When I decided to get sober, and I mean really decided, I reached out for help. I reached out to people I didn’t know. To people I do know. And to people I used to know. I took their advice. Some of it seemed crazy and some of it made sense. I didn’t care, I took all of their advice and listened to them. For the first time in a long time, I shut the fuck up and listened.
One piece of advice I took was to read the book “Living Sober”. If you are in recovery, want to be, or know someone who has a problem, read this book. It is an easy read, and has so much value. Especially to to someone like me, who thought I knew everything.
It made me realize it was okay to be uncomfortable. Seems obvious, I know. But alcoholics don’t like uncomfortable. And I guarantee, there is a lot of uncomfortable in early sobriety. For years, I had drank every emotion and feeling away. If I was happy, i would drink. Mad, sad, depressed, bored, I’d drink. It got to the point that I really didn’t know how to process or recognize any feelings or emotions. Just mad. I covered everything up with mad. I was either mad or drunk.
And when I took the booze out of the equation, I was bombarded with every feeling I had buried. But the first one was uncomfortable. I felt awkward. I felt out of place. And I hated it. My instinct was to drink. Make that feeling go away. I never considered that it was okay to feel that way. I never looked past the moment and recognized that it was a temporary feeling.
So I was awkward. I was a newborn in sobriety. I had to think before I spoke. I had to process what I thought and felt. I no longer had my alcohol crutch to lean on. It was terrifying. I was vulnerable. But I survived it.
Then other feelings came up. Happiness, sadness, guilt. I had to process those as well. That is, after I was able to recognize them. I hid behind booze for so long and drank everything down that I had become a emotional cripple. It was hard. It takes work, still. It requires intentionally slowing my thoughts and listening to them.
Today, I am exactly four months sober. Sometimes it seems longer. I have come so far. I am learning to live on life’s terms. I am learning that feelings are not facts. I am learning to expect nothing and accept everything. I am learning that everything is temporary, good and bad. My brain doesn’t always like my new outlook. If I don’t pay attention, it tries to go back to my old way of thinking. I have to stay on top of it all the time and continue to grow and recover.
Everyday, I am grateful. To the people who have helped. To higher power that leads the way. To the learning process I have finally been able to accept. I am one of the lucky ones that is surviving, even if it gets uncomfortable. One day at a time.