You know those times you think to yourself, “If only I knew then what I know now?” Yeah, me too. Especially when it comes to my own sobriety journey. Which is why I’m going to be sharing with you five things I’ve learned in five years of sobriety.
I rarely talk about my sobriety journey for a couple of reasons. One- I was humiliated as f*ck about being sober. Two- I’m a very private person that would rather die than be vulnerable.
I figured having recently celebrated my 5th year of sobriety, it would be apropos to share five things I’ve learned since getting on the wagon. While I definitely have grown in other ways, these are the ones I hold most dear to my heart because they’re what has transformed me tremendously.
Of course, I’ll always be constantly fluctuating and evolving (as will all of us) so I’ll grow more into the person I aspire to be with each passing day, but for now, well- here’s what I’ve got.
Five things I’ve learned in five years of sobriety
Relish your journey
Especially your day one.
I was ridiculously naive and clueless how to navigate life in recovery from the get go. I mean, all of us are. It’s a brand new life. And a brand new you.
But I was so caught up in how I was going to live without alcohol that I didn’t bother placing any emphasis on the fact that I made a monumental decision to alter the trajectory of my life.
It’s natural to be scared shitless. But it’s also important to embrace the fears of becoming who you’re meant to be. Because it’s the first day of the rest of your life.
Welcome the newness with open arms. This is your chance to become whoever you want. So take full advantage of your freedom.
Slow the f*ck down
I can’t even begin to stress this one enough. And believe me, I understand how difficult it can be when we’re living in a society obsessed with consumerism, keeping up with Joneses, and instant gratification.
But that’s the antithesis of what life is about. Get back in your lane. And stay there while gently pushing your way out of your comfort zone.
Be deliberate in your thoughts and actions so you can reshape your behavior from that of an addict to that of a recovering addict.
So much of life in recovery is changing the way you think so you don’t fall back into the way you once acted. Which means not rushing the process and getting comfortable in the stillness.
I can tell you the one thing I enjoy most about sobriety is that I’ve learned how to slow down drastically. It’s comforting and soothing.
You find solace in the peace and quiet rather than torment from the psychological warfare that once plagued your mind.
Give it a try. Read a book or do some yoga if you find the quiet to be too haunting. But at the very least, you’ll slow down.
I started a gratitude practice during my drinking days but when I look back at it, I was mindlessly expressing my gratitude. I wasn’t actually feeling into the depths of my emotions about all the blessings I have.
I didn’t thank my guardian angels for always watching over me. Never giving up on me even when I wanted to give up on myself. Giving me an umpteenth chance at life.
And now I do. Because even at my worst, I still have it much better than the 1.2 billion people who don’t have access to clean and safe drinking water. Or the 700 million people who are going to starve today. Or even the 1 billion people who can’t read.
That’s not to say your problems are frivolous- far from it. But even when you feel down and out, there’s always a blessing you have that others don’t.
Cherish waking up with a clear head every morning. Savor the fact you didn’t black out last night. Find beauty in each day.
Become enchanted with your own life as a sober person. Regain that childhood innocence when playing with a cardboard box was the most luxuriating thing for you.
Feel your emotions
Oh boy. This was bar none the hardest thing I had to learn. However, it was also the most liberating.
It’s ok to be pissed off at the world. It’s ok to resent your family. It’s more than f*cking ok to feel ashamed and humiliated.
Because the only way you’ll ever evolve from those feelings of anger, resentment, and bitterness is to actually feel them with every fiber in your body. Once you acknowledge and accept where you’re at in your journey, you can begin the healing process.
It’s not easy, especially for those of us who are so acclimated to running away from ourselves. But you also find yourself in the process. And while I’m no sage, that’s what this journey of what we call life is about- coming home.
Learn to have fun
Naturally, when I first sobered up, I thought being sober meant I was going to live a vanilla life. Completely bland and boring. I couldn’t have been any more wrong on that one. Probably also because I equated having fun to reckless abandonment.
But what I’ve come to learn is that I was a disaster which was far from fun to be around. And really, getting arrested and waking up next to someone who’s name you can’t remember is pretty degrading (that’s an understatement).
Just because you’re sober doesn’t mean you can’t live your life according to your terms. Or that you have to be responsible every minute of every day.
Nope. It means that you get to do the things you never did because drinking always got in the way. Like the vacays, the roadtrips, hiking, camping- whatever it is you like to do in your spare time.
Take up a new hobby or two. I mean, you have spare time now that drinking is done and over with, so why not have a little fun?
There you have it…five things I’ve learned in five years of sobriety.
If some of these didn’t resonate with you, please leave it. Maybe one day it will. Maybe one day it won’t.
This is your journey. What counts is what you make of it.
What have you learned or are hoping to grow from?
Let me know in the comments below. Also, please do share this post with anyone who may benefit from it.
See ya soon…in the meantime, stay zenspired!
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