Climbing Over The Mountains

I was thinking recently about the shift in thinking that occurs when we stop wanting to drink, when we become completely satisfied with the idea of being alcohol-free on a permanent basis. When I quit drinking, I didn’t expect to turn into a happy Soberista. I imagined a life of teeth-gritting boredom, tedium as I observed the world around me downing alcoholic drinks with gusto, and the endless pursuit of attempting to fill the hole that booze had left behind.

I hid away from the world for a very long time when I put down the bottle. On the odd occasion when I did venture out socially, I felt like a freak, convinced everyone knew about my ‘little problem’. I didn’t conceive of this feeling ever disappearing, but instead resigned myself to growing accustomed to it and tolerating an existence defined by my teetotal stance.

As it turns out, my life has become somewhat characterised by my decision to not drink. But not for the reasons I thought it would: cravings, stigma, embarrassment and shame arising out of my ‘issue’ with alcohol. No, my life has become defined by sobriety because stopping drinking has been the most monumental decision I have ever taken – and the person I’ve become as a result of not drinking is the one that I should always have been. I feel like I’ve returned to my roots since quitting the booze.

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What began as a painfully awkward, steep learning curve of living free from the shackles of alcohol dependency has blossomed into a profound love of life that is a million times better, because drinking no longer features in it. From April 2011 onwards, every ‘first’ was a giant hurdle that needed clambering over – sober. Christmas, birthdays, stressful days, boring days, lonely days, busy days, disappointments, nights out; each one loomed like a dark and treacherous mountain, but conquering those events brought satisfaction and confidence and contentment. And a healthy does of self-belief too, which only furthered my ability to manage the next challenge that lay ahead.

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As time has gone on, I have forgotten what it felt like to want to escape my reality. I have lost the sensation of ‘needing’ a drink. I look at other people drinking and have absolutely no desire to join them in altering their minds. I am very happy to not drink.

If you are just starting out as a Soberista and currently every day without a drink, every minute of intense cravings for alcohol, feels like a mountain to be climbed, don’t despair. It passes. Honestly, it does. The only things that you need to embrace for the transformation to occur are a commitment to not having that first drink and patience.

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8 thoughts on “Climbing Over The Mountains

  1. Really enjoyed reading this post. How your solution for your problem, became something bigger. A life beyond your wildest dreams. I share your findings in that. Getting sober has reconnected me with myself, and given me the gift of presence and appreciation for everything I have, and for all my mistakes, and for everywhere I will ever go! Wonderful stuff, soberistas!

  2. Yes, so true! How soon we forget how it felt at first that those feelings would never go away. I am only 7 months sober but I can totally relate to this post. I both love this sentence and felt it like a punch to my gut: “my life has become defined by sobriety because stopping drinking has been the most monumental decision I have ever taken – and the person I’ve become as a result of not drinking is the one that I should always have been.” It certainly doesn’t sound like you meant it as regret about the past, but that is something I have been dealing with lately. Anyway, loved the post, glad to be sober and grateful for the awesome life I get to live now. Thank you!

  3. I totally agree with all you say. I have been AF for 15 months and had cancer along the way but no thoughts of wanting drink for at least 8 months now. It’s the getting through the firsts of everything that’s the tough bit….first party with everyone else drinking, first birthday, first Christmas. The concern of what others think quickly goes and instead of feeling like someone with an issue you feel the strongest you.
    A life without alcohol is enriched and free, clear, true and authentic. It feels so right and is infinitely better than what a dry month’s break can give you; although that is a start with rewards aplenty for your mental and physical wellbeing. It’s worth all of the effort and if at first you don’t succeed, keep on trying again and again xx

  4. Anita Kirby says:

    I have not had a drink for over 4 years now and its the best thing that l have every done…l am like you l do not think about booze..l was a heavy drinker for 20years or more…lts good to know that l am not alone Anita

  5. Francoise says:

    I really enjoy my wine. I feel that I am in control , but not my family who live far away from me. In a process of giving up my wine for 1 month. It has been 5 days now.

  6. Fred Kemp says:

    Now been sober for 14 months and now starting to enjoy it. Does not bother any more. It did however take a lot of work with the amount I used to drink . Perseverance is the answer

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