Lessons About Sobriety from DIY Home Projects

how to get sober sober af Sep 20, 2022


I’ve been embarking on some lofty home projects. 

I wallpapered a statement wall in my primary bedroom. 

I chose a bright and bold floral pattern. It was a risk. It turned out awesome.  


I am cleaning out and getting rid of old furniture. 

I put a pile out on the curb and notified Facebook. It was all gone in a matter of moments. 


I decorated for fall. My favorite season. 

I added a piece of furniture that was passed down from my Aunt Joan. It adds depth, history, and character. It warms my heart to see her stuff amongst my things. They go together as beautifully as we did. 


And finally…drum roll please…

I am replacing all the blinds/window treatments in my house with new ones. 

This is a big undertaking in DIY.


I have been staring at these old, outdated blinds for years and years. I have hated them since I moved in over a decade ago. I thought about getting rid of them often. I spent time researching how. I had to decide what to replace them with. Who would do it? What was my budget? What was my ability?  


Finally, one day, I measured the windows. I bought new blinds. I took a pair of the old blinds down. I tried to put up the new blinds. They didn’t fit. I called a neighbor to help. They were not available. I had to put the old blinds up. Ugh. 


I ordered some more blinds. They sat in their boxes unopened for months getting in my way. I was so intimidated. I considered paying someone to help me. I considered returning everything.


I finally took them out of the box and got started. Some fit, some didn’t. 


I started by taking the old blinds down. It was a project. I had to dig around in the garage to find the right tools. When they finally came down, I was onto the next step. 


Putting new blinds up. I read the instructions. There were many ways to do this step. I did all the wrong ways before I figured out the right way. There were many things I didn’t know. I measured wrong. I didn’t have the right tools. I had to find my drill. I had to confirm it was charged up. I had to run to the hardware store for a new drill bit. I had to learn how to drill. I stripped a lot of screws in the process and I had to learn how to undo everything I had done and begin again. 


The first window took me hours. It was painful. I was frustrated. I thought I would never get it. I wanted to give up. I wanted to hire someone to do it for me. I was ready to hang a blanket over the window and quit. I had to use patience. Focus. Take a break. Try again. Deep breaths. 


Eventually, I got it. I loved it. 


I finished the windows in that room and ordered more blinds for the living room.

I waited and waited. 

They finally arrived. 


Same story. 


The first one took me forever. It’s like I forgot everything I learned. 


I stripped the screws. The old way of removing them didn’t work. I had to go to the hardware store and ask for help (again). I got a new tool. I YouTube-d everything. I was frustrated. I wanted to give up. I finally got it. One window down. I kept moving along. I zipped through the final four. Easy peasy. Huge progress. I enjoyed the process. I knew what I was doing. The results are incredible. 


My new blinds are a huge update. My living room looks so cozy now! They function so much better than the old blinds. I am pleased as punch with my project. I beam with pride, opening my blinds every morning and closing them every night. Now, I can’t wait to do the dining room, the office, my bathroom, the girl’s rooms. I can move through the project quickly with ease because I have some lessons learned.


You know what I am going to do now, right? I am going to compare this to getting sober. 


Lessons on sobriety from home projects:


You think about it for years before you address it.


You noodle on it. You consider options. You research it. You imagine how you want it to be. You complain about where you are. And you don’t take action. You think and noodle and complain and wonder and do nothing for a long time. When it comes to alcohol, it’s about 11 years from wondering if you have a problem to addressing it. This might just be part of the process. Lots of thinking before doing. If you are thinking you are getting closer. Listening to podcasts. Still drinking. Reading books. Still drinking. Watching sober Instagram. Still drinking. Keep seeking you’re getting there. 

It gets worse before it gets better. 


You fail before you succeed. You sometimes learn the wrong ways before you learn the right way. It is too hard and it takes too long. That is true for any kind of change. It is often harder and longer than you expected. You will want to give up. It takes heroic effort for minimal progress. You will make it harder on yourself before you learn to make it easier on yourself. You will drill all the screws in wrong and have to undo everything you did. You will have to start over time and time again. It will feel like a waste of time. It will feel like there are no results. You will not see success. You will quit and start again. This is the point where you just keep going. 

You need a guide.


You don’t know what you are doing if you have never done this before. You need instructions. A guide (YouTube, the guy at Ace Hardware, a Certified Professional Recovery and Life Coach = me!)  You will have to trust what they say. They have been where you are. They know the pitfalls. They know what they are doing and you aren’t so sure. They have the experience you want. They can’t do it for you, but they can guide you in the right direction. They can save you time and heartache. They can affirm you are on the right path. They can share their knowledge. You can learn from them. Lean on the support of an expert when you are learning something new. Get a teacher. Find someone who has the sober skills you want and ask them how they got there.  

You need the right tools.


There was no way I could hang new blinds without a charged up drill and the right size drill bits. There is no way I could make the blinds that didn’t fit, fit. I had to purchase blinds that fit my windows. I had to have the right tools for the job. I needed a step stool. A pencil. A screwdriver. You need the right tools in your sober kit. What will help you get the job done? Routines and rituals? Moving your body in a joyful way? Medication? Meditation? You need to find the tools that work for you. What is in your alcohol free tool box? One tool is not enough. You need many tools. Fill it up. You need the stool, the pencil, and the screwdriver. The books, the podcasts, the app, the alcohol free drinks, and the Sober Coach. 


Celebrate your success and keep going.


Now, I sit in my cozy rooms and congratulate myself on learning something new and completing a project. I enjoy my new view. I am excited to make more changes. Motivation follows action and by accomplishing this task, I am eager to do more. I love just looking at my progress. The new blinds look just like I wanted them too. I did it myself. I am so proud. They make me so happy. Now onto the other rooms…I can do it! I believe in myself more than ever before.


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