I’m taking it back to early recovery. Recalling what helped in my past is a fantastic way to reevaluate my present recovery path. Four years later, it’s nice to ponder “should I be doing more?” The answer is almost always, yes.
So, whether you’re new or old..let’s share what works. After all, it works if you work it.
Got Honest, Real Quick
I’ve been incredibly open about my sobriety since the beginning. People were quite aware of my alcoholism by the time I sobered up, and I doubt there were too many shocks heard round the Internet when I waved that white flag. It’s been the continued sobriety that has been shocking, and why wouldn’t it? I didn’t expect to stay sober either.
Being open from the get-go, accomplished two crucial things:
- I received loads of support. Lot’s of “Good for you” attitudes from many loving people. Hearing compliments makes me incredibly uncomfortable, however; I believe that the supportive messages became part of my core- my subconscious. And, in that way, I felt supported, which inspired me to continue.
- Opening up about sobriety held me accountable; I didn’t want to face another bout of shame and guilt by admitting another failure. Would anyone actually judge me? I have no idea. Yet as the self-centered alcoholic that I am; I assumed they would. And there were times when that fear was the only thing that kept me from picking up.
Found The Online Community
As a recovering alcoholic walking through a world of stereotypes and a lack of understanding; it’s nice to be understood, heard and validated.
#Soberissexy #soberlife led me to the sober online community. I discover the marvelous Sober Movement through Instagram and I began making sober friends. Lori Massicot, Pete On Repeat, and Sober Mommies are a few of my dearests sober companions. Check them out and find yourself inspired. I’ve been with Pete and Lori basically from the beginning of our journeys, and they’re about as rad as they come. Follow me here to find the whole Tribe <3
Instagram brought me to my sober Facebook family, and over the past four years my relationship with that community and those friends has developed into something sincere. I have watch lives unfold. I’ve seen people slip, pick themselves back up and conquer life. I have a safe place to vent, with a timeline people venting themselves while posting inspiration and questions that I completely relate to, and that, feels good. Every accomplishment and struggle is recognized and understood.
The deepest heartbreak I’ve ever experienced was my best friend suddenly and tragically passing away. She was my world and I have an immense amount of shame in my behavior before and after her passing. Truth be told I had become a shitty friend, consumed by drinking and the life that came with it. My addiction had come between us, and that is a regret I’ll always live with. I know that she’s forgiven me, and although I have not truly forgiven myself, I have learned from it.
I used her death as a way to fast track my drinking to a rock-bottom that only got deeper. Instead of calling her family to share my condolences, hug them or ask where I could be of service; I drowned myself, drinking more than before. I didn’t stop to think of the pain they were in. I threw myself a pity party and made it about my heartache.
When I sobered up I knew I’d have to face the sorrow and shame that had filed my last years of active addiction, and grief counseling was a great start. I know my heart will never completely heal and the regret will always linger, but I have learned to live with it.
We face a lot of shit in sobriety, professional assistance tends to help.
Read The Big Book
I’ll never forget the first time I read the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous, I went through each page, highlighting line after line of statements that related to me; statements that made sense, and that I could’ve written. I felt like I had finally found an answer to a question I had been asking myself for years; why am I the way I am?
It’s simple, I am an alcoholic. I am a full-blown alcoholic. And knowing that, suddenly helped.
Worked On My Self-Esteem
I believe I was born with self-loathing tendencies.
The gym was a way to pass time, to keep me busy between meetings and bus rides. Turns out, it was also a great way to work on my self-esteem. Going to the gym inspired me to engage in other healthy activities like learning to eat better, getting outside, hiking, becoming one with nature… It all goes hand-in-hand.
I made other changes to help my self-esteem. For example; I bought makeup that wasn’t from the dollar store, I started researching clothing styles that I could relate to, and I had my hair professionally cut. These things helped me feel better on the outside, the gym and healthy lifestyle I was adopting took care of me on the inside.
These new feelings helped me BEGIN to uncover a self-acceptance I never knew was there. I’m still a work in progress, nonetheless, I’ve come far <3
There are mixed opinions on this; some say to change everything, others claim that no big changes should be made in early recovery. For myself, however, I knew I had to change everything. I’ve gone into detail of my desire to change in early sobriety here.
In a nut shell, my life had no potential. I knew if I continued going nowhere, I’d certainly pick up again, and because of that, I changed everything. I got a job, I went back to school. I ended one relationship, and started another (oops). Needing accountability and friendship, I embraced the opportunity to live with my parents indefinitely.
The point is, I didn’t like the woman I was in active addiction, more importantly, I didn’t recognize her. I broke myself down and built myself up, and that has been the greatest gift
Find what works for you, and pass it on. That’s all we can do.
Thanks for letting me share xox