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4 years sober

Four years on – who are you now? 

We become what you think about – your mindset creates your reality. 5 hard lessons learnt.

by Alice Smith.

  1. Sobriety takes courage

Courage is heart strength. We can get discouraged (lose heart) and we can aim to get to a point where we can encourage others so they take heart in service (step 12 of the AA.) So our time and energy are no longer approaching people with this one question – what can I get out of you? And instead we approach people with our time and energy saying – how can I be of service? How can I use my experiences to share and help others? This is the sobriety goal because it’s beyond our self – focusing on our appetites got us into this mess

.2. Sobriety is a process

It is a change for good in all areas of our life. Why do we expect it to be quick? I’m hungry. I eat. I’m thirsty. I drink. But did we gain a degree thus way? Raise a child? Grow a plant from seed? So why do we expect to change instantly? (This is the emotional range of a child – ‘I want it now.’) Sobriety is a gradual process of slowing down the pace of our life. Rock bottoms are emergency stops and there are many. They are warnings about our speed – leading to car crashes.

3. Mind the gap

In the first year of sobriety you are basically the drinker without alcohol. There is a gap. A transition and this can be lonely. You feel hollow (the lack, the void) , lonely rather than alone (all one) and you can’t justify what you are doing to yourself – or anyone else. You are waiting for the sober you to emerge. Be patient. They emerge gradually. You will have many battles with friends and family but the biggest battle will be with yourself, that inner voice of the known. The addict does not give up easily without a fight. The struggle is real. remember this –  the gap you feel is the space where other people’s chaos and drama was. Now it is just 100% you in your life. Also remember – you were lonelier before.

4. Sobriety contains real disappointment.

Disappointment means the dismantling of fantasy projections. Read that again. What fantasy projections have you built about your image, family, success, looks, friends, lifestyle? It’s all going to be coming down. But don’t fear. Sobriety brings clear sight and discernment. Discernment brings freedom. Are you tempted to drink to blot out/ switch off/ ignore/ lie to yourself/ ignore others’ lies? You are in good company!. We want to drink to switch off the clear sight at first because it seems to alienate us and we feel crazy out of the mainstream. Believe me, it becomes easier over time and less bright and we meet lots of people who hold the same clear sight. There are millions of them in the world.

5. Sobriety is a positive change

It is positive for your emotions (gives you mood regulation), your body (obvious first signs), your mind (mental clarity) and your spirit (drinking too much begins with a spiritual unease – the lack within, Not Enough.) Drink is not your friend. Your addict is your enemy and should never, ever be underestimated. It’s a fierce opponent and wants to prevent this positive change and go back to the destructive known.

6. Sobriety is number 1

In my fourth sober year, I saw a shift in my thinking and mindset, Initially I had been too ashamed to admit to being a recovering alcoholic in 361 as I viewed my image as a perfect leader and role model. (fantasy projection.) But the group has helped me to see that sharing vulnerability is powerful and I now place my sobriety number 1 (like a rare diamond I am standing on) and my mental health Number 2 in every single decision I take. Without  a daily practice that places these 2 things as a priority, we are forever stuck in the first year – a drinker without alcohol. The AA calls this white knuckling. In sobriety, it is so exciting to see  the emergence of our sober self – the good and the bad parts (think back to the pictures I showed you.) The spotlight is on the whole of us. When we drink, the drink keeps parts of us in the shadows and distorts other parts (party girl, mentalist.) Sobriety gives us balance and grounds us in our decisions. We become self assured and productive. For 361 , this leads to service – helping others with time and energy rather than simply helping ourselves.

Since becoming Sober, Alice founded 361 Life Support, a 100% user led not for profit organisation that provides emotional education to survivors of domestic abuse. We also run the 361 Sober group on Sundays . In December we won the MARSH award in conjunction with MIND for INNOVATIVE PEER SUPPORT.

Sign up to support us or to join 361 Sober at Before becoming Sober, Alice never seemed to finish anything.

Alice Smith April 2021

#sober #sobriety #soberlife #soberfemale #domesticabusesurvivor #survivor #domesticabuse #mentalhealthrecovery #recoveryfromabuse #recoveryfromaddiction #lifelessons #writer #wellness

Published by 361one

when I write I am a king. Listen to more at 361 live podcast

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