Big and Little Joy in Sobriety

Memorial Day 2017 was my rock bottom. Not to be confused with the Day I finally stopped drinking. That would come ½ year or more later. 


Memorial Day Weekend has been an evolution in my sobriety and overall personal growth. 


You can read more about Memorial Day’s past here, here, here, and here.


I started my weekend this year by listening to Jenna Kutcher’s Goal Digger podcast titled “Should I Scale Bigger or Shut it Down? An Inside Look at my Daily Debate”, a recommendation from my friend Deb from Alcohol Tipping Point.


I was in a season of taking a social media break and scaling back my clients, as I worked to create and launch new programs, rebrand my logo + website, and make new connections in new ways. 


There is a balance of ambition and contentment in my job as an entrepreneur.  It was hard for me to stop the hustle of sales and it’s been hard to see less traffic on my website with less revenue coming in. I did this all intentionally to prevent burnout, as burnout is no longer an option for me. 


I was traveling 3 out of 4 of the weekends leading up to my first born’s high school graduation. We were hosting company from out of town, throwing a graduation party, and celebrating 3 other family milestone birthdays. I decided to scale back on some of my work to focus on creating a personal space without overwhelm in a busy season at home. 


This podcast resonated with me. It talked about hitting the brakes, at times, which I did and also about putting your foot on the gas, which I am prepared to do now. 


In this podcast, I also learned that big joy and little joy are the same. The idea that a trip to Italy (big joy) and cuddling with your dog in the morning (little joy) are the same. They feel the same. 


In the past I have had big joy on Memorial Day Weekend. Meaning, the Instagrammable moments. Boats, pools, fireworks, booze. 


This Memorial Day was moments of little joy. The satisfaction of yard work, reading my book poolside, a day of shopping with each of my teenage daughters, dinner with sober friends where we lingered long after the food was eaten, two hikes with my dog in perfect weather. If my dog is happy, I am happy. Simple but true.  


To be really super honest, there was a moment where I felt a bit nostalgic as I noticed I didn’t have the big thrill feeling and adrenaline rush of drinking. That flood of excitement and anticipation when I was about to embark on an all-you-can-drink holiday weekend was missing and for a moment I noticed the missing of it. 


Then I remembered the other things missing, but not missed. 


Fighting traffic. 

Resentment of doing all the work to pack up the family to head out of town. 

The hot shame of waking in the morning after not really remembering going to bed. 

Taking my eye off the ball when it came to watching my kids. 

Feeling judged and misunderstood by others. 

Desperately wanting affirmation, trying to control every narrative. 

Feeling out of alignment with myself. 

Confused, depressed, and anxious but not willing to admit any of it. 

Acting performative, people pleasing, and perfectionist. 

Questioning if my husband was mad at me, but not willing to be direct about anything.

Feeling exhausted from multiple hangovers cured by drinking again. 


If you loved drinking as much as I did, you might miss the top notch intense excitement about your drug coming your way when you get sober. You could call it grief, to miss something, even if what’s missing is a feeling. It’s tough to feel grief, but it’s a heck of a lot easier than living with alcohol use disorder, poor mental health, and out of alignment with your spirit. 


The little joys might not be as easily Instagrammy, but for me they have added up to a big joyful sober life.


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