A GLANCE BACKWARD AFTER 2+ YEARS OF SOBRIETY & LESSONS LEARNED
I have been reading some journal entries and drafted blog posts I wrote during the first 90 days of my sobriety. I remember well the clarity, determination and clearheadedness I felt.
The beginning of sobriety is actually very simple in terms of priorities, life was about complete devotion to staying sober each day, trying to get to know this other new sober part of my personality. Today, with over At 2 years of sobriety, my life has changed dramatically, trying to stay away from alcohol each day is not my main focus, I no longer wake up thinking about alcohol because this new way of living sober has become my lifestyle.
I feel I am freed from alcohol addiction, I enjoy being sober and love learning about recovery from alcoholism.
Lets take a look at the post I wrote over a year ago;
ORIGINAL POST ~ THE FIRST 90 DAYS OF SOBRIETY
“I am approaching 90 days in sobriety and so far, it has been a journey. When I first decided to quit drinking my mind was full of doubts, insecurities, fear of failure and wonder about whether I would be able to cope and live a normal life without alcohol. It had become very clear to me that I could not go on living the way that I had, the effect of alcohol in my life was becoming unbearable. I was miserable, depressed and had very little enthusiasm for anything, but here I am, nearly 90 days sober, writing this feels so normal it shocks me, I can’t believe it has taken me so long to realize the effect alcohol had to my mind and life.
When I thought about writing this post, I imagined it might be difficult to come up with more than 20 lessons learned in the first 90 days of sobriety, but as I wrote, more and more lessons learned sprung to mind, it’s incredible the amount of positive change sobriety has bought to me. Writing this post from the perspective of being 90 days sober shocks me yet feels like the most natural thing in the world, I am so thankful for my sobriety.
The past 90 days sober haven’t changed my life entirely but there are noticeable differences in my character, these changes are certainly for the better, for the first time in a long time I feel like I am on the right path in life, it’s getting better daily.
At times I feel like having a drink and I get upset if I dwell on never drinking alcohol again, sometimes I feel envious of other people’s ability to handle alcohol, I get frustrated because I want to be like them, these thoughts come and go. Overall I couldn’t be happier, my life has changed for the better and I know the future will continue to improve as long as I stay sober from alcohol and continue to work at my new lifestyle.”
LESSONS LEARNED IN THE FIRST 90 DAYS OF SOBRIETY
Here are some things that come to mind about the first 90 days of sobriety experience…..
1. Life is not unbearable without alcohol
2. It is possible to have fun without alcohol
3. Learning how to live sober is difficult but the overall journey is amazing when you pause and think about it
4. Your true friends will remain your friends when you stop drinking though your relationship may change
5. Your authentic self will begin to emerge slowly and surely adding a different dimension to your character and personality
6. You start to remember who you were a long time ago before the alcohol gave you another identity
7. You begin to truly experience your emotions again
8. Your imagination becomes child-like again
9. You will need to acknowledge, own, and accept your behavior when you were drinking, this will help you move forward toward a new and different life
10. There will be tears, regret, hurt, fear, shame, and embarrassment
11. You will feel good about yourself at times
12. You will meet new people
13. You will learn new things and your lifestyle will change
14. As you continue to be sober and work on your yourself, you will stop dreading the future, it will become something you look forward to
15. The cravings for alcohol will lessen and when they do surface, the feeling is less intense
16. If you put what you would usually spend on alcohol into a jar or the bank you will get rich quick
17. Time becomes precious
18. People become important
19. You will transition from a self-centered state of mind and become sensitive to the needs of others
20. Suddenly, your life might seem very normal now that you don’t drink alcohol, your mind may begin to trick you into thinking that you never really had a problem, don’t be fooled, you did have a drinking problem, don’t fool yourself into drinking again
21. You must constantly re-evaluate your progress
22. Goals are the pathway to a new life
23. Books are a great way to escape a bored or frantic state of mind
24. Exercise is essential to your emotional wellness
25. You will miss the relationship you had with alcohol
26. The future holds endless possibilities
27. There is no turning back now, to have one drink would leave you feeling like the past 90 days were a waste of effort
28. You spend a lot of time reflecting
29. You stop counting each day of sobriety and start counting in weeks
30. It is ok to say ‘No’ when invited to parties and events
31. You become independent, you don’t rely on others
32. Your family and close friends can focus on their lives instead of your drama
33. Social events will be more fun than you anticipate
34. Writing is an effective way of expressing your true feelings
35. You plan for the future instead of living day to day
36. Quotes and affirmations are inspiring, uplifting, enlightening, and mood changing, use them
37. No more hangovers
38. You will conveniently forget the misery alcohol caused you while you scheme and plot to drink again, beware of these attacks on your mind
39. The odds of staying sober are against you, even in AA the chances of staying sober without relapse are extremely low. Be determined not to be the wrong statistic
40. You may be in denial about being an alcoholic
41. Just one drink now and again is not going to work
42. Adopt Zero Tolerance towards alcohol
43. You need to work on having a positive attitude every day, hit the reset button every morning
44. Staying sober is your main priority but creating a new lifestyle is equally important
45. Know what triggers you to drink; know the reason why you drink, is it more tempting with a particular friend? Is it due to tiredness? boredom? feeling sad? Awareness will keep you from mindlessly drinking again
46. Get organized; rearrange cupboards, get rid of junk, clear out what you don’t need. Messy surroundings create chaos in the mind
47. Take care of yourself; get a hair cut, buy a new outfit, spend time at a spa, or gym, pamper yourself frequently so you feel good about yourself
48. If you are used to doing everything drunk/merry/pissed, then know the first time you do things sober will be difficult, but once you have done it the next time will be easier
49. In the first few weeks especially, there will be new challenges each day for you to deal with without using alcohol, by thinking through the possibilities of what may go wrong in advance, you will be prepared to react rationally instead of grabbing a drink, it could be people, places, situations or the thoughts in your mind that you need to aware of
50. Have a good excuse planned for leaving an event
51. Research different programs for help staying sober; AA, holistic, treatment centers, immerse yourself in recovery and find what works for you
52. Have a gratitude list, read it often
53. You may need medical help and therapy to stay sober
54. Remind yourself constantly that you may not feel as great as you want to every day but each day you stay sober you are making progress toward the life you want to live
55. Praying helps
56. You may cry a lot
57. You might wonder if you will ever experience laughter/fun/excitement/happiness, again, you will
58. You know people who are alcoholics but maybe never realized it until you got sober
59. Keeping a journal is a great way to record your progress, It could be the basis for a book someday
60. Some days you may feel awful, you used to drink it reminds you of why you used to drink. You will overcome these days and feel stronger for doing so without using alcohol.
61. You can really start to see that by eliminating alcohol, so do you get rid of many of your other problems.
62. It is possible to quit drinking without going to AA. – Many years ago when I attempted to give up drinking, I went to AA because I didn’t know where else to turn. I realized back then that if I wanted to stop drinking for good I was going to have to find another way because AA just was not for me. What is for me is determination, a vision of a better life, the use of a journal, life list and a support system within the friends and family that I have.
63. The ability to think clearly and argue less.
64. That living life in a drunken haze is to not live in reality. Most people drink to escape reality and they often do, but they also create a new reality that is far more harmful to themselves than if they were to face up to real life. Drinking creates far more problems in ones life than living sober.
65. There is far less drama in a sober life.
66. You learn to regain self respect and confidence.
67. No amount of drinking will change the way you feel about yourself, nor will it make you happier, nor will it make you more fun, good looking. The negative effects of alcohol will always out win the good for an alcoholic.
68. I am more interested in how the mind works and the reasons why people use alcohol and become alcoholics.
69. You can spot an alcoholic very easily
70. You will never know how much better your life could be if you don’t take the first step and commit to sobriety
71. There is a process in sobriety, without a doubt getting through the first day, week, and month is the hardest, then the process changes to dealing with all the memories, and reliving everything.
72. That it is better to give up alcohol on your own accord than being ordered to by a doctor.
73. You only have one life and you owe it to yourself to give yourself a chance to be truly happy.
74. Sobriety may be unattainable unless you make some big changes in your life. If you are able to make minimal changes to your current lifestyle then that is great. But the chances are that if you are reading this then you need to make some important lifestyle changes otherwise quitting drinking will be unsuccessful.
75. Reasons for drinking can depend a lot on your age and lifestyle, when you are younger you tend to drink more because of the social aspect, this is also another reason why it is so hard to quit because you may not be able to give up alcohol as comfortably as if you are married, settled etc.
76. Socialization is one of the many reasons that people drink.
77. Life is a journey
78. It is important to have a support system around you, close friends, family or a group where you can openly discuss how you feel and what you are experiencing in sobriety.
79. Bad days can really sap your energy but you can get past them without drinking.
80. There will be days when you feel so good it is almost unbelievable. On these days, grab a pen and write down how good you feel as well as a list of everything that you are proud of yourself about. Tuck it away and get it out on next day that you don’t feel so good and could do with some tender loving care.
81. It is a good idea to spend a little bit of time researching anything that you enjoy doing, just to see if you could take it further. If you like writing; experiment by setting a goal to write every day for a week or exercise, train for a mini marathon, or art, sign up for a class.
82. In 90 days I have learned more about myself than in the last 10 years.
83. I don’t feel like I am missing out on alcohol anymore, I feel lucky to be this aware of how badly it was affecting me.
84. That usually, there are underlying problems associated with alcoholism, I don’t think you become an alcoholic just because you like the taste and love how it makes you feel.
85. That you shouldn’t really need to alter your everyday mood.
86. That if you have children, you owe it to them to stop drinking.
87. Alcohol ruins lives
88. I still fear many things but instead of covering them over by drinking, I am learning to deal with them and face them and thus move forward.
89. You learn something new about yourself every sober day
90. You have more free time than you know what to do with