In honor of recently celebrating my 7th year of sobriety (9/5/16), I wanted to write a post for you on seven things I wish I knew when I first got sober. If you’re in the early stages of sobriety or are struggling, this may help you to navigate choppy waters and better understand what you’re experiencing.
Just a little background- when I got sober, I had nothing and no one. Not even AA. I was too ashamed and embarrassed to tell my friends. My family, well, they’re toxic. I also didn’t have a good experience with AA in the past. So I relied on the Universe to hold my hand in this journey of what we call life. Now I’m here to help you rewrite your story one breath at a time through holistic recovery coaching and energy healing.
Let’s get started. Grab a cup of coffee or tea, get comfy, and (hopefully) get inspired.
CHERISH THE DAY ONE
I knew I had everything before me but I also didn’t want to mess it up. So naturally, I had an influx of thoughts- what will I tell people, will I have any fun, what am I going to tell men when I’m on dates, can I really live the rest of my life sober, how will I handle the nights when I’m lonely and depressed?
Because of the thoughts running through my mind, I didn’t even stop to think that I literally changed my entire life in one moment. On my own. That’s your story too- you changed your destiny in the blink of an eye. Cherish it. Savor it. Honor it.
DON’T ACCEPT RADICAL RESPONSIBILITY
Most self-improvement experts tell us to accept radical responsibility. So I did. In fact, so much so, that I became even more self-sacrificing with the people who abused me because of the “hell” I put them through during my drinking days.
We’ve all made mistakes. Tons of them. But just because you struggled with substance abuse, does not mean you have to bend over backwards for the toxic people in your life. Take ownership only for your part. No one else’s. And don’t allow others to guilt you into it.
save for later!
THERE’S NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF
It took me three years before I opened up to anyone about my sobriety. Another three before I overcame the shame and humiliation of recovery. I see things differently now- I learned to survive myself on my own. And that’s something no one can ever take away from me.
It’s natural to feel embarrassed because of societal stigmas surrounding substance abuse. It also feels like we failed. But what if you shifted your perspective?
You didn’t fail. You defeated your inner demons.
Sobriety is not an exile. It’s inner peace.
You’re not the villain. You’re the hero of your own story.
IT’S OK TO BE YOURSELF
I was taught at a young age that if I wasn’t an extension of my mother, I wasn’t worthy of anything. And dare I show any emotion other than happiness, well, I was an embarrassment. These were core beliefs and when I first got sober, I didn’t know it was ok to be me. ALL. OF. ME.
I think a common struggle we all have is that it isn’t ok to be ourselves. I mean, how many times did you think you were more fun, vivacious, easy going, and friendlier when you were drinking? Maybe you even needed to drink to be that person. You idealized a version of yourself that can be the sober you. You just have to allow yourself to be that version.
DON’T WORRY ABOUT OTHERS OPINIONS
I was so focused on what others would think of my perceived shortcomings, that I really closed myself off. I guarded my sobriety like it was a secret I needed to protect at all costs. And when I reflect back on it, no one that I still keep in touch with would have been judgemental. Because they know now and they aren’t.
You don’t have to tell anyone about your personal choices and decisions if you’re not comfortable. But you also don’t have to hoard this secret to the point that you’re not building enriching relationships.
For so many years, I was running away from myself because I didn’t want to be me. I would have given anything to be someone else, because then I wouldn’t have had all the feelings I was consumed with- anger, rage, resentment, bitterness, shame, guilt, humiliation, sorrow. When I began accepting and acknowledging those emotions, I changed.
We’ve had unfair expectations placed upon us since we were born. We’re told it’s ok to feel certain emotions and the ones that are labeled as negative, we’re indoctrinated to compartmentalize them. It’s ok to feel sadness, anger, resentment, jealousy, guilt. You’re allowed to feel what you feel. It’s what heals you.
EXPECT HORMONAL IMBALANCES
It took me three years before I realized I had been struggling with hormonal imbalances the first two years of sobriety- short term memory loss, brain fog, irritability, mood swings, not really being me.
Our bodies are now regulating itself after years of emotional repression, drinking too much, irregular sleeping habits, hangovers, etc. It takes a huge toll. So it’s going to take time to heal. Let your body do its thing and do your part- yoga, regulating your nervous system, healthy diet, sleeping when you’re tired, taking vitamins and supplements, etc.
What do you wish you knew when you first got sober? Leave a comment below- you never know who you’ll inspire. And please be sure to share this with someone it may benefit.
See you soon…in the meantime, love yourself so much that even a Hallmark Christmas movie would be jealous.