Some benefits take a LONG time to emerge….

Some personal benefits come relatively quickly to the newly sober person – things like better sleep and improved physical wellness.

Some personal benefits take a bit longer to settle in – like improved moods, increased self-respect, weightloss & a sense of inner calm.

And some benefits take much, much longer to emerge. These are the benefits that aren’t just about us – the individual sober person. These are the benefits that trickle out into our relationships with others. And they take time, often only emerging when you and your loved ones have spent many, many months with your sober self.

When we first get sober we are very self-focussed – as we absolutely need to be! – and concentrate hard on working inside our own heads to get booze out of our lives. Family & friends watch on as we undergo this huge transformation and can react in a wide variety of ways.

I’ve heard members here describe loved ones who are supportive and involved, family members who are confronted and obstructive, even partners who are unaware and disinterested. Maybe your loved ones goes through all of these responses within a six month period! Maybe they start out supportive and then react badly to the newly emotional you (a dull and numb person might seem preferable at times!) Maybe they are sceptical because you’ve tried and failed before. Maybe they’re desperately, overly hopeful which is off-putting. Maybe they are doubtful which is confidence destroying. Maybe they’re horrified which would make the whole mission incredibly challenging.

Maybe you’ve got absolutely no idea what most people around you think about your mission to get sober.

I had a mixture of the above I think. But I held very closely to the belief that I couldn’t spend too much time thinking or worrying about what other people thought. I had to cling to my truth which was that I knew absolutely 100% that my drinking was a BIG problem that was rapidly progressing. I knew I had to stop, and I concentrated very hard on getting myself sober.

Only after we have gone through months of this self-focussed transformation do our friends and family begin to adjust, relax (or resign themselves) and realise that this new sober person is here to stay.

And then, slowly but surely, new benefits start to emerge. And new norms begin to cement themselves in our lives and the lives of the people around us. Dynamics slowly shift.

Maybe fighting isn’t so fierce (or not there at all). Maybe some relationships fade away and different ones take centre stage.  Maybe communication pathways that were previously closed open up and new, deeper connections form. Maybe long held resentments get pushed aside or deep wounds finally get acknowledged and dealt with. Maybe points-of-difference become more apparent and new positive & practical coping mechanisms get developed.

A whole bunch of benefits can emerge but these are the ones that take time. They involve more than just us. And we need to respect that those around us take as much time to adjust to our sobriety as we do.

All I want to say is ‘stick at it’. Getting sober is hard work but the benefits that slowly accumulate make it so worthwhile. In my humble opinion, nothing bad can come from us getting sober. But some of the most incredible benefits take a long time to emerge.

Love, Mrs D xxx

16 Comments
  1. Nicole Garcia 3 months ago

    Not sure how long you’ve been sober, but I also went thru depression when I first got sober. I was unable to feel happiness or excitement. I had no sex drive and just felt totally numb. I suggest do some research on Post accute withdrawal symptoms if you haven’t already,it helped me to know it was normal. Then all of a sudden around 3 months I just got better. Hopefully this is the case for u as well. Good luck.

  2. Anonymous 3 months ago

    I see your post is older, but, I hope you are feeling better. It’s tough dealing with life when you are not reaching for booze or drugs to forget it all. I have depression on many days, and right now, when I am feeling like I am not good enough, or that I have made too many mistakes…..I try to refocus in the moment, that moment, and ask myself, “Did I drink today?” The answer is no, so give yourself a pat on the back for that, that has to be enough on some days. I am learning to let it all go, all the noise in my head. It isn’t easy. I fell your pain. And I know I am not the only one. I am waiting til’ I am sober for a good while before I see if I am clinically depressed. It is hard to guage what our true state is when we have been using substances to bury everything. I wish you success.

  3. Anonymous 3 months ago

    So true. I am only a little shy of 2 months sober, and am dealing with a lot of anger at my alcoholic sister. We drank a lot together, and she is also a mean drunk, like your siblings. She, and my mother bullied me into making a life decision that was devastating to me, many years ago. I am dealing with anger at myself, and anger at them, now that I am sober and dealing with the reality of what transpired. I wonder if you have confronted your siblings on any past dysfunction caused by alcohol abuse? I do not think my sister would care, and she probably doesn’t give the event a second thought. As far as I know she is still drinking, but I have ceased calling her, and she no longer reaches out either. She is probably not even aware of my anger, and resentment toward her. Alcohol is poison to the mind, body and spirit of not only individuals, but entire families.

  4. Spitz 3 months ago

    Yesterday the whole family was together and drink. I was a day short of two months and happily stayed sober. Watching my brothers drink and wanting more to stay buzzed was tough. They got mean, nasty talk and sloppy my sisters just got mean.
    I woke up calm and guilt free, with opportunities ahead of me, not regret. Alcohol is a packaged lie, never fills you and helps you hide from real issues.
    Let’s stay sober.

  5. Anonymous 4 months ago

    I just want to say good luck to you.

  6. Bijou 8 months ago

    I’m 18 days sober. I have made it up to day 14 many times, not many times to 18 days, twice past 90 days; all in the past 14 years.

    What’s different this time? Why should anyone, including myself, think this time is any different to the last time I said I wanted to be sober? Or the hundreds of times I said I want to be sober?

    I’ve had it with being deceptive and doing things the young me would never had tolerated from anyone, myself included. Life is so much more enjoyable when I can relax and not be constantly on alert for an opportunity to drink, to lie, and (my greatest shame) to steal. Life is great when I don’t need to justify every little detail in my life.

    It’s time to get real though. I have not been able to find any quick fix. All us addicts look for quick fixes! I highly doubt that there’s ever going to be a quick fix. I have to accept that my journey of sobriety will have to last the rest of my life. I want a long, happy and productive life, so I hope it’s going to take a long long time.

    The last sentence gives me a little lift. It means that I don’t just have time to make amends and make good the negative impact I’ve had on others and myself, I have time to do more. It gives me hope that my future can be positive and productive, happy and fulfilled. That my life and the lives of those I love and care about can improve, even the tiniest amount, day by day.

    A few people have said I should go to rehab. This strikes up some fears for me. Mainly, I can’t afford rehab, and I’m scared I would subconsciously sabotage myself – expect a quick fix and end up drinking again. In the meantime, in order to help stave off relapse, I have had my GP prescribe me Antabuse, that I take the same time every day. At the moment this is helping me keep focused.

    I would love some feedback including opinions on rehab, recommendations. I’d welcome support too.

    Thank you if you have managed to read my entire post – I didn’t mean to write so much!

  7. Clare 9 months ago

    Happy Easter !
    Lying in bed with yummy mocchocino coffee,admiring my fresh roses & gerberas,reflecting on the last week which was tough,but if I can live comfortably without wine/beer,then I can come up with better ways to reduce and manage my stress/anxiety within some relationships.
    Go me haha.
    Keep safe and keep going alcohol free,it’s our own unique special way of life,and I’m proud of it.
    Kindness to everyone here-
    Clare

  8. Connie 9 months ago

    It is good that you recognize that drinking escalates your fights and you become verbally abusive. But physical abuse is never ok and the fault is in the abuser. You never “deserve” to be beaten/bruised. Your partner needs to atone for this while you atone for the person you become with alcohol. You do not cause the abuse.

  9. Clare 9 months ago

    Bang on post.
    I have noticed I no longer can be bothered putting up with people I have found to be ‘toxic’ in my life,I simply don’t want to waste my time,energy,gifts,or open my heart to being hurt or bruised by them.
    There’s no more precious wine at night to drown out my feelings!! And I’m doing well.
    My inner self is getting stronger, I really regret wasting 20 years dancing with booze.
    I’m 42,and looking forward to the next 20 beautiful years,oh may they be good,gorgeous years.
    Kind regards to everyone on this website.

  10. Anonymous 9 months ago

    Today I feel down and a bit lost.

  11. Anonymous 9 months ago

    I’m sitting outside looking out to the most beautiful view. Life is good when I’m not feeling like crap after a night of drinking. My decision to stop came yesterday morning waking up with shame, then guilt, then anxiety then back to shame. The roller coaster of emotions. That night of glasses of wine and good food lead to a in his face argument and then me being aggressively pushed down. A swollen elbow and a bruise on my back. Did I deserve it? Absolutely! And this has happened before. Several times over the years. The difference today is my 14 year old witnessed it. I will never allow that to happen to him or me again. I know I need to be sober at all times to prevent my nasty verbal abuse toward my partner in order to never be pushed to the ground again.
    Day 2 of sober me.

  12. Dawn Merrill 9 months ago

    Wow! This whole post hits home for me. Getting Sober brought it all. I was really quite confused , as I took it all in along the way , but I finally realized it would just take time. I am going on almost 15 months Alcohol Free and the new me is here to stay. The journey has been emotional , but all the benefits are amazing and I have so much clarity . Thank You Mrs. D. You are an inspiration with your post and your 2 books are amazing! I loved them both!

  13. Cinderella 9 months ago

    Humbly given and humbly taken thanks Mrs D-)
    Damn right there’s nothing bad that comes from not drinking!!
    As an aside. I get very euphoric when I slip in to the first few days and weeks and months of not drinking. Then boom a trigger or a happy ‘romantic’ reminder and it’s back to zero on the counter. What happened to my euphoria a beautiful feature of not drinking. Well, I forgot to consciously remind myself why why why I had made the ‘sober’ decision in the first place. All those future features and benefits I would have gained have now been pushed back another mile!! So yep be conscious and ‘stick with it’ to reap the benefits no matter how long earned it takes. I really love feeling euphoric yay!!!!!!! Happy days all xox

  14. morgan 9 months ago

    Love this description of how it can be. Yes, such a mixture, still. Thank you so much for reposting. Xx

  15. Anonymous 9 months ago

    This is what exactly the situation I am going through now!!. 3 weeks sober.. My wife is still not convinced & not trusting my another attempt to live sober..as this is not the first try. She cannot cope with my new way of life.. My mood swings makes it worse.. Sometimes I feel so depressed & feel like I am the most boring person in the planet. Only thing I am looking forward at the moment is..whatever happens, my only goal is to stay sober today. Rest I am leaving behind.. L

  16. Anonymous 9 months ago

    Agree! I find that sobriety is not unlike an onion, many layers. This is what I have found of late: I have always been sort of a self-conscious, anxious person – a lot of it attributable to how I was raised. Of late, after almost three years of sobriety, I feel a little more easy in my skin, calmer, more confident, less prone to take bad behaviour of others personally. Sobriety is anything but boring. Enlightening. Thanks Mrs. D! x

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