To those of you newly sober, I just want you to know that NOT DRINKING gets so much easier. I was at a street festival this weekend with live music and I swear I was dancing the hardest and singing the loudest and dare I say having THE MOST fun?
Plus, I was able to buy something something cute at one of the local boutiques because I wasn’t waiting in line or overspending on cheap booze.
I could not have done this on my first night out sober. Oh no.
I was filled with so much fear and anticipation about how to be social without a drink in my hand.
I was afraid to do anything without the security blanket of a drink. I didn’t know sober people even went out. I didn’t know there were things to do at a street festival that didn’t include drinking. I was only... always... drinking.
The only reason I went anywhere was to drink.
On my first nights out as a sober person, I felt like a turtle wanting to crawl back in my shell. I felt raw, naked, and exposed. It was awful. I was so self conscious. I tried to smile, but it was painstaking. I tried to act cool, like it was no big deal, but I was ready to go home as soon as I arrived.
Anytime you do anything without a drink its hard. I wish I could say its easy, but its not. Its different and awkward and uncomfortable. It is also ok to be that way at first.
You don’t have to laugh the loudest or dance the best or be having THE MOST fun.
Lower your expectations for your first time out without a drink.
The truth is the more you do it, the easier it gets.
The other truth is that you may not enjoy the same things anymore.
This is a huge reason to stay drinking. Your whole life changes when you quit. Your priorities are different. You value different things. Your idea of fun might not be what it used to be. The fear of these changes had me gripping to my drink long after I should have set it down.
Once you get sober you figure out how to be present. You stop escaping the moments you are in. You connect with other people at a deeper level. You are not so full of yourself or getting your drink on, you can actually listen and pay attention to others. This does wonders for your relationships, as you can imagine.
Your goal might not be to drink as much as you can and call that a good time. Your goal might be to taste the food, enjoy the music, practice your Zumba moves in the street, buy a unique and meaningful piece of jewelry while supporting local business, be a good role model for your teenager daughter and her friends, and make sure everyone has a safe ride home. These are the things that might start to matter to you, more than getting another drink.
My husband warned me that our whole life would change when I quit drinking and although I nodded along I didn’t really know what he was saying.
Now I know, because I’ve changed. If the old me knew everything that was going to change I would be too scared to even give quitting drinking a try.
If I knew then what I knew now it would have literally scared me to death. Meaning I would have kept drinking and eventually died from it, instead of change who I was. That is how scary it is to do something different.
The new me is so grateful every single day that I ditched the drink. I am so much happier and healthier without it. I did not know life could be this good. I am listening to myself, trusting myself, and living in alignment every day and you can imagine how good that feels when you’ve been doing the wrong thing and ignoring yourself for so long. Its a magical freedom and it never gets old. I still wake up delighted every day that I get to be here, dropped fully into my spirit, and living woke like this if you know what I mean.
To be honest the hard part now is that I haven’t reached a finish line. I quit drinking but that is not the end. That is where the real work begins.
I am at the starting line. I am looking at myself and my relationships and being fully woke, as they say, and I am seeing so many opportunities for growth within. I am being presented with so many obstacles to pay attention to. I have lessons upon lessons, my work of self improvement will never be done.
I would love to continue to blame others, sit in resentment, complain, throw a pity party...you know the usual techniques to cover up my own shortcomings. I am too woke to do that now. I am paying attention.
I am paying attention when I see others distract themselves from the real work they need to do, but I am also seeing it with me.
I can not pay attention, and get woke without noticing more areas of growth for myself. Its exciting because its leveling up and there will always be work to do. Its annoying because I got sober and now I also have to improve my communication skills, or do better in my roles as mother, daughter, wife, friend. Getting sober isn't enough for me anymore. Now I am being called to continue on the path towards enlightenment.
This is work and it is hard work. I sit in frustration at times. I have much confusion in some of my co dependent relationships about what is me and what is them.
I have fear for change in all my relationships.
The way I have been doing things suddenly doesn’t work anymore and I have to tell someone, starting with myself. I have to address something that we are used to sweeping under the rug. I have to create boundaries about how I will be treated and what I expect from others and its not comfortable to speak up about it.
I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have no choice but to level up. If I am going to be here, fully present for my life, myself and my people, then I have to speak my truth.
First I have to recognize it, then I have to speak it to myself, then I have to voice it to others. We, including me, are not used to me doing this. I am being led by my inner spirit to get honest.
Its become very clear to me, the things I drank to avoid. Sometimes I still feel a little wobbly or fearful but for the most part I am getting very strong in my faith of me. I believe where I am leading me, and I must listen to the voice within. There is no other way, and it will all work out even grander than I can imagine right now. There are other ways, than the way I have going.
I can live in alignment with my relationships. The relationships are being called to level up too. None of us are used to this, so its imperfect and clumsy to start.
The old me would have never taken on this challenge had I known all the work there was to do. The new me wished I only started sooner.
Think about that, your future self will thank you. You can’t see it now because you are still the old you. You have to trust your future self will know what to do. You don’t have to do it all at once. You start with a 6 week sober challenge and just work day by day with support to remove alcohol and start to take care of yourself. That’s its. That’s all you have to do for now. The rest will come and you will be so happy, healthy, and grateful for it. Your spirit is calling, do not ignore!