Substance Abuse

10 Gifts of Sobriety

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1. Hangover free mornings. I love being able to focus and be present for my family in the morning. Last year, I was late to work almost every single day. This year, I have been very slightly late (due to last minute kid drop-off logistics) twice. Boo-YAH!

2. Reading. I have a literature degree and am an English teacher so reading should be an intergral part of my life, right? Not so much. When I was drinking, I read only what was absolutely necessary, usually for work or school. I probably averaged a (recreational) book a year (maybe). Now I read voraciously like I did as a child. Sometimes, I even read alcoholically (shocking, right?) and I have to remind myself to go the fuck to bed. Since getting sober I have read around 15 books. I feel like I have a piece of my soul back.

3. Better skin. Did you know that if you wash your make-up off before bed that you don’t get giant crater zits on your chin?? Apparently, I did not know this. I would pass out nightly in my makeup. Now I wash my face EVERY night and even have a quirky little skincare regimen. My skin, though showing signs of my 38 years, looks better than it has in years. Now I need to work on flossing everyday.

4. Weight loss. I haven’t quite figured out the magic formula on this one but I have lost 10 pounds while doing absolutely nothing. So there is that. I will take it.

5. Liking (maybe even loving) myself. Holy shit! I had no clue that self-respect would be a bi-product of sobriety, but for me, it definitely is.

6. Real friendships. When your life revolves around drinking and recovering from hangovers, you tend to put meaningful relationships on the back burner. In recovery, I have repaired and strengthened existing friendships and developed new ties, as well.

7. More money. I am a walking, talking financial shit show but so much less so since cutting out about $300-$500 per month on booze.

8. Better mommy time. I thought I would be an amazing mom after I quit drinking. To my dismay, I did not turn into June Clever. I am definitely imperfect, as a mom but I am present and sober.

9. My time is my own. I was a slave to booze. It ruled my schedule. Now, if I want to stay home all day on a Sunday, I can do that. No need to plan my life around liquor store runs, drinking time and, lets not forget, the all consuming hangover recovery time.

10. Sharper senses. I swear, food tastes better, music sounds better and everything is more beautiful sober. Maybe I am just grateful to be alive.

Thanks for all of the well wishes and messages on my last post. I was eaten alive by my job this quarter but I do love posting. The process of writing and the feedback I receive from you all helps me SOOOOO MUCH. I am going to try to get back to it on the regular.

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My Sobriety Playbook

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Ok, here it is. I reread the 12 Steps last night and I am just not a 12 Stepper. What it comes down to for me (and only for me) is that if I believe some other force outside of myself is in control, I will just say ‘fuck it. I can’t control this’ and tumble into a deep well of bourbon and tequila. Call it a lack of faith in outside influences and perhaps and overabundance of faith in myself. I think the steps are amazing tools for others and I respect the power and the role they have played in other’s recoveries, but they are not for me. Instead, I wrote my own steps. I was going to call them rules but I never, ever pay any attention to rules (except rules that if not followed might result in death or dismemberment) so I am calling this my playbook. This is a work in progress. Yes, some of them are close cousins to one another, but for the time being, each is important enough to stand alone. As the months go by, maybe I will combine, reorder, rewrite or add to the playbook.

(Holy shit! As I typed ‘months’ I just realized it is my sober one month anniversary. Woo-Whoo!)

My Sobriety Playbook

  1. Admit that you are addicted to alcohol and while you are not powerless, acknowledge your addiction is a formative foe not to be fucked with.
  2. Ask for what you need. Realize that your recovery is essential to your survival and needs to come first right now.
  3. Gather the troops. Surround yourself with supportive allies. Avoid less supportive influences.
  4. Be introspective and self aware. Write daily. Blog, journal, write poetry, lists, and or work on your novel.
  5. Reach out! Listen to and read other’s stories. Realize the wisdom and power in the journeys of others who have survived or are surviving with you.
  6. Be curious. You have been numb most of your adult life. There are many things you likely don’t know about yourself.
  7. Be kind to yourself! Exercise, eat well and enjoy life.
  8. Forgive yourself and others.
  9. Love.
  10.  Breathe. Unclench. Relax.
  11. Move!
  12. Recognize the voice of Wolfie. Recognize that her voice is crafty, powerful, deceptive and seductive. Wolfie wants you dead. Tell Wolfie to fuck off. Often.