I have gone through some tough shit in recovery – someone close passed away from addiction, another relapsed and we had a death in the family. It made me realize (like a slap in the face) that, as sad and hard as those experiences were, I did not even think about picking up a drink. Not once.
I am an alcoholic through and through. At the end of my “drinking career” I was consuming almost 4 bottles of Sherry (yes, Sherry) a day. If not that, I was looking for anything that had alcohol in it – mouthwash, liquid medicines, cooking wine, you name it.
This got me thinking, that after 5 years and 11 months of sobriety, so many components of my life have changed. So, let me tell you the things I love about being sober, that made me put away the bottle for good.
The 10 Things I LOVE About Being Sober:
- How I cope with difficult situations/feelings: I used to deal with any situation (bad or good) and feeling (happy, sad, angry) by picking up a bottle and drinking myself into oblivion. Today, I face my feelings head on, looking forward to what I can learn from them in the moment. I talk to my people, the ones that get me, understand me to my core, knowing that I will always have someone who has my back.
- My Mornings: I will never ever ever miss a hangover. I wake up feeling refreshed. I make my morning coffee and drink it on the patio. I get to call my Mom and check-in with her, tell her about the plans I have that day and vice versa. It’s one of my favourite rituals I have to this day, as I never did this when I was drinking. It was all about me and the bottle.
- My Community: I was a “dry drunk” for the first couple of years. I carried my isolation tendencies into my recovery, I never called anyone and I sat on the couch for the majority of my days binging Netflix. Eventually, the pain of sitting in those old feelings and behaviours forced me to get out of the house. I started reaching out, meeting up with friends or new people I met, going to meetings, doing workshops for women and learning more about myself. I started to feel better. Community has been my saving grace in recovery
- My health: At the end of my active addiction, I had been diagnosed with Stage 1 cirrhosis of the liver and I had severe Alcohol Neuropathy (I was 25!!!!). I spent a year in the hospital relearning how to walk, function, eat, shower, use the bathroom, you name it! I had to relearn how to be human again. Today, I get to have regular check ups with my doctor, my liver is completely healthy AND I can walk again, shower on my own, feed myself and all of those other beautiful things we get to do as sober humans.
- Sleeping and Eating: I never slept when I was drinking. And when I did, I had a bottle under my pillow just in case I woke up and needed a drink. And eating? Forget about it, I was 78 pounds when I came into recovery. Today, I get to sleeeeeeep, and I mean good sleep, where you wake up in the morning ready to tackle the day (for the most part). I. Love. Food. This has been one of the things I appreciate the most being in recovery. I get to eat delicious food that’s good for me because I have an APPETITE!
- My Evenings: Another part of my routine that I love. I didn’t have “evenings” while drinking because everything was meshed together. Times, days, hours, I had no clue. My evenings are sacred to me today. I start winding down around 9PM. I have a bath, listen to a meditation, write a gratitude list and am always in bed by 10 PM. What I like is the knowing that that is my plan, that I am safe, that there are no surprises and I don’t have to wonder about if I have enough alcohol to last me the night, or how will I get home and so on.
- Opportunities: I couldn’t see, nor did I have access to ANY kind of opportunity while drinking. I’m talking about the opportunities to better yourself, meet someone you admire, land the job you have always wanted, do the things you love to do, etc. Today I have opportunities, and I’m able to recognize when they are there. I can say yes.
- Relationship With Myself: This is a big one. I had no clue who Sarah was before, nor did I care to know. I was a worthless being who did not want to exist. One of my favourite things to do on this journey is work on myself (sometimes too much), but I adore getting to know my true self. What makes me tick, what I like and what I don’t like. How my brain works, my emotions, all of the above. Love. It. I get to care about myself today and I never in a million years thought that would ever be possible.
- My Family: Specifically my Mother, who is the strongest woman I know. In active addiction, she wasn’t my Mom, she was my cook, my nurse, my care taker, my life saver. The relationship I have with her today is beyond words. We are Mother and Daughter. We laugh, we cry, we have deep conversations, make jokes and talk about the serious stuff. She is my biggest supporter, and makes it easier to believe in myself every single day.
- My Belief: And when I say my belief, for me, I am talking about my faith in a higher power. I wanted nothing to do with any sort of God or religion when I was younger. Religion was often forced upon me, so I grew to hate it. When I came into recovery, believing was a struggle. Until I was told it didn’t have to be God, or religion, or some big thing in the sky. It could be what resonated with me. Nature, my people, my meetings, etc. Today, I “believe” of my understanding. As long as it’s not ME.