The biggest thing I always want to say when I’m asked about my sobriety is that living alcohol-free life is not the boring-ass disaster that I feared it would be. I was terrified at the prospect of never drinking again! Utterly terrified. And I know a lot of us drinkers are.
We know we’ve got a problem, we know we probably need to stop drinking, we know it’s making us feel miserable emotionally and terrible physically… yet we are still shit scared to give up.
Shit scared to take the leap into living sober.
One of the main reasons I want to be a visible person in recovery is to give an insight into what life is like on the ‘other side’. I know for me when I was locked in my boozy hell I would look at sober people with a sense of wonder and puzzlement.
I used to see famous sober people (I didn’t know any in real life) and wanted so desperately to have an honest conversation with them about what living alcohol-free was like. Are you bored? Are you anti-social? Is your life a misery? Do you have any fun any more? Do you get any invitations? Do your friends still like you? What’s it like? What’s it like? What’s it like?
Because I could simply not imagine a happy life without booze. I was deeply conditioned to see alcohol as the magical elixir that made everything better. My brain was hard-wired to believe that alcohol was the best way to relax, that it was vital for fun, that it helped me to bond with my friends, that it proved I was a good hostess, that it was my friend in times of loneliness or boredom. I thought drinking made me cool.
(OMG writing that now makes me sad and happy at the same time. How deluded I was.)
Of course I couldn’t have that conversation with stars like Rob Lowe or Keith Urban, so I’d just go on the visual cues they gave me. And honestly – most of the time they looked happy and content (albeit on camera in public). But it was enough to really make me wonder.. were they covering something up? Were their lives really ok with no booze added?
Now I’m in that position. I haven’t taken a drop of liquid poison for 1510 days (and counting!) and I can be that person that answers my questions of old and tells the truth.
Here’s the truth…….(summarised in a nut shell)
It takes a big transition to shift from living boozily to living sober. It takes quite a bit of work early on to shift your thinking and break ingrained habits. You might need to work on other factors in your life that cause you pain (such as current unsatisfactory circumstances or past hurts & grievances), and there may be some shuffling of relationships or activities. But it can be done. If you really attack your sobriety head on and focus on all the good things not drinking delivers you … Slowly over time you just start living and not thinking about reaching for a drink constantly.
And you start to feel great! You no longer suffer terrible hangovers or extreme guilt! You feed all the things in your life that are lovely and make you feel good, and you starve all the things that bring you down or make you suffer.
And you just live. You get up.. you live and breath all day… and you go to bed. Repeat. Alcohol doesn’t enter the picture. Sorrows do – because life is like that – but so do triumphs and joys.
You just live! Alcohol free. Compulsion free. Addiction free.
I get the fear. I understand it. I’ve felt it too.
But seriously, you’ve got to feel the fear and do it anyway (to use a well-worn phrase). Take the leap. Know that you will get to a happy place. Know that the lies you believe about alcohol’s supposedly positive benefits are all bullshit. Know that you will become a person who just moves through their life without struggling with addiction.
And then you too can become that empathetic person who passes on the message to those behind us. You can tell them you understand what it’s like to be locked in a boozy hell, but reassure them that sobriety is not the ticket to a boring, miserable life. Far from it. It is the gateway to finding your true, authentic self and ultimately (hopefully) a lovely feeling of tranquility and inner calm.
Love, Mrs D xxx