Getting sober is one thing but staying sober is another.
And staying sober during a pandemic is another
Right now I’m finding it tough. I have had many urges to get wasted recently. I have cried myself to sleep with the pain of grief and letting go. I am healing and its hard and vulnerable. Part of me does want to run away and numb it all you know?
When the majority of people think someone is so hero-like, but to you they where someone who hurt you, that is so tough. My truth is not reflected back to me.
This requires so much self-love and care. To NOT take it on board and NOT feel shame and blame around it. And in those times I do feel shame and blame around it to just feel it, allow it and process it.
In therapy, it feels like going over the same stuff sometimes. The same trauma. However, it is different because of its different layers and each time I am trusting my body more and more. It knows what to do and what it needs to do. Somatic work is huge and I continue to learn what it means each time I show up. So much letting go recently in my life and its challenging and feels raw.
I just checked on my app and today its 780 days of not drinking or smoking anything. It is a huge achievement. And one I needed to read just now. I can’t go to a real AA meeting in person but I know I need to go to an online one. Pull in on all the resources that I still have available. I’m writing this for those struggling today. I am too. And I see you and all I can say is just hold on for today because that is what I’m going to do. My truth and my voice(just like yours) are just as important now as then when I couldn’t speak up and out. I am learning and growing in my power amid all the tears and pain, healing is happening.
So today its two years now since I quit alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana too! When I read other people days,months and years I’m always so amazed and like WOW that’s a lot of days together. But when I see mine in my app I’m not so amazed and in awe! I’m not sure why but I have some ideas. Us Irish and maybe not just the Irish are not good at celebrating their achievements and taking praise or compliments. For example when someone comments on an item of clothing we brush it off and say “ah sure it was only cheap from such and such a shop”!! I feel like Catholic Ireland has always taught me and us that pride is a sin!! So maybe that’s why I find it difficult to feel pride in myself. But what does feeling proud of oneself feel like? What is the sensation in the body? A month into my recovery like I’ve written before I found myself a therapist to work with. Not a talk therapist but a somatic one. So I try describe sensations in the body..So for me, pride feels like light. Its a feeling of being relaxed in my body,warm and spacious. Being sober also gives me these feelings. Drinking made me heavy inside and a feeling of being suffocated. So did smoking but I think that’s more to do with the fact I was suffocating my lungs. Today I can certainly say I am breathing more easily.
Two years in one day at a time I have not found it all easy going no. I’ve had to get real and dig deep into all the stuff I numbed with my addictions..This is an ongoing process and necessary one. Layers exist. Sometimes layers exist around the same issue and when I think I have dealt with something enough, another layer will become clear. This is the showing up. This is the driving weekly to therapy a 90 min round trip. I am thankful for this journey. It has given me so so much, some of which I will share now.
I have a 12 step programme. One that’s tried tested and works if it’s worked at! I find this extremely beneficial as the way the 12 Steps are structured gives me a purpose. Also means I now have a sponsor whom I can ask to help me with the programme. Step 8 is “made a list of all persons we had harmed,and became willing to make ammends. This is important to me. To my recovery and peace of mind. As are all 12 steps…
I have a hangover free body and mind every single morning I wake up. I am not sick with drink anymore ever. This is one of my favourite things about being sober. I was sick of feeling sick. Now I’m free in myself..its the biggest reward.
I have and am attempting to pay my debt. It feels wonderful to be able to pay bills on time. It feels wonderful to be able to treat myself and my loved ones. Before I would always have a choice to make, pay the bill or part of it and fund my addiction. That does not happen now.
I’m not running away anymore. Before I ran away alot. Now I try my best to face everything. Not all at once but little by little step by step… being vulnerable is a strength. Not a weakness.
At the start of therapy, it was suggested i gather things together that i like to do that are beneficial. I draw on these resources when i need them which is daily. They have kept me sober and sane. Swimming is one of them and now with the pool closed for Level 5, I will have to use other resources. Unless i want to swim in the very cold lake!!! That’s life in pandemic times. We don’t know what will happen next but I know I have many resources to draw upon. This writing being another one. Which I don’t need anything for really. A pen and paper I guess and a laptop and internet if I want to share via my blog.
Walking is another one and thankfully can still do that. Sadly without my beloved Star who I miss every day still. She was a joy giver, especially on walks with her stick carrying antics! Walking can be so boring now!! So I’ve got myself a pair of Bluetooth headphones and started listening to podcasts or music. This helps me. Star is still with us always in our hearts never to be forgotten. So lucky to have had a dog so perfect!!
Reading would be another resource I use daily. I do like to read other peoples stories on how they got and stayed sober. Some of my favourites are: The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Grey, Recovery by Russell Brand and Glorious Rock Bottom by Bryony Gordon. I also read The Big Book from AA and The Twelve Steps and 12 Traditions. I will read whatever I find hopeful and helpful so it’s varied and wide!! And of course, I read other stuff too that is not about not drinking!! Untamed By Glennon Doyle was a recent favourite and I highly reccomend it.
Another resource I want to write about is meditation. This one helps me the most. It takes me back to the here and now. It takes me to my breath to the oneness of stillness. Quiets the mind and makes me feel still and full of calmness throughout my whole body. I use a free app called Insight Timer and would highly recommend it. So much goodness contained in one app!! I need to meditate daily. Some days I don’t but when I do it daily,it only adds to my day. It is true for meditation what they also say about swimming “you never regret it”!!
Finally seeing and hearing other peoples journeys is so encouraging to me. Without other people sharing their own story I’m not sure I would be getting through mine. So for those on their journeys and casting out their light, I thank you so so much. You are an inspiration to me and I see you!!
This is one of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite authors Brene Brown which feels appropriate here.
“If you are not in the arena getting your ass kicked on occasion, I am not interested in or open to your feedback. There are a million cheap seats in the world today filled with people who will never be brave with their own lives, but will spend every ounce of energy they have hurling advice and judgement at those of us trying to dare greatly. Their only contributions are criticism, cynicism, and fear-mongering. If you’re criticizing from a place where you’re not also putting yourself on the line, I’m not interested in your feedback”
Been an age since i last wrote here and felt inspired with everything going on right now. Well mainly with this pandemic. Every thing feels different,unsure, uncertain, unknown right?
Right now im glad i have 14 months sobriety and mostly i feel strong in myself emotionally, mentally and physically. If i began to think about all the unknowns around this pandemic than sure my head will spin out of control and go down an unhealthy rabbit hole.That does not mean i dont give myself the space to fell what im feeling i just try to do so in my body and not my mind. For example am i fearful of not being able to work for a while due to the cafes and so on all being closed? Yes i feel fear around it and so i allow it. Recognize. Then i investigate where its coming from? Well i like to work i like to go to work get out of the house, keep busy, make some money and so on. But its temporary. Maybe another job will come up during this time doing something else or maybe i will create one. But i know i dont need to worry and fret about it. Im thankful i get government support when unemployed so financially can keep going.
While i wasent much for socializing in the way others maybe do there was some things that i had started to enjoy.Going to one AA meeting a week had become something of a routine and something i found solace in. I find it comforting to find other people did and behaved in similar ways with no control over it..I have tried an AA online just once but i didnt enjoy it so clicked out of the meeting.I feel socially awkward even online it seems. However i tried it once and and maybe the meeting just wasent for me and so i will try one again and maybe it will work out fine.
Every Monday for the past 13 months ive been gong to somatic therapy. This has helped me stay sober and to love and respect myself at a whole new level. Its been the most hard work but the most worthwhile. Its been body changing and life affirming. I no longer see or feel myself in the same light. So last week i was meant to have my first session online but i was sick so didn’t feel i had the energy for it. This week il try again.Sure i have fear around it working.Around being able to be fully present in my body online but if i dont try then i will lose out and the flow that was worked so hard for may be lost until who knows when.
Life has never been more so about adjusting and even more so about accepting. For the past 14 months during sobriety i have tried so much to live life only in the day.To be sober and not take a drink or drug just for today. And now i feel everyone is having a lesson in this. Sure routines and work and more are all spun on there heads. And we dont know for how long. But its collective. Now some may chose to turn to drink or drugs at this time but for me that choice would be detrimental. When all this eases i want to still be sober.I want to have not picked up a drink.
So i have added some new routines. I make sure i write in diary everyday for a t least 10 mins free flow. I’ve started online QIQong and i love it. The ease and flow of it really suits me and if you have not heard of it or tried it please do. A friend of mine does meditation online every eve at 7pm and i join that when i can… I dont do these things for doing something. Because i firmly believe in doing nothing also and i dont believe that doing nothing is lazy. WE all must look after our mental health in whatever way works for us. I do them because i can. I have a home thats safe. Electricity and internet that allows me too. I have so much to be thankful for.
Its important for me to make some things during theses times that are not different that are sure,certain and known. Daily.
…its now been 10 months or 304 days since i gave up alcohol,marijuana and nicotine.I make a conscious decision everyday that i wont drink or get high today. Some days its really difficult and i have to draw on all the things i know to be true.Which goes something like this:
By myself i am powerless over my addiction.Many times i tried by my own will to stop and each time i failed.Admitting that to myself was the first step and it is the first step every single day 10 months on.
Other peoples opinions on my addiction do not matter to me.Those who consider this a lifestyle choice and a whatever makes you happy choice do not understand.And thats ok with me. I will continue to share my journey how i chose too,privately publicly or other. There is no shame in sharing my story and by sharing it maybe someone else will admit to themselves they have a problem and are powerless to control it.
10 months ago i had 4 jobs. All part time and none of which i truly loved.One of them was cleaning a pub on a Monday morning. I emptied ashtrays and mopped beer stained floors.I did this because it paid me 30euro and one month after getting sober i started therapy and it paid for some of it. Today i have one job.Its work but i do love it. Im proud to be a chef,to send out soft poached eggs every single time. To know that the cheese is proper melted on the sandwich.!!!To serve food that i would happily pay for!!!
Everything is real now that im not escaping/numbing.Sure sometimes that is overwhelming but sometimes the overwhelm is because of the most wonderful laughter with another person.Or looking across a lake when the rain clears and a beautiful rainbow fills the sky. Feeling that joy is new to me. Before i was so caught up in getting home to have a glass a wine or a joint. I was consumed with consuming and not being present in the moment. Now i get to be present and its wonderful more times than not.
Therapy has saved me from relapsing and i recommend it to everyone.A month into my sobriety i found myself a somatic therapist. This kind of therapy differs from talk therapy in that it focuses on releasing any trauma we may have held onto from the body. Its been life changing in so many ways. No its not easy. Yes sometimes i want to leave and go drink to numb what has come up to numb the ugly feeling in myself. But so far i have not.This way of life is for me and i do not ever want to go back.
What i have found in people and in this way of life far outweighs anything i have lost. When i drank i always told myself tomorrow i will stop and tomorrow was always another excuse.When i go to AA meeting i hear other peoples stories and its exactly the same.When i went to a meeting 10 months ago all i could do was cry because i heard myself in everyone and i was glad to be there. Yes it was so hard to walk through the doors alone but once i went inside i was not alone anymore.And thats how it is now to this day.Sure friendships have changed and some have gone away because alcohol was the only thing we had in common!! But thats ok. Ive realsied that my sobriety has to be the most important thing in my life..not the 2nd or 3rd the 1st.Everyday.
“To thine own self be true”
I have my own higher power that is personal to me. And everyday i ask for help to stay sober to stay true and kind. I say the serenity prayer daily because its simple and stays with me. …To Accept the things i cannot change, the courage to change the things i can…
So i hope reading this, whatever journey your own you own it and claim it as yours..and if its not for you than change it..its only one day and that’s today. That’s all we have so make it count!!