When you are thinking about quitting drinking or have recently said sayonara to the booze, coming to terms with your devious past is paramount to the success of your healing and recovery journey. This obviously isn’t meant to be done in one day or right after you quit. It takes time to reconcile with the guilt, fear, shame, and humiliation.
When you’re ready to do the inner work to pinpoint what your triggers are/were, the psychology of why you felt so compelled to drink, and start cultivating a loving relationship with yourself, your self-acceptance will naturally start shining.
Why is self-acceptance so critical in recovery?
Because there were some or numerous facets of yourself that you didn’t want to come to terms with. And when those get buried deep within the crevices of your own darkness, the alcohol acts as a buffer against what needs to be worked on.
I know because I was there at one point. After sobering up over three years ago, I dug deep into myself so that I could mitigate the triggers in order to prevent the risk of a relapse. I had in fact attempted to quit on several occasions to no avail. And I attribute those failures to me not wanting to do the inner work. Me being too scared to unearth what I wasn’t ready to see.
When past memories and trauma started to rear its ugly head, I was able to stand firm in my convictions of my own sobriety and wellbeing. Learning what made me tick garnered me with self-acceptance. Again, it wasn’t done in one day or even overnight- it took time, perseverance, and determination. Most importantly, it took an immense amount of brutal honesty with myself.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…putting down the bottle isn’t just about abstaining from alcohol. It’s about personal development for spiritual progression. Whether or not you identify as a spiritual person doesn’t matter; it’s about having faith in a power far greater than yourself. Even if that power is emanating from within, it’s still a higher and much wiser form of yourself.
In order to evolve into the person you aspire to be, there needs to be self-growth. As you fluctuate, you transcend into a person that not only understands your nuances and idiosyncrasies, you accept you for you who are. And that’s when the magic is revealed- when you become the person that you only dared to romanticize about. The beauty of it is that it doesn’t have to remain a fantasy. It can become your reality should you choose to do the work.
With that said, let’s get onto what you need to do in order to cultivate self-acceptance. Remember, this will take time. Time is on your side here so utilize it to be as advantageously beneficial to you as possible. And only do this when you’re ready to start your self-exploration journey.
What are your triggers for picking up the bottle?
Be honest here. There are no wrong answers unless you’re lying to yourself. Take some time to contemplate this and write it all down. Take days if you need to. But write everything down so that you can come back to it and reflect upon it in the near or far future of your own self-growth travels.
When you’re able to identify your triggers, you see a side of yourself that allowed life to beat you up. In witnessing and observing this aspect of yourself, you’re then able to conquer those weaknesses and gain empowerment. When you reclaim that long lost power, you accept yourself for all of you- including your fallacies and shortcomings.
What don’t you love about yourself?
This may sound counterproductive but in order to cultivate acceptance of yourself, you need to see the sides that you may deem to be unworthy and/or unlovable. Again, write down everything. And take all the time you need with this one as with the previous question.
When you can see the list of things that you may be feeling a lack of within yourself, you’ll come to understand that it was all an illusion. You may not necessarily have an epiphany right away but with time, you’ll see that it was just your mind playing tricks on you. Now, that’s not to say that those negative attributes about yourself are ridiculous. No matter what comes to mind as a quality that you may not like doesn’t make you inadequate. It makes you a person who cares and feels deeply.
What are five things that you’ve always wanted to do but have never done?
Write down at least five things that you’ve wanted to do but somehow couldn’t muster up the money or time to do it. It can be anything- taking a knitting class, cooking courses, rock climbing, reading a certain book, studying a subject, learning a language, etc.
This is where the resistance may come in, but you gotta start doing one of the things you’ve been wanting to do. Whatever excuses comes to mind is exactly that…an excuse. Find the time. Even one hour a week can be devoted to your dreams. We all have 24 hours in one day. How we choose to spend it is our prerogative. Make it count. If you don’t have the money for something, start with the cheapest thing on the list. Make a commitment to yourself for yourself. When you start to develop on the things that pique your interest, your confidence will soar. And with confidence, comes self-acceptance.
What do you want more of in your life?
Write down everything you want more of. It can be anything. Money, love, happiness, a better relationship with loved ones, a better relationship with yourself, bliss, a spiritual practice, etc. Alcohol had hindered you from attaining more of what you want. With that now out of the picture, you can have everything you desire. And the things you want are seeking you in return. But it’s up to you to grab the bull by the horns so that you can have these things in your possession.
Now write down what’s stopping you from attaining your goals. Is it ego, pride, stubbornness, lack of confidence? Whatever it is, there is no wrong answer as long as you’re being totally honest with yourself.
Now set out to accomplish one thing on that list of goals. If you’re feeling too insecure or vulnerable, start with the thing that you feel would be the easiest to accomplish. Go apply for a better paying job, show your significant other your gratitude and appreciation for them, if you’re single, show yourself love with flowers or a lunch date with yourself, show your children your love with a few hugs and kisses, deepen your spiritual practice with some yoga and/or meditation, etc. The simplicity in the small things is what makes life so beautiful so don’t get caught up in needing to have a lavish spectacle.
In reaching for your goals, your self-acceptance will naturally progress because you’re now in a state of climbing upwards rather than being at rock bottom. Again, things take time to come into fruition- be patient with yourself and the process. This isn’t a race to the finish line so it’s important to enjoy this journey and relish in your sobriety.
What do you love about yourself?
We’ve covered the aspects that you may deem to be unworthy about yourself so we also have to cover what you find so absolutely lovable and adorable about yourself. Yes, this may sound corny to characterize adorable traits, but it’s about you cultivating self-acceptance. Acceptance comes when we can see our own quirks that make us who we are.
I saved this for last because this may come as the hardest to list out, especially during the early stages of recovery when you may be in a state of fragility. This is actually the best state to do it in- when you’re feeling less than stellar. It helps you to get your groove back and reclaim what was lost for sooooo long. Even if you can only list a few things that you love about yourself, it will help you tremendously with your self-acceptance. Again, write everything down. Draw little hearts next to it to give yourself more love if you need to. It’s time that you start savoring everything about yourself.
So it goes. Five exercises to help you gain self-acceptance after drinking. It will come as long as you do the work on yourself for yourself. It takes a little bit of your time, patience, and honesty. But, the important thing to note is that self-acceptance does eventually come. That humiliation hangover doesn’t have to be the story of your life anymore. It’s time to rewrite your narrative with a new found perspective on the blessing of what life is. Your trials and tribulations were only the catalyst for your success and empowerment.
Remember that even if you feel you can’t keep pushing forward, you’re doing the absolute best you can. Be easy and gentle with yourself. Love yourself enough to keep trekking this journey. It’s so worth it to survive yourself. If your desire to live over powers your insecurities, then you’ll fly higher than you’ve ever flown.
If you feel that anyone can benefit from this, please be sure to share it with them.
Until next time…stay zenspired