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

25 Comments
  1. Chels 3 months ago

    I’m 30 days sober today! 30 days ago I rededicated my life to God! I was depressed, worried about my marriage, my life choices, and had no idea why I was even living. I felt like everything I touched i screwed up and i felt like i wasn’t good enough for anything or anyone. I drank my sorrows away with a bottle of wine EVERY SINGLE NIGHT! Now that I am clear headed, less anxious, I sleep better and my relationship with God and my husband are better than ever! It’s not easy and the hardest times are when I’m around friends who drink or go to social gatherings where there is alcohol! I’ve learned to suck in all the good in life… the sunrises, sunsets, my family, friends, and the joy in my heart that God gives me. Good luck everyone. Hang in there… With God anything is possible!

  2. Eric 4 months ago

    Here for support in quitting drinking. Like to hear people’s testimonials as well. Any advice?

    • Ste 2 months ago

      Eric I was a problem drinker for over ten years. I was in the catering trade, that’s how it began. First at the bar every night then siwgs of the wine and brandy before going in the pan. Then lines of cocain to keep myself going. I’d have occasional detoxs that may last a week but nothing substantial. Tomorrow I’m 17 months sober. I just quit one day. Don’t really know how. I think when the time is right you’ll know. You’ve gotta want it though. I prayed everyday for this. When the dragon comes be brave, you will be burnt but you are so much stronger then you know. Kick scream, fight and bite. Do whatever you must. I spent the first two days crying in bed. You are your own hero my friend. This dragon wants to take your power and live through you. You can slay the dragon Eric, you don’t even need a sword. You just need to believe. You must believe. Will it into the universe. Know that the dragons words are for its own survival, do not believe what the dragon says, he’s very manipulative. Believe in the inner most part of your being, the silent strength that rises. Use a mantra to drown out the dragon. In bad times my mantra was ‘I WILL NOT MOVE!’ I chanted it in my head and out loud until that craving subsided. When I said them words I meant them with every bit of energy I could force out of me. I WILL NOT MOVE. Well nearly a year and a half since I MOVED to the pub or shop to get alcohol. My life isn’t a fairy tale now but what it is is a little easier to focus and deal with things and I don’t feel sick anymore, I feel physically normal, all the time. I sleep deeply and properly, I eat better. But by far most importantly I remember my battle with the dragon and how close he took me to the brink of hell. Nothing feels better then knowing not only did you survive you put that mother f***er to the ground. I currently have my foot on the dragons head, he’s a sleep but I still need to be careful he doesn’t wake up. I really hope it works out for you Eric. One more thing, I had to fail a few thousands times first lol There are no failures only lessons. You take that mother f***er down, when your ready, on your terms, at your pace. Best of luck although luck is irrelevant once you connect with that inner warrior. You are a warrior Eric, don’t ever forget that.

      • Will 2 months ago

        I am 11 months sober now.
        I am doing well and still having no issues with any cravings.
        I prayed to God after 26 years of hard drinking including morning drinking,….2 days was about my normal “I’m quitting” to last.

        One morning I woke up after about a year of praying for God to deliver me from alcohols grasp and I felt different upon waking up but had no idea that as the day progressed I would no longer crave or care about alcohol…..11 months later, here today and I feel the same.

        It IS a work of God.

        I have to say that despite not needing any inspiration, that was quite an inspirational post.

        I wish EVERYONE well in their journey of sobriety.

        Praise God Almighty for delivering me. I hope others will seek the Lord and be delivered as well.

  3. Alex 4 months ago

    I am 6 months in with no booze. Still dealing with ups and downs with depression. No drive and at times no lust for life. Is this normal 6 months in? I thought I’d be a changed person by now. Extremely driven and focused……but I’m not.

  4. J 7 months ago

    I am on day 18 of going sober. I gave it up for Lent this year but I started two days early because I was just done with drinking. I have needed to quit for years now, like at least 10 years or more. I actually feel like its going pretty well. The longest time I have gone without drinking in the past 20 years was about 30 days one summer three years ago. Before that, the longest I had gone without drinking was almost exactly 14 days about 5 years ago. I almost made it to 14 days clean 2 years ago then it came crashing down during the holidays. I dont know why I think this time is going to be different – but it feels different and I really hope it is. My family deserves for me to be sober and have my act together. I will admit that I am envious of people who can drink and keep control of themselves. I dont know how they do it. Maybe once upon a time I had that ability maybe 19 or 20 years ago, when I was still new to drinking. But Im fairly sure that by around 18 years ago, that all began to change. That spring before my senior year of college I had stepped onto a slippery slope without even seeing it. Suddenly I wasnt the guy who was going to go to a party and just have 1 beer. I was the guy who was going to be doing flaming shots, or pounding one beer after the other, or ordering one pitcher of beer after the other. When I was 21 and i proudly walked into a bar to buy my first “legal” beer I never saw myself becoming the guy who would be hiding whisky bottles all over the house or in the garage or hiding them in the trunk of my car, then secretly throwing them in the trash can late at night or early in the morning when my wife and daughter were asleep so that they didnt know. I never thought Id be the guy who just 5 years from then would find myself stopping in a liquor store several times a week after work to buy another bottle of gin and then lying about it to my then live in girlfriend the summer after she had graduated high school and moved in with me. She wasnt of legal drinking age then, but I was, and I was already hiding the amount that I drank from her. Id buy six packs of beer, every single day that summer of and Id come to the apartment we were renting and Id drink one after the other and then Id drink shitty mixed drinks one after the other in between. She didnt deserve to have her youth wasted like that on a bum like me. Especially since she wasnt a problem drinker. Hell she wasnt even really a drinker at all. But she put up with me. Sneaking around my booze, just like I started trying to hide my cigarette smoking from her for years. When I had ived alone for all those years I could chain smoke cigarettes all I wanted and no one would care. but when I got a mostly clean living new girlfriend fresh out of high school, she kept nagging me to quit so I just hid it.

    Just like I hid the amount I was drinking every day from everyone else, I also hid the extent of how much I smoked for the next decade, only finally quitting for real just a few years ago.

    I just got sick of hiding the booze. I got sick of lying about to my family. I got sick of seeing myself rummaging through the trash to better hide all the wine bottles and whisky bottles I had been drinking that week. I got tired of staying up late at night and passing out drunk on the couch again, only to be awoken by my daughter in the morning, when she says “Daddy, you fell asleep on the couch again.”

    I cannot let my daughter see me drunk like this again. I have vowed it.

    But then that only made me hide my drinking on work trips out of town more. At least for a few years.

    Then when accidents happen and im away on out of town work trips like what happened six years ago when I woke up in a hospital, or two years ago when I lost my phone and wallet while out of town drunk and woke up in a place other than my hotel with just minutes till my meeting, I knew I needed to take action. Maybe I should have figured that out the first time I got to spend the night in jail after driving drunk again 8 years ago. I thank my lucky stars that nobody was hurt in that accident. How the hell can it take me 8 years to get a serious attempt at getting sober despite totaling my car. I think about all the times I got the warning signs and all the times I ignored them.

    What about when I would get black out drunk and do dangerous things like try drunkenly mowing the lawn at midnight. That was 10 years ago and it never occured to me that repeated blackouts should be something I needed to be concerned about. What about when I nearly fell into a major river alone at night and woke up on the muddy banks hung over just an hour away from a major work meeting. How the hell was that only 9 years ago.

    I am deeply ashamed at how long it has taken me to get back to these 18 days sober.

    I want to make it to the full 40-46 days sober until the end of Lent – because I made a promise to God – even if Im not that religious – and then I want to keep going if I can. I hear the advice of one day at a time, and maybe thats what i need to try to get there. Ive failed on both of my other 14 day sober attempts before and so technically, as of this very day, this is the second longest I have been sober in 18 years.

    Thats with me taking my last drink on March 3rd, 2019. That this same month.

    I still have 10 days to go to get out of this single month with out a drink.

    How can that be the longest I have ever gone since college without a drink ?

    I am sorry if this is too long. I know I should have focused on the benefits of quitting drinking. I believe I am starting to see some now.

    • liu 4 months ago

      This is such inspiration for me I am 9 days in and feel totally focused I have gone a week before then drink again as a reward for being dry for a week?! Completely stupid idea .. we’ve all got the ability in us we can never give up giving up …

    • Hud 5 months ago

      Hang in there brother, 78 days for me. Hardest days are on the weekend, especially Saturday night. I wanted a cold beer terribly last night but resisted. Instead, my 6 year old daughter and I caught fire flies last night. I looked up to the night sky, marveled at the stars, took a deep breath and thanked God He helped me through that urge to enjoy a real moment I’ll remember with my child.

    • Chris B 6 months ago

      Congratulations on one month of sobriety. I myself just celebrated 5 months sober March 25th and like yourself in the past ,30 days was the longest I went without a drink. Keep moving forward because at this point everyday is milestone.

  5. Nicole Garcia 1 year 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.

  6. Anonymous 1 year 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.

  7. Anonymous 1 year 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.

  8. Spitz 1 year 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.

  9. Anonymous 1 year ago

    I just want to say good luck to you.

  10. Bijou 1 year 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!

  11. Clare 2 years 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

  12. Connie 2 years 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.

  13. Clare 2 years 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.

  14. Anonymous 2 years ago

    Today I feel down and a bit lost.

  15. Anonymous 2 years 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.

  16. Dawn Merrill 2 years 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!

  17. Cinderella 2 years 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

  18. morgan 2 years ago

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

  19. Anonymous 2 years 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

  20. Anonymous 2 years 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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