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…