From The Outside Looking In

A friend of mine recently announced to the world, via social media, that she has not had a cigarette or drink of alcohol in a year, aside from one experience with a few glasses of wine over the summer. She moved away a few years ago and we don’t really stay in touch…we were really just becoming friends when she left. I follow her life through the amazing channels of social media, as I do with many other people. I apologize for the stalker-y nature of this post, but I think it is worth sharing how cool and good sobriety looks from the outside.

I was reflecting about her quitting, and how great that is, when I started thinking of a few other friends and acquaintances who are now sober, and who I have also followed on social media over the years. In many cases, I used to drink with these people, and they either moved away or we lost touch for one reason or another. I sometimes admired their sobriety from afar but never really dwelt on it, as it hit too close to home.

First of all, my sober friends are gorgeous. They have great haircuts, fabulous clothes, and generally look really put together. They definitely have that je ne sais quoi when it comes to personal style.

They also do a lot of fun things, according to the pictures that they share with the world. I know that social media doesn’t exactly provide an accurate picture of a person’s life, but you get an idea of what they are up to from what they choose to share. For example, mine is basically pictures of my baby right now. I can’t help it…my family is my main focus at this point in my life. My old pictures are filled with nights out drinking. I kind of want to delete them, but I also don’t want to erase my past. I did those things…I just don’t do them anymore.

Anyway…my sober friends go to interesting places, have nice dinners, go out at night, and generally appear to be having fun sober. They travel and live in cool locations. They create things. They appear to live well.

My point is that even though this sobriety stuff can be freakin’ hard and a pain in the neck sometimes, it is worth it because it helps to improve our lives. It improves it so much that it is actually visible to the outside world! It is one more tool for me to think about and picture when I am having a hard time staying sober…what do I want to show the world about myself? Well…I want to be a put together lady who treats herself well. Being sober helps me accomplish that.

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A Mixed Bag

I have been a bit stressed out this holiday season, but I am holding tightly onto my sobriety. We have had two attempted break-ins (TWO! WTF!), family visiting, a teething and non-sleeping baby, etc. It has been tempting to look for answers in the booze, but I keep hearing over and over that they are not to be found there, and I believe it. How would being drunk help any of those things? It wouldn’t, and it would probably make them all worse. I am struggling with how to have fun without it, though. I know, I know…it wasn’t really “fun” anyway, but it made the boredom and bad feelings a lot more fuzzy, while everything is so crystal clear and sharp now. Drinking made me less present so I didn’t notice how little fun I was actually having. I mean, often I didn’t remember ANYTHING after drinking for more than a few hours, so I had no idea whether I had fun or not.

Well…that pretty much ruins my thoughts romanticizing the drink. I absolutely HATED waking up not remembering anything, and now that never happens. One huge point for sobriety.

Early sobriety is a little like limbo. I am not yet comfortable being sober all the time, but I no longer want to be drunk. Or be a drunk, I suppose, because sometimes I do think it would be nice to be drunk for a few hours. Then I quickly think through the drink and…nope. I don’t want that life. So…patience is key. It gets easier in tiny increments and sometimes it goes two steps forward one step back. Progress feels slower around the holidays when everyone seems to be imbibing, and all sorts of unpleasant feelings come out to play for a whole bunch of reasons.

I am taking plenty of deep breaths. The end of the holidays is near. New Year’s Eve is tomorrow and I have limited my plans to the bare minimum, as I have done with every other major event this year. Kinda lame, maybe, but I am still too shaky to put myself in precarious situations with lots of alcohol. Maybe after a year or two…if I even want to be in those situations by then.

I will continue to make big plans for my sobriety, and my life, and then take it one day at a time. It is a mixed bag sometimes, but it is my bag and I am gonna focus on the good stuff as much as I can. I am opening my heart more and locking my doors tighter. Wishing you all a wonderful and happy New Year.