Tag Archives: gifts of sobriety

Progress not Perfection

18 Apr

I’m at the start of a few weeks break before I start my new job. The sun is shining, I slept for 10 hours and made a delicious breakfast and I’m curled up in my living room with some relaxing piano music and my laptop. 

That sentence right there ^^^^ has got SOBER written all over it. The kind of sentence that makes a sober heart sing with joy at the serenity and peace of not being hungover and that the drinking mind thinks ‘booooooooring’ at the  mere sight. 

But it’s not boring, it is, quite frankly, delicious. Every other Good Friday for the past few years I’ve been wallowing in a hangover. I’m not sure what it is about Brits and Bank Holidays, but it makes us go a little crazy and hit the pub HARD. In former years, I would have got smashed last night in an unremarkable way, woken this morning feeling shitty and made it through the rest of the weekend by continuing to drink in the evenings, with a bit of afternoon drinking thrown in if I was *really* struggling. Yesterday was so dramatically different to that. There was champagne opened in honour of my last day at work and I refused it without a pang of resentment I couldn’t drink it. I went to the pub after work for my leaving drinks and had soda water all night, not yearning for a beer like I usually would. One of my colleagues asked ‘Do you think you’ll never drink again? You seem to really enjoy not drinking’ to which I replied ‘I don’t know about forever, but for now, I’m enjoying it’ and he accepted that. 

One of the things that has been fascinating about sobriety is that people REALLY DO NOT GIVE A SHIT. I was worried for so long about peer pressure, particularly around my boss who drinks a lot, but last night not one person tried to persuade me to drink, and my boss bought me soda water all night. I created that barrier to change, the notion that I would be rejected if I didn’t drink. No-one cares. People admire it when you go, have fun and stay sober. They like it when you’re happy to chip in with rounds even though you’re not drinking. In other words, they’re happy to have your company, not to have just another drinking partner.

After my struggles with sobriety last weekend, I’ve been doing a little exercise called ‘Old Post Bingo.’ I get my WordPress app out, scroll up and down through my old posts with my eyes closed and pick one randomly to read. The idea of this was to scare myself into never wanting to drink again by seeing my own despair on the page in black and white, but of course in reality, the exercise has been much more subtle than that. I’ve seen before my eyes the slow march of progress towards a better life. 

This morning’s bingo post was this. The moment that after months of being dissatisfied with my current job, I was forced to go out and find something new. The joy of reading this back with the power of hindsight is that I can see my newly found sobriety glowing strong through my thoughts and actions. I didn’t get wounded or panic but was proactive and found a new job, my dream job in fact, that I’ll start in a few weeks time. What I didn’t know then was that I’d soon be offered another contract at the company I was with, negating the panicky situation. If I’d been drinking, I would have been too hungover to do anything proactive, dragged my feet and eventually found myself with a new contract offer without having to lift a finger. I would have been absolutely fine for a job and money, but drink would be ravaging my body and mind and I’d still have that niggling feeling that there’s a better alternative out there. 

SOBRIETY is that better alternative. Everything good in my life over the past few months has come from sobriety. And whilst I might still have my wobbles and the urge to drink sometimes, it fades, whereas my little sober flame does not. 

Pretty cool huh? I’m looking forward to a weekend of relaxation, calm and above all, sobriety.

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Gifts of Sobriety Part II

8 Mar

I 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 made the craving battles worthwhile.

Then, I was a fledgling sober chick learning to make my way in the sober world, with every day a scary experience full of lessons. Now, I’m a fledgling sober chick with just a tiny bit more experience behind me, but my goodness what a difference that experience has made. I’ve seen the benefits of sobriety morph into big, huge, life changing things. 

I like to leave myself little messages in a bottle to remind myself why sobriety is worth all the struggle and heartache. Here’s my latest list of the benefits of sobriety:

I have landed the job of my dreams: I blogged last week about finding myself without a contract that would leave me out of work. I knew that this was both a blessing and a curse: it would get me out of the job that I knew was a major part of the dissatisfaction that drove me to drink, but that I needed the stability. Because I’m sober, I accepted the bad news, moved on and set about getting a job search going. Yesterday, I was offered the role of my dreams. I cannot quite believe it. There is NO WAY I could have got myself together to get that job when I was drinking, no way. This job is life changing, and yes it’s down to my hard work and the fact I’m good at my job when not under the influence of alcohol, but it is also 100% a result of getting sober. 

I have bought a house– I laid the foundations for this in my last sober run, beginning my search and this time round I’m in the process of sealing the deal. Such a stressful, grown up decision would have been completely out of my grasp when drinking. 

I’ve been given the all clear on liver health– speaks for itself, this one. Thank God I’m not dealing with long term physical consequences. 

My self-esteem has been transformed– I like myself now, I accept who I am and I trust myself a little more. This is worth its weight in gold. Drinking made me feel like a piece of dog poo squished on someone’s shoe and I don’t have that battle to contend with any more. 

I have rediscovered a faith– A former Catholic who renounced the religion, I never thought I’d find myself turning to God again. But through AA I have, and it gives me such enormous comfort I can’t describe it. The job situation I’ve described feels like it’s got “Higher Power’ written all over it. I can’t believe I’m typing this, little sceptical me would never attribute anything to God, but now I do, and it makes me feel good. I feel safer, and trust that ‘everything is just as it’s supposed to be’ right now, which helps my mental well-being hugely.

My physical image is vastly improved– I look better because my skin has improved dramatically and I’m slowly slowly losing a little weight, but that’s not what feels important here. I feel comfortable in my own skin. I feel confident that one day, I might find a man who finds me attractive and could love me for who I am. I no longer have the desperate desire to lose a stone in weight to feel better about myself. Amazing stuff. 

The world is my oyster– I once said to Carrie that if I want to achieve anything in life, I have to stop drinking. If I want a decent career, job, or relationship, it had to go. Having had such amazing benefits of sobriety thus far, I feel I can live an exciting and full life that I could never have dreamed of when I was drinking. 

Last year was laying the groundwork– when I drank again at Christmas, I felt like I’d thrown away all my good work, because the second I drank I was back at square 1, having to do those painful first few weeks of sobriety all over again. But what I didn’t appreciate that all the experiences I had, the lessons I learnt and the sober tricks I banked were setting me up for a more successful sober run. I say this with great caution, but for me (and I can only speak about my own experience), every relapse was an important and possibly vital lesson learnt. Someone once said something similar to me about relapse being an important lesson, and I took it as a license to drink so I could bank more “experience” of the consequences of drinking, which was my alcoholic brain at work. I’m not for one second suggesting that drinking again is a good idea for anyone, but what I am saying is that the more you try things out and find things that work for you or things that trip you up, the more confidence you get and the easier sobriety becomes. 

 

I’m conscious as I write this that some pretty amazing things have happened because of sobriety and that it won’t always be like this. Nor will it feel as immediately rewarding and as easy as it does today. I still get killer cravings. I only have 7 weeks of sobriety that is so precarious everything I’ve worked for could come crashing down at any point. 

So I’m putting everything I can into staying sober, it’s just too precious to lose. 

Happy Saturday gang! 

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