Sober Hindsight

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Sober Hindsight is one of my favorite things about living alcohol-free. Sober Hindsight is something you only really experience when you've got a few sober weeks under your belt, and you've managed your way through some rough times without drinking.

In other words you dealt with some gritty stuff in the raw - without numbing yourself with booze.

It's hard work doing this right? Especially when you're newly sober because your brain is screaming for it's usual coping mechanism.  "Aaarrrggghhhh!!!" you scream internally…'Give me some relief! Poor me! Poor me! Pour me a drink!".

But if you resist, if you don't pour yourself a drink, if you dig deep and grind your way through the the gritty time without reaching for that lovely numbing liquid (which really isn't lovely at all but a false, temporary fix).. and the stuff gets dealt with or fades away.. and more time passes… then sober hindsight is your payoff.

It come a good few weeks after the event … so you've got to have a decent amount of space between you and the tough stuff… and you've got to have calmed down again and still be not drinking. If that's the case and you're thinking back over that tricky time, hopefully you'll start to realise you feel quite remarkably resolved about it. Or at least better than you usually would if you'd boozed your way through like usual.

I was gobsmacked when this first happened to me. Just by being sober through a huge upheaval and properly feeling my way through it meant that I felt more resolved about it, calmer about it. I had a better understanding of it.

It was when we had to relocate cities and I was newly sober and didn't really want to move. I cried and cried and cried and cried and cried my eyes out. I was in a lot of emotional pain.. deeply sad about leaving our lovely community rich with friends and family. I was absolutely gutted and bawled for days. Honestly, it was intense and really hard work.

Then we moved.. time went on and things started calming down in the new city … and suddenly I realised that while I was still sad about the move, having cried so many tears over it meant I felt ok. Better than I expected myself to feel. It felt like I'd honored my feelings by shedding so many tears and that alone made a huge difference looking back. That alone was enough.

Simply by fully experiencing the deep uncomfortable emotion associated with our move, I felt better about it. I'd still moved cities.. I still miss my friends and family terribly, but because I honored those feelings it felt ok.

Honestly, you just have to try it to know what I'm trying to explain. Stay sober though a tough time and for a while afterward - and then hopefully looking back you'll understand what I'm trying to describe here.

Has anyone else felt this way? Tell me if you've experienced Sober Hindsight. Have you ground your way through some gritty stuff without booze and now looking back you feel quite resolved about it? I'd genuinely be interested to know if others have experienced this….

Love, Mrs D xxx

9 Comments
  1. Fish2603 7 months ago

    I am literally going through this right now. My man has had enough. Despite my resolve to stop. Early days yes, but apparently he’s heard it all before. He wants to buy me out of the house and I have to leave. Despite my explaining to him my realisation that alcohol is no longer my coping mechanism for the side effect of my epilepsy drugs including anxiety and depression and that I finally see it has become and addiction which I am ready to face my family and friends through therapy and have been and am seeking the further help I need and have asked him to attend counselling with me which he was initially keen on … he doubts my motives, the consequences if I don’t and wonders why I didn’t see this sooner. All my dreams are falling apart and I have no idea where to go or what to do.

  2. johatnn 9 months ago

    Great post Mrs D. I love it that you were able to fully own your feelings and not make them all about another person, place or thing.
    Yes, I went through something like that, made a big life change, could have blown up my marriage relationship but kept processing, kept owning and feeling my feelings, not expecting anyone or anything to change to make me happier. Journaling, talking honestly with friends. Yes, crying, sleepless nights at times, isolating, walking…. There’s always something, right?
    Feeling calmer and more grateful with the life I’ve carved out. Living without the social lubricant to calm my social anxieties.

    • JOSEPH OCONNOR 9 months ago

      Hello I’m trying to get sober support am I getting through to anyone/just a hello would be fine

      • Ailsa 9 months ago

        Hi Joseph, I hope things are going well. I’m newly sober, only 6 weeks, but finding it easier every day as I appreciate feeling so well and living in the moment. Good luck.

  3. Connie 9 months ago

    Great post Mrs D. I will be sober 5 years at Christmas and your words reminded me of thoughts I have had often. I have managed some
    big life stressors with far more grace and resolve than I could muster when drinking. And what I notice now almost 5 years sober is that I don’t even have to wait for hindsight… I am more mindful and I observe myself in the moment handling things with more patience. People joke about drinking and cocktail hour being so needed during the pandemic. I have gratitude that I am not adding to the pain of isolation and
    worry with drinking myself into oblivion. To all you new to sobriety hang in there! It’s not just that it gets easier, the world gets lovelier.

  4. imbolc 9 months ago

    I seriously thought I was having a break down. I felt so miserable and didn’t want to be around anyone when I first stopped drinking. All the grief from my Dads death and unhappiness around my job came exploding out of me in lots of big messy situations. It passed and as JM said it’s all about taking care of yourself. I’m peaceful, stronger and so pleased that during those first few weeks I didn’t give in to the alcohol “lets make it feel alright” lie. I know that it’s still early days but it’s going good, very good.

  5. SeaSandSober 9 months ago

    meant to say …that was my first post. So rude of me! I should say hello. I should give a wave. I should ask to be welcomed. I do want to belong. Loved your first book Mrs D.

  6. SeaSandSober 9 months ago

    I too am at a cottage, on holiday. That means drinking in the hot tub. Right? Not this time. Long walks. Log fires. Sparkling limonata in the tub. Deep sleeps. Hanging in there .

  7. JM 9 months ago

    Hi Mrs-D and all! Great post. Something happened early in the summer, where I was so enraged, triggered, reliving trauma that it felt a bit unbearable. Shortly after, I went to a friend’s cottage, and cottages were once a huge association with crazy drinking as I had seen that a bit growing up. I so wanted a drink. But I didn’t. I went to bed early and couldn’t sleep for most of the night. I had really difficult feelings, and friends of the friend were partying outside all night loudly which didn’t help with frustration. But a little voice came to me around 5 am – “Take care of yourself.” And that became my guiding force over the summer, and I had this beautiful, pretty calm summer. Sober hindsight. Take care of yourselves, lovely All! xo

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