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