On August 18th I marked three entire years of sobriety. I look back and see myself sitting in the exact same spot on the couch I’m sitting on as I write this. I wish I could reach through the veil of time and comfort that poor, lost woman. She had so much love in her life and had so much to be grateful for – but at her core, was so lost and felt so alone and so damn scared.
The one thing I wish that I’d known about sooner was the private Facebook group that I eventually learned about and joined. It’s called the Booze Free Brigade and it’s chock full of the best people I’ve never met. We all share a single goal: to live our very best lives without alcohol mucking everything up. There are people in the BFB from all walks of life at every stage of the journey, and it’s a beautiful thing. It’s a 24/7 support group. I’ve made a new friend who lives near me and connected with people from all over the world – there is absolutely nothing like talking to people who “get” you.
In the past three years, I’ve experienced just about every challenge you can think of. There have been births and deaths, my children have faced some major crises, work issues that have tested me, weddings, family and day-to-day stress, and most recently – my 40th High School reunion. Interestingly, the reunion was very, VERY difficult. I graduated in a class of almost 1,000 – and did nothing of note during my three years there. I was incredibly uncomfortable for much of the evening – and didn’t want to drink so much as just pull an “I Dream of Jeannie” – blink my eyes and disappear. I felt uncomfortable and awkward and out of my element. If my husband hadn’t encouraged me to walk around and talk to people, it would have been a complete waste of an evening. I would have been far more comfortable in a room full of strangers than I was surrounded by people who, for the most part, I only had vague memories of. Without the social lubricant of alcohol, I realized I have a definite social anxiety/shy streak.
I wish I had something new to say or some sparkling nugget of wisdom to pass on, but I don’t. If you’ve just stumbled on my blog and/or you’re new to this journey, all I can encourage you to do is: anything but drink. Read as many sobriety blogs as you can – some good ones are: Tired of Thinking About Drinking, Sober at Sixty, Mrs. D is Going Without, and UnPickled. Listen to podcasts! The Bubble Hour, Since Right Now, and Hip Sobriety come to mind. Eat ice cream, candy, popcorn with real butter – any damn thing you want. Make things easy on yourself: if the answer to any question isn’t a “Hell, yes!” – then it’s “Hell, NO!” Cut back on any obligation that doesn’t make your soul sing. “No” is a complete sentence. Try meditation. Insight Timer is a great app – maybe costs two bucks – and is worth its weight in gold. I use it every night. Try yoga – it works wonders for a million reasons. There are tons of videos on YouTube. And when all else fails, go to bed.
And as for me, I plan to stay the course and make the most of whatever life throws my way. I’ll be posting less – but if you need me, I’m only an email away. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Take good care, friends!