I remember just before I hit 90 days sober being asked if I’d ever drink again. I remember saying very clearly at that time, “No. I will never drink alcohol ever again.” Seems crazy looking back that I was so clear on that fact at such an early stage in my sobriety, but I was.
Right from the early days of my sobriety I felt like being sober was the turnaround my life was meant to take. That's not to say that it's been easy or comfortable all of the time (far from it!), but I've always been clear. I'd tried every trick in the book to moderate and control my alcohol intake - for years - I’m so happy I made the decision to quit.
Early on I had cravings and sad pangs about not drinking, but those days are long gone, and I no longer have even the slightest inkling to drink. I’m not saying every day is amazing, but even the shitty days are infinitely better without crap loads of booze poured on top.
It took a bit of time to unpick all the hard-wired beliefs I had about alcohol – that it was the best way to relax and host, and was necessary for a full, fun life. Now I know that all the lovely life moments that I thought were made lovely by alcohol, are actually just inherently lovely – no matter what liquid is in your glass!
A cafe table beside the water with the sun shining, a platter of nibbles and a shiny drink and laughter is just as fun if the drink is a lime and soda.
A great party is a great party because it's a great party, not because I'm getting hammered. (A boring party will always be a boring party no matter how much you drink.)
A celebratory toast is loving and cheerful because that's what a celebratory toast with other humans is! That moment isn’t valuable because you’re sipping a drink that triggers a switch in your brain and turns you into a lush.
Stress isn't going to go away with 6 glasses of wine, it's just going to hide behind the door until you've sobered up then jump out at you exclaiming - "I’m still here! Now deal with me along with your hangover and the guilts."
Same goes for Sadness, Anger, Hurt and Grief.
In fact, in my house when I was drinking those uncomfortable emotions had a secret room behind the door and they used to have a private party in there while they waited for me to sober up. They'd plot their next move, “lets get her at 4am when she gets up to go to the loo and keep her up for the rest of the night, yeah!”
They live with me constantly now, those emotions. They don’t lurk in the shadows and hit me when I’m vulnerable. They just exist inside of me along with all the other factors that make me human. I'm used to having them around and it’s ok. They’re usually there for a reason, and I now have much more gentle and nourishing things I can do to help me deal with them.
This is the gift that sobriety brings – the ability to deal with whatever comes along with a clear head and brave intention. It might take a while to adjust, but it’s worth it.
It's so worth it.