I’m doing well.
    People keep saying “you look really good have you lost weight?” I say”yes,Thank you,no wine.”
    Loving my new job too,life is good.
    Have a good weekend Mrs D.

  15. Anonymous 6 years ago

    A good absorbing, challenging hobby is a must.

  16. a77734 6 years ago

    Thanks. Needed that right now. A good read and food for thought.

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