I have joined a handful of sober FaceBook groups in which I am quite engaged. I interact with other people on the journey of sobriety, some enjoying long term extended sobriety, others brand new to the sober life. My favorite FaceBook group, the one I frequent more than any other, is The Alcohol Experiment https://learn.thisnakedmind.com/the-alcohol-experiment-registrationThe Alcohol Experiment, one of Annie Grace’s (This Naked Mind) creations. Annie gets the most credit for my decision to stop drinking. Annie has a clear and straightforward yet incredibly kind and compassionate style of informing us of all the ups and downs, truths and lies, and most of all the raw data, the science, behind addiction. I highly recommend her book and other works if you are looking for a really solid source to help guide you on this path.
Day to day in these groups, there are posts from participants lamenting that they are back to “Day 1”. “Woe is me”, they say, disgusted with themselves, full of shame as they detail all the drama of why they fell off the wagon. Again. I feel great compassion for these people, I know it’s so hard to slay The Booze Bitch. We all have to find a “why” that matters more than drinking, something that we want more than we want to drink. For me, that something is vitality. I have a business (www.ActiveChick.com) I know, I know, a shameless plug! that I cherish. She is my baby, my dream, my pride and joy. Active Chick was stunted in her growth over a seven year period for many reasons, the main cause being a business partnership that wasn’t working, and I take 50% responsibility for why it was dysfunctional. Active Chick was birthed several years ago from my desire to share my passion for vitality, connection, contribution, inspiration, environmentalism, giving back – all those ‘best life’ values. When I last drank, 80 days ago, I didn’t even enjoy a single drop of it. I made myself three margaritas that I slammed down because I was looking for the buzz, but the buzz came and went with zero joy, zero uplifting, zero pleasure. I felt annoyed and wildly disappointed. What the hell was I doing? I was completely addicted to pouring booze into my body to make myself feel better, when it only made me feel awful. Sure, the first drink tasted good, but I grew to resent the buzz, the effect on my brain. I no longer liked feeling numb or altered. I wanted to feel great again, like I had felt on and off throughout my entire life. There was no doubt whatsoever that I had to do something to change what was happening in my life. I wasn’t getting things done. I was procrastinating about even the smallest things, like bills that needed to be paid, clothes needing to be hung up in the closet, window sills needing a good dusting, decluttering my home. Mornings found me dragging, and solid sleep without anxiety and the devil’s twin depression, eluded me. I wasn’t as present with my loved ones as I could have been, because I was thinking about my next drink or recovering from the last. I had absolutely no ambition or motivation to write, to tackle any projects, to take good care of myself. I felt totally miserable.
As I read (or listen on Audible) the many amazing books written by courageous souls detailing their individual and very personal journey to sobriety, authors who put it all out on the table, I am beyond grateful that my story doesn’t include some of the tragedies that befell them. In some ways I am incredulous that I escaped severe consequences like an auto accident, getting a DUI, a hefty ticket for drinking while driving, or a myriad of other terrifying possibilities. Grace has accompanied me all of my life, I know I am indescribably lucky. I have always known that. I had a lot of conversations with myself that went something like “You have to stop doing this before your whole world collapses in a great big disastrous mess.” That’s what I would tell myself when I tucked myself into bed after a night of socializing out somewhere with friends, downing much more wine or other booze than I knew was okay before driving. I always seemed fine and thought I was until my vision was severely challenged by oncoming lights, and it was hard to see the road well, my focus out of whack.
We all have our own time to make the big decisions in life. Some of us just slide right down the slippery slope of addiction to the cesspool of homelessness, hopelessness, financial ruin, disaster, tragedy. I honestly can’t stop counting my blessings with surprise, awe, and enormous gratitude that I have been so fortunate to join the sober sphere while my entire life is still intact, the damage to my health still repairable, my mental health stabilized. I have so much more living to do, so much more contribution and growth lies ahead for me. My greatest hope is that all those folks who are experiencing yet another “Day 1” can find their way to the WHY that inspires them to make it to the promised land. Sober Island really is the most beautiful stretch of land I have ever seen in all my years. It is filled with authenticity, acceptance, compassion, openness, self love, boundless energy, and a fountain of joy that never stops flowing. I truly hope your WHY will lead you here, I would love to hug you and congratulate you on the biggest and best decision you could possibly make. And if you are already here, let’s get together for a mocktail! I am really developing a nice collection of herbal infused delicious drinks sans alcohol. I am having a blast!