8 Months sober
“We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea”- C. Joybell C The above quote is used in the current book I am reading, ‘This naked mind- control alcohol’ By Annie Grace, and
for me at the start of my sobriety journey I was exactly as the quote states, fearful of change. Change meant facing myself, facing the parts of myself that I had numbed out by drinking and facing my unconscious fears. Over the past 8 months of sobriety, I have had to do exactly that, go deep diving into my unconscious mind and re-discovering the parts of myself that I allowed alcohol to hide. So far in my journey of sobriety I have experienced multiple waves of emotions, from months 1 through to 3, I felt a sense of smooth sailing, most days, with the occasional social event that seemed to drown me in social anxiety. With these emotions, that being sober allowed me to actually feel, I was faced with my own fears of missing out, fear of seeming boring and withdrawing into myself whilst everyone around me was having ‘fun’. Where I am today, it feels like that part of me is long gone but it still sits there in the back of my mind. From reading ‘This naked mind’ I am filled with confidence that I no longer need alcohol to have fun, and that I never really did need alcohol to be fun. Since becoming sober I have found a deeper connection to my ‘authentic’ self, something I have spoken about in a previous blog, and with that new found connection comes awareness. With self-awareness, I know now that a part of me is an introvert and that is why I used to drink to give me ‘liquid courage’, but in reality I was simply masking a part of myself, altering myself to fit in with others, to seem outgoing, confident and fun. Alcohol altered my identity, I lost myself in the alcohol, and the more I drank the less anxious I felt. Hence why I continued drinking, continued trying to fit in with others, to feel accepted and to silence the part of myself I thought were boring. When I think back to months 4 through to 6, they were the hardest months in my sobriety journey so far. I know harder times may arise in the future and that is okay as I am hopeful I will be able to overcome those times, as I have done so far. During these months, the mental craving to drink was very strong, and with this came a time in my life where I experienced grief from the loss of my grandad in the UK. I thought to myself that this grief and this pain would be more bearable with a bottle of wine or more, with these thoughts came more sadness, and an extreme sense of self-doubt. During this time I sat with my emotions and allowed myself time to grieve, and when I was ready I was able to find healthier coping strategies, through art, daily self-care habits and with support from my partner, my therapist and my closest friends I was able to navigate my way through the pain without numbing it out with alcohol. “Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender, it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment”- Stephen Covey After the loss of my grandad, alongside my sobriety I was able to grieve in a healthy way, I accepted that I am human and it is human to feel, it is human to feel all emotions, the good and the bad. I allowed myself to feel the pain of losing someone close to me rather than numb it out with alcohol, and months 6 through to now 8 months sober have been the most enlightening for me personally on this journey of sobriety so far. I have found a sense of calm, connection and most importantly I am no longer fearful of my emotions, I accept them all as they are all a part of me. I am introverted but I am no longer ashamed of that, and yes I am sensitive but that isn't a bad thing and I am proud of where I am today. I know the journey isn't over and there is beauty in that, there is beauty in sadness, there is beauty in uncertainty. Right now I am uncertain of the future, and with the lockdown here in Sydney I have had the time to connect to myself and explore my needs and fears. With this self-exploration I have found acceptance, forgiveness and gratitude towards myself. I have come to realise that alcohol doesn't make me fun, or more confident, it actually just changes who I am into someone who seems more fun and more confident. Who I am today, is a truer version of myself than I have been for a very long time, and with this I am living by my values and beliefs, which brings me more happiness and confidence than alcohol ever did. P.S I would like to say how grateful I am for the support I have from my partner, my closest friends and my family for supporting me in my decision, I have never felt more accepted than I do today to be truly myself.