When is a newbie no longer a newbie?!

Someone asked in the Members Feed a while back “When do you stop being a newbie?”.

I thought it was a great question. I often refer to ‘newbies’ when I write things like ‘hang in there you newbies’ … and when I do I am thinking of those who are brand new to sober living. But when do you stop being a newbie? And what do you become when you are no longer a newbie? An oldie?!

In many regards I still consider myself a newbie at 3+ years sober!! And compared to someone who has 15 years of recovery under their belt I am. I am still having to learn proper emotional management techniques. I am still aware of my non-drinking status in society. I am still sometimes confronted and unsettled by others boozing around me.

But then again someone with 5 days of not drinking is very much a newbie compared to me at day 1273, and they’re probably working 95% harder on all those things (emotional management techniques, being hyper-aware of their point of difference, trying to be cool with other people drinking around them).

I think it’s totally up to you to decide whether you want to label yourself a newbie or not. Maybe you’ll never label yourself at all (I labeled myself a ‘non-drinker’ from Day 1, that really worked for me). Maybe your thoughts about your ‘newbie’ status will change with your moods, and with who you are talking to. Like everything else in recovery (life?) it’s a very individual truth and only you can own your own truth.

Personally I like it when I am talking to those with a lot more sobriety under their belt than me. I find it humbling and refreshing to feel inexperienced at sober living. I like that I can look into their eyes and see a deeper wisdom than mine. I like the feeling that there is a lot more for me to learn, more for me to develop into, more that is going to come along and teach me and (hopefully) settle me down.

I just love being sober so much. I’m so appreciative of my alcohol-free life, I am fiercely proud of myself that I am dealing with everything without any blurring of my brain, ever. I sometimes think of all those people who are boozing away night after night and it breaks my heart that they are interfering with their emotions so much. But I can only concentrate on myself and be thankful for my authentic, gritty life.

Most of all I’m just so bloody delighted that I recognised my drinking for the problem it was and worked like shit to retrain my brain and get it out of my life. Newbie or not, anyone who works to do the same should be incredibly proud of themselves. There is nothing bad that could be said to anyone who is getting sober. Nothing bad at all.

Love, Mrs D xxx

22 Comments
  1. freebreezi 5 years ago

    Yep, at 255 days I still feel very much at times like a newbie. At times I am very vulnerable, sometimes that vulnerability catches me by surprise. As its so much an individual journey being a newbie me gives me the security that moments will happen and I will survive them and I am still, l okay.

  2. Liam 5 years ago

    This is a timely post for me as I have been feeling like I was struggling with some things lately. Wondering if I could now consider moderating at this point. But I think that is a dangerous mindset for me to consider. It was refreshing to read from both those who are just starting their journey and also those who are at a point in their journey beyond where I am currently positioned. The idea that soberity is a lifelong pursuit or journey that never really ends until I stop living, it is just a part of who I am now. That is valuable for me to consider and reflect on. Thanks everyone, I apprecaite you all.

    • butterfat 5 years ago

      Hi @Liam, reconsider your wishes to moderate see my profile and you’ll see why. It simply does not work. Once we’ve crossed the line we simply cannot return and start afresh. I now accept this, but it has taken a few goes at Sobriety and trying Moderation to get to this stage believe me 🙂

  3. morgan 5 years ago

    Love this. At Day 196 I certainly feel very new to this in almost every way and don’t think i will ever become complacent or lose the wonder of the difference it makes to life. I think my ‘newness’ is illustrated in the sense of shock about my brainwashing & increasing addiction, that is still very real, frightening & shameful. That shock is reinforced every time I see ‘normies’ being ultra nonchalant about alcohol, or enjoying small amounts then obviously stopping happily, no worry. I am incredibly grateful for all the ‘brakes’ I had preventing me increasing my intake, & of course to you Lotta for being the lamp lighter, for really blowing the myths out of the water in such a manner that many of us got it! Thank you.

    • Pollyonthewagon 5 years ago

      Love that description of Mrs D. She most certainly is a lamp lighter !! There are so many avenues that we can take but very few that we actually follow because they light the way so clearly. Following Mrs D and this website keeps the light shining and keeps us moving forward into a life of sobriety and the most wonderful discoveries.

  4. Furtheron 5 years ago

    Today is day 3947 for me.
    I still consider myself a “newcomer” (I’ll use the AA term as that’s what I’m comfortable with). However as I approach 4000 days and then just after that 11 years sober I suppose many must look at me as an “old timer”.
    I consider myself as “newcomer” as there is still so much to learn, so much to do on myself, I’m just a work-in-progress not anywhere near complete yet. I hope I retain that attitude frankly the desire to continue to grow in sobriety I hope will keep me focused on that sobriety not take it for granted, become complacent and then then find, too late, that it has slipped away and a drink is passing down my throat.
    Also for me as I’ve grown in sobriety I listen to the newbies – I get so much from them. They are closer to the last alcohol in their system than me, they remind of things I’ve begun to forget… that complacency again that I fear may take hold. So – tell me how it is newbies I’ll tell you if I relate to that and how I moved forward but you’ll also remind me of why I had and still have to move forward.

    • butterfat 5 years ago

      Yes @Furtheron I remember AA slogans well, even though I don’t attend meetings anymore. And reading your post is a great reminder to me …. thankyou

    • AlexP 5 years ago

      Wow, @furtheron. That’s just incredible. And you’re still counting days. I’m only on 200 today and that feels special but it’s a pimple scratch compared to your journey. But I know what you mean when reading newbie posts. It’s a really good reminder and any Day is good to share. We can all learn something from each of us. That’s what a supportive, encouraging community is all about and why LS is my Go-To place.

  5. J.C. 5 years ago

    Thank you so much for these words, Mrs. D. They are so inspiring and really speak to me. Most of all, they give me hope that I can really do this…once and for all. Period. End of story. I do not drink. Thank you for this wonderful site, and for your wonderful self. As far as the newbie thing, I was 9 years sober at one point in my life, but I decided I could moderate, and I guess you can tell how that turned out. The booze was there waiting patiently, and in no time at all, I was back where I started, only worse this time. So now I’m a “newbie” again. And that’s just fine. Thanks for being here.

  6. Gabbygirl14 5 years ago

    Great post @Mrs D you are amazing!!!!! I am 135 days sober and I am feeling great. I am definitely a newbie. I NEVER would have EVER thought I would be starting my 5th month without a drink. So many things have changed in my life for the better!!! I don’t wake up feeling horrible from another night of drinking. I am cooking food!!!! Finding easy recipes off the Internet. My family is delighted!!!!! Before we lived on pizza, spaghetti and food ordered in because I was too busy drinking. I have made stuffed shells, lasagna, chicken and dumplings, pasta salad… and all from scratch!!!!! My one son said “mom I did not know you could cook.” I get up almost every morning and I made scrambled eggs for the kids before school. A hot breakfast was unheard of when I was drinking. Tonight I will make a new dessert which will be a another shocker for the family. So I look forward to 6 months of sobriety and then 9 and then a year. I know I have a long road ahead of me but I am willing to do the work to stay sober. Thank you Mrs. D!!! This website saved my life!!!!! Love, Gabbygirl14

    • Liam 5 years ago

      I agree, thanks for that post. I really liked reading it. Made me smile!

    • Hart 5 years ago

      Hiya @gabbygirl14. Your post is so bubbly & joyful & bursting with happiness, that is so cool – & so inspiring for me, love it…… X

  7. lwilson 5 years ago

    I love this post so much!!! I am 51 days in and I love my sober life. I RARELY miss alcohol….to the point now that I really don’t even think about it. I am also learning how to deal with things and it feels so good to get through stressful moments all on my own without my old crutch. I am still a “newbie” but the good thing is I WILL be an “oldie” someday!!!

  8. Sprigofsage 5 years ago

    Good morning Mrs. D! Something you said spoke to me – about loving not drinking. I didn’t think it was possible! I am a new newbie, only 10 days now under my belt but already realizing how much more life “out there” I notice now, even just simple things like the beauty of a late winter day while walking my dogs. When I was blurred with the drink, I just wanted to hurry and get home. Love to you!

    • elhall 5 years ago

      I agree Sprigofsage. I’m at 10 days as well. I had a wonderful sober weekend and find myself slowing down to appreciate what’s around me. It feels so awesome waking up without a hangover and feeling that the day has new possibilities.

  9. soberlynn 5 years ago

    Guess I’m a “newbie” if a label is ever needed which, at my age, is more or less a compliment. 🙂 It just goes to show that you really can teach an old dog new tricks! 🙂

    • freebreezi 5 years ago

      I’m with you, at 47 (not far off 48) I’m loving finally learning new tricks.

    • Author
      Mrs D 5 years ago

      And that it is never to late to become a fabulous sober warrior @soberlynn! xxx

  10. KAM 5 years ago

    Awesome stuff @Mrs D! I agree that you sort of have to do what’s best for you. For me, I recognize that I’m new at sobriety in that thinking about not drinking ever again is too much. So I’m comfortable and satisfied with being a newbie where others may not be. Either way. Today I did not drink…and haven’t had one in over 30 days! Hot damn! Sure feels good to say that! 🙂 Thanks again.

    • Author
      Mrs D 5 years ago

      Hot damn indeed @KAM ! You are doing great.. xx

  11. Rosieoutlook 5 years ago

    Seven months on and I’m very much like a newbie. Which is fine, as it means I am still really focused on this journey of self discovery. And at 42 getting to find out who I actually am. I love it! Xxx

    • Author
      Mrs D 5 years ago

      I think that’s the thing @rosieoutlook.. maintaining focus. That’s why I love talking or hearing about people who are 15ish years sober. Like WOW! Something to strive for in my book. Can’t wait until I’ve had more sober years in my life than drinking years xxx

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