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Where’s the shame in that?!

Just back from a two week vacation and getting ready for the real world again. During vacation, I celebrated 6 months being alcohol-free! I shared with one of my sober groups that I had been feeling really disconnected from my sobriety – as if most of my latest sobriety was by luck and not on-purpose.  The thing is – I have been doing this sobriety thing – not drinking, working through an 8 week workshop, being involved in several online sober groups, reading This Naked Mind, joining the 30 day Alcohol Experiment – I have been doing all of that and yet I still sometimes feel lost. Sure, part of it is because this is all new to me, but could the other part be because I’ve been hiding it all? I mean, “sober me” is basically a secret identity that only me, my hubby, and my sober groups know. Sobriety is basically some secret thing that I do when there’s down time or when it won’t be in anyone’s way. It is basically something I “fit in” in between life’s events. I think I’ve been stuck trying to “live my normal life” while adding in a dash of sobriety, but isn’t my “normal life” what got me drinking to begin with? Maybe it’s time to live my new life! Maybe it’s time to let go of who I thought I was, accept who I really am, and become who I know I can be!

Now, I’m not saying I need to “out myself” to the world or run around being Super Sober Girl or anything (side note – wouldn’t that be an interesting super hero), but I need to find a way for it to BE me and ME not be secretly ashamed of it. I started this path because I thought I could learn to moderate or drink less. Holly’s workshop was perfect because she gave us permission to just try new things and learn -with no labels, judgement, or forever-commitments. A brief time in, I realized life was better sober and I wanted it for good…but I didn’t want to have to label myself, or “have a disease”, or be that person who was different from everyone else, or be forced to do something for the rest of my life. I still don’t want that, but the thing is…I don’t actually think that has anything to do with me anyways. It’s not that I don’t want it to be “a thing”, it’s that I don’t want it to be a thing to everyone else. So here I am – doing something really healthy and amazing, feeling really great about it, choosing it as a way of life because I love it, and it’s all the warm and fuzzy things that it is – but I’m afraid of how I will be judged.

Isn’t it actually sad that so many of us walk around worried about judgement when in reality we had something going on in our life that we wanted to change, and we changed it?  That’s AMAZING! That’s AWESOME! That’s a GOOD FUCKING THING! Where’s the shame in that?!  Isn’t it actually sad that so many of us find ourselves in situations we weren’t expecting to be in and we’re too afraid of judgement to reach out for help and move forward in our lives?  Don’t you think that’s why problems get as bad as they do – because we have to hide our problems and keep them secret while we try to figure them all out by ourselves? You can’t tell me that every single person hasn’t, at some point in their life, had something they wanted to do differently. Self-improvement is self-improvement. We all have things we need to work on. We all have things we can do differently. Sure, some may be a fuck ton harder than others. Sure, some may require a longer commitment. Some people may have A LOT of little things and some people may have one giant thing…but the one thing that is certain is that we all have things to deal with! There is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to making your life better, and I need to start remembering that.

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Was it really that bad?

I feel like I’m losing my way a bit. While I know I am happy being alcohol free for 75 days now…and I know that alcohol doesn’t relax me or solve any problems…I think I’m forgetting WHY it was so bad for me. I keep seeing people out drinking and having that sloppy version of fun, and it still looks good to me. I find myself saying “would it really be that bad”…it still looks fun to me and even if it’s a chemical-fake fun, it felt fun when I did it. I guess I’m going through a “why can’t I just moderate” phase. Why do I have to be different than everyone else I know? Why can they drink and have “fake fun” and then wake up perfectly fine and go about their lives with no real issue?

I went into this thinking I’d quit drinking for good…but I guess I thought I’d be happier about it. I WAS very happy about it for most of the time, but now that I’m hanging out in situations with people drinking – it is getting harder. And when I try to talk to people about it – it’s clear they don’t completely get it. I’ll point out some fucked up thing about alcohol, and they will respond with something that makes it so clear that I am just different from them…they can take it or leave it and they don’t have those problems like me.

I guess I’m stuck because I didn’t want getting sober to be “a thing”. I didn’t want it to be some life long thing I had to do. But it is, right? I mean – am I ever not going to drink and not care when I’m surrounded by everyone else that still drinks? I guess I just have to come to the realization that even if I don’t want to label myself or “have a problem”…I do have a fucking problem.

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Sobriety tools

So grateful for this 8 week sobriety workshop!  The tools and lectures are so perfectly timed. Anyone thinking of quitting drinking or who has already quit but is looking for ways to develop tools for your sober life, I highly recommend Hip Sobriety School. I was totally overwhelmed with the idea of making this map and toolkit, but finally I just put pen to paper and tried my best. It was easier than I thought and it was actually quite helpful!