Gifts of Sobriety

7 Dec

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After a shocker of a week where my emotions have been all over the place, today I feel unbelieveably calm. In this sober journey, it seems my emotions are shifting much more quickly between extremes. 

Today, as I inch towards a month sober, I’ve become very aware of all the gifts of sobriety that I’ve encountered over the past month. 

It’s list time! IlLove a good list to reflect back on when I’m feeling like I want to dive face first into a vat of wine…

1) The notion of being kind to yourself has been a lifesaver. I honestly think that in my 27 years I have never, ever practised being kind to myself. Life has been a constant exercise in achievement and self improvement, and never just doing what serves me. I’ve started to do this and OH MY GOD IT’S AMAZING. Life is just so much simpler when you listen to your own wants and needs. It’s been critical to my recovery and might be the biggest lesson I get out of this whole sobriety lark. 

2) Time– when you don’t drink you get huge lumps of time back, which at first are scary, but if you use them wisely are so amazing. For one thing, I no longer turn down invitations at the weekend because I’m not scheduling hungover time. HUNGOVER TIME?! What madness was that?! I actually used to account for it in my plans as if it was a legitimate use of time. I’ve done so much this month, despite the off days, the battles and the white-knuckling it moments. 

3) Passions– I’ve rediscovered things I love doing, outside drinking and running- before, if I wasn’t doing one you could be damn sure I’d be doing the other. I feel in touch with my former self, before emotional drinking got in the way. 

4) Eating– I’ve been strictly observing the HALT rules and I realised that I haven’t fed myself properly or responded to hunger for the best part of 10 years. Yes I’ve unleashed the sugar monster and have some new work to do on my diet to get it to be balanced again, but the feeling of (mainly) nourishing my body rather than merely repairing it after alcohol abuse is foreign and bloody brilliant. 

5) Autumn– I’m so glad I’m doing my first month sober in Autumn. Autumn is my spring- every year I take stock at this time of year, relish the changing colours and the cold weather. I have created my little sober cocoon in the room I drank so much in and feel genuinely content in the low light and candles, nice and cosy, drinking my tea or soda water. 

6) Sleep– who knew I could get so much sleep?! I’ve been sleeping 7-8 hours every night which is unheard of. I can tune into my natural rhythms and recognise being tired and deal with that, rather than drinking through it. HU-RAH for sleep. 

7) Socialising- I’ve had so much fun when I’ve been socialising sober, and rocking the sober tiara makes me feel amazing. The triumph of getting through a party until 4am last weekend has not only reminded me I have loads of fun sober, it’s also reminded me socialising sober is preferable- you remember things people have told you, have meaningful conversations! What novelty! What fun!

8) Support- I am so grateful for the support network I have found in this journey, everyone has been amazing in their wisdom and patience. When I was struggling with questioning my alcohol issues alone, I always came to the conclusion that I was fine, and should drink through the worry. It’s such a comfort and help that we’re not alone in this weird struggle that has become such a big part of our lives. 

9) My body– I have abused my body in so many ways over the years. On that last day of drinking when I felt my liver hurt I knew that something really had to change. I’ve really focused on listening to my body which encompasses so many of the positive lessons I’ve learnt above, and my body is thanking me. My eyes, which were yellow, are white again. The redness of my face has calmed. My puffy face has slimmed down. I have more energy and get the warning signs when I’m too tired. Weight loss hasn’t come yet, but it’s more important at the moment for me to biff wolfie on the nose by deploying my Secret Sobriety Weapon (a Cadbury’s Twirl) than it is to lose weight. Weight loss will come if I continue on this path and learn to listen to my body. I had an amazing realisation this morning that chocolate aside, I naturally eat healthily and do alot of exercise- at some point, my body will get to the weight it’s supposed to be, whether it’s my shape now, thinner or even a bit heavier. And I’m ok with that. I’ve had enough of keeping my weight artificially low, of suppressing my emotions with alcohol, and at 27 days sober, I feel ready to be authentically me, warts and all. 

Pretty bloody exciting eh?

What’s your biggest gift sobriety has given? I’m so excited about what might happen over the next weeks and months I’d love to hear your stories…

 

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9 Responses to “Gifts of Sobriety”

  1. jenisthesoberist December 7, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

    I love your list! There are so many gifts that come with being sober. I think that having more time, being more present in my life, trusting myself more and watching my priorities change have been my greatest gifts so far. There are little ones every day, though, and they make my life infinitely better overall. 🙂

    Love this post! xx

    • Lilly December 8, 2013 at 12:18 am #

      Yay! This is awesome. Let’s see, at 7 months sober…

      I saved a huge amount of money
      I bought my very-own first-ever apartment
      I, too, am sleeping like a baby
      I am less anxious and less depressed. Both things still plague me sometimes but they are far less intense than during the awful post-bingeing anxious blues
      I have not once in 7 months worked up with those hideous feelings of shame, guilt and remorse and ‘what the fuck did I do?’
      No hangovers!!!! This does not get old!!!
      I have been trying new things, like yoga, running, meditation. Not always consistently or successfully but, whatever, that i am even trying them is good enough
      I stopped sleeping with someone who had been messing me around for years and never really treated me kindly. He’s been in touch recently and without all the drinking drama I realised I truly no longer care. I just feel a bit bored by his usual same old
      I feel calmer and more in control of my life
      I feel stronger and more confident
      My skin looks fabulous!!
      I have lost 4 kilos since my last heavy drinking spell and that’s despite a new dependence on ice cream of a Friday night
      Apparently I have sober sparkle 🙂

      Thanks – I needed that. I am feeling a little down myself today. Just a little blue. Not sure why. A bit afraid about the holidays I think. So good for me to count my blessings.

  2. primrosep December 8, 2013 at 7:23 am #

    What a cracking post. I bet you will find it valuable to look back on too as you go further down this twisty turny sobriety road. It’s easy to forget how we felt even a short time ago and writing it down really helps me.

    I also think your list shows that you are not only doing the whole NOT BLOODY DRINKING thing, but also dragging out into the light the issues that led you to drink in the first place. I do hate the phrase ‘dry drunk’ (“Whaddya mean? I’m not drinking, what the hell more do you want?”) but I do think it will be easier for us in the long run if we can face those issues, feed them a barrel of gunpowder and throw them into the Grand Canyon (may have watched too many Road Runner cartoons in my youth…)

    A massive well done on everything so far and keep up the good work!

    A lot of the benefits you mention had me nodding in recognition. I think looking at the big picture, for me the biggest benefit is my overall mindset. When drinking I was trapped in a perpetual negative spiral of self-loathing, drinking, and guilt. Now every day that passes I am in an upward cycle of feeling proud of myself, happy, and wanting to do nice things to look after myself. Ain’t no-one going to take that away from me. Least of all, myself.

    • Lilly December 8, 2013 at 7:30 am #

      “I think looking at the big picture, for me the biggest benefit is my overall mindset. When drinking I was trapped in a perpetual negative spiral of self-loathing, drinking, and guilt. Now every day that passes I am in an upward cycle of feeling proud of myself, happy, and wanting to do nice things to look after myself.”

      DITTO DITTO DITTO! That sums up how I feel so well. Even on my worst days now I take so much better care of myself and my thoughts are more positive and focused forward not backward. Great comment.

  3. happierlikethis December 8, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    Fantastic post FFF and ditto to Primrose; the mindset changing is the huge reward. Don’t want to go back to the hellish old one. I also love the list. Think I’m in need of one myself to remind myself what sobriety has given me. Thankyou. Love this.

    • FitFatFood December 9, 2013 at 10:13 am #

      It’s a great exercise to do- the hellish old life feels so long ago, but close enough to remember how horrible it was!

      Happy Monday to you 🙂

  4. sobermalarky December 8, 2013 at 9:52 pm #

    Wonderful post! I feel for me I am starting to feel warmth, love and trust for the good people around me, and let people who don’t support me fall away. No resentment, just learning to care for myself and feel I have worth.

    • FitFatFood December 9, 2013 at 10:11 am #

      Fantastic- the greatest gift of all I reckon 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Gifts of Sobriety Part II | FitFatFood- Blogging to Stay Sober - March 8, 2014

    […] blogged last year, when I was 30 days into my sober run leading up to Christmas, about all the positive things I was experiencing in sobriety. Lots of small things, adding up to a sense of contentment, which […]

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