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The Willingness To Try Something Different

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Often, in early sobriety life may feel sort of dull, boring and absolutely blah at times. Alcohol seemed to have had a powerful effect on creating things superficially exciting for us. Sometimes alcohol gave us the invigorating reward feeling for living this super hard life. Many of us had romantic thoughts about the glamorous drinking days, and how everything felt so spontaneous and exciting when we were drinking. Once drinking is no longer a part of life, it may take some time for the fun activities to have the same exhilarating effect.

This can be one of the hardest parts of the changes in sobriety. In fact, it was so hard for me that I was clinging to it for many years!

Unfortunately, my need for a return to thrill-seeking and escape had often led me right back to drinking. I attempted to hang out at bars, go to parties and other drinking events and not drink. This proved to be extremely hard because cravings are physical pains, and brutal on the psyche. However, it was just what I needed to finally realize that I could no longer be a part of that lifestyle if I wanted to get and stay sober. When I finally decided that this was it and I was quitting, I had to come to terms with the end of that way of life.

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Recovery is not meant to be the end of all fun, or adventure, or thrill-seeking, however, it does require more effort to integrate not drinking into those activities especially since we are so used to doing everything while drinking. It also means doing new things, getting out of the comfort zone and opening the doors to the willingness to try something different!

In the beginning, I just had to stop and not be involved. That meant parties, bars, concerts, wine festivals, and beer tastings and such, were out! Then I had to start integrating activities where drinking was not the main attraction.

I started going to museums and art galleries and visited places that I have never been to. I also watched a lot of educational TV like the Discovery Channel and the Science Channel; it opened a whole new world of knowledge to me.

I also found that being part of a 12 step program allowed me to socialize with other sober people. Most groups organize numerous events like movie nights, picnics and dances. When you meet other sober people you will also be able to get even more ideas from them! If you are interested in becoming a part of a 12 step program please visit their webpage and look for meetings and events in your area.

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Other options may be taking a fitness class or a painting class. There are also activities you might try like the Photo a The Day challenges, like this one at FatMumSlim. I know, I know… all these may seem a bit boring or somewhat intimidating, but once you start doing few things you will find that the excitement will return and you will keep finding new interests things to do which do not involve drinking!

Believe me, the enjoyable activities will once again have an exciting effect and maybe even be more exciting because the enthusiasm will be all-natural! I remember my first sober concert and it was amazing. I had a blast and it was even more exciting than I have imagined.

The process of integrating these none-drinking activities into sobriety may take some time and practice, and eventually, you may feel comfortable enough with going to a party, or a bar for a special occasion, or a concert! But give yourself the best chance of sustaining your sobriety by being willing to try new things that do not include drinking!

What sober activities do you enjoy?




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Hope For The New Year

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Three years ago, I picked up a drink after being in long term recovery and my life had spiraled out of control. Today I am sober by the grace of my higher power and the people that continue to support me and love me unconditionally. This has been a true gift of 2019! However, I am not going to go back and review my 2019, instead, I will put my intentions forward and focus on hope and what it might bring in the year ahead.

My life has been immersed in recovery for quite some time. I had a long and difficult journey to where I am today. I am so very grateful for this life and for sobriety. I have been given another chance and I am reminded so often that even when things get tough there is always hope for a better tomorrow!

And hope is not merely wishful thinking; it is much more than that. Hope is knowing and strongly believing that though one is in a desperate situation, things will improve. This faith and optimism have helped me gather enough courage to get through it all, keep trying, and continue moving forward. Life is constantly changing, just like the weather, no two days are alike. But with hope, the bad days get better, and the great days are proof that hope does work.

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Recovery from Alcohol Use Disorder is so very painstaking. It has so many pieces to it. It’s not just putting down the drink. It’s learning a new way of life. It’s learning to take steps towards a better tomorrow. It’s growing new relationships and mending the old ones. It’s finding courage where there seems to be none. It’s facing life on life’s terms. It’s a journey sometimes one day at a time, one step at a time, or even one breath at a time. But little by little the days start adding up, good things start happening, and our attitude and outlook on life become more optimistic. We grow, we change, we experience all that sobriety can bring and hope is always there to carry us through it all.

So today, on this wonderful first day of 2020, I would like to share some quotes with you. These little paragraphs help me keep hope alive and set my intentions in a positive direction. I hope they can help you too!

So believe it.

Don’t waste another moment doubting or second-guessing what you know deep down inside you to be true. Live courageously and cast your fears aside. Open yourself up to the full spectrum of human experiences that are awaiting you and allow the spiritual essence that is present within us all to guide you. Ask your question sincerely and listen carefully for the reply. It will come. Let down the walls around your heart and love wholeheartedly. You will feel love and warmth greater than anything you’ve ever experienced. Say your prayer with unshakeable faith and wait for the answer. You will be blessed beyond your wildest dreams. You’re not crazy. Trust yourself. –  Chris Assaad

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Rise up

You can rise up from anything. You can completely reinvent yourself. Nothing is permanent. You’re not stuck. You have choices. You can think new thoughts. You can learn something new. You can create new habits. All that matters is that you decide today to believe in yourself! ~ Anonymous

Fucking Up

Hey sweethearts. A reminder: making mistakes in recovery/when you’re trying to quit drinking is not synonymous with going BACK somewhere or losing something. You can’t unlearn what you’ve learned, you can’t EVER undo the good you accumulate, you literally can’t go back in time to the person you were when you started. ~ Holly Glenn Whitaker – Hip Sobriety

Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ~ Nelson Mandela and spiritual author Marianne Williamson

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Don’t Give up

Cause sometimes you just feel tired, feel weak
And when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up
But you gotta search within you
And gotta find that inner strength
And just pull that shit out of you
And get that motivation to not give up
And not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face, and collapse ~ Anonymous

Love

It’s love. When we love messy people well, we start to love our messy selves more. And all that love makes us BRAVE. And eventually, Love beats fear. Love Wins. ~ Brené Brown

Happy Sober New Year! May this be your best year ever!




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I AM SOBER, NOW WHAT?

I remember my first year sober being quite difficult and mostly spent trying to just stay sober. I didn’t wonder much about who I was, and what I liked, and what my future looked like. OK, that is not entirely true, I worried a whole lot about my future, but all of my energy was really focused on living the day-to-day life without picking up a drink.

But sometime after the first year, I started feeling a bit lost. I never really thought about what I wanted to do with my life before getting sober and I certainly did not think about what it would look like when and if I got sober. I had many fears about my future and I had no idea where to start.

If you are finding yourself in the same predicament, consider a few of these suggestions to get you going in the positive direction:

  1. Remember what you love to do? Do you remember the last time you had fun in your life? Do you remember when things felt easy and in the flow? Often in depths of our addictions, we lose sight of how amazing life could be because we are consumed by keeping our addictions thriving. Now that we are sober, it’s time to reconnect with what we once loved and take action on it. Make a commitment to investigate the possibility of once again pursuing your dreams!
  2. Give yourself some time and space to get away from the expectations, the conversations, the noise, the media, and the pressure. If you have spent many years in addiction, chances are that many others in your age group are, what seems like, way ahead of you in life. Comparing where you are and where they are, is not productive. Focus on you only.
  3. Take some time each day to go for a long walk and think. Plant yourself on a park bench and look. Take a long, thoughtful road trip. Whatever you do, move away from anything that distracts you from contemplating your life and where you want it to go. In solitude, you should feel independent and self-sufficient, not lonely, needy or afraid.
  4. Take yourself out of your comfort zone for an extended period. Take note of how you adjust outside of your comfort zone and you will notice things about yourself you never did before. This may help guide you into the direction of your future goal.
  5. Make sure no one influences who you are; listen to others and learn from them but let the final choices, decisions, and acceptances be your own. If you simply capitulate to what others think, it will make finding yourself even harder since people are influencing who you think you are.
  6. Resist the urge to feel like you’re the only one going through this. In Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison once summed this up well:

All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naive. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: that I am nobody but myself.

Of course, if you are still having a hard time figuring it all out don’t be afraid to sleep on it. There’s no hurry in making decisions, and you’ll be more likely to make good ones if your mind is calm and rested.

In the end, there is no right or wrong way, so don’t worry so much. For you, it just might be a flowing journey, and for others maybe a thought out a detailed list of goals! Either way, focus on your recovery first, and the rest will fall into place!