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