Five Years Sober – How I’ve Done It
I'd just like to share a few ideas as to how I managed to recently reach the five year mark of my new life in sobriety. This is not intended to brag about what I’ve done, but to simply share some of the things that have helped me ... and if someone else at least gets one useful idea from what I've shared, it will mean this post has been worth it.
The thing that has driven me to keep going until this point has been hope ... the hope of a better life ... the hope of something more than the drunken chaos my life had become (but that’s an entirely different story altogether).
That hope has served as my motivator. And as that hope began to burn more brightly, I started to hope that one day I would no longer be repulsed by the person staring back at me in the mirror ... that I’d be able to have some sort of relationship with my children ... that I’d someday be able to experience a semblance of happiness. That hope has driven me to reach the point I am today, and without it I have no doubt I’d be dead.
I've also invested a huge amount of time and effort in developing a relationship with myself. I was tired of hating the person I was (probably the biggest trigger to my life of alcoholism I think because it helped me forget and numb that feeling). So I’ve had to learn to be okay with who I am ... flaws and all. It’s taken me my 47 years to really understand and appreciate that flaws and imperfections are what make us human and truly beautiful. I've done lots of reading (there are some great books out there), reflection, meditation and prayer to help me with this. (I tried exercise, but it’s not really my thing:-)
I’ve also had to learn to forgive ... firstly myself ... and then others. Living with anger, hatred and guilt I’ve realised are nothing more than poison. It hasn’t been easy for me, but I’ve come to learn that forgiveness is also an act of love, and so the more I learn to forgive, the more love I let into my life.
Developing new hobbies and routines have given my life purpose and have been instrumental in keeping me not only sober, but sane as well:-) Long walks in the countryside ... Sunday morning visits to my favourite coffee shop where I enjoy reading the newspaper and watching the world go by ... regular trips to the cinema ... Chinese takeaway and DVD evenings with my closest friends ... weekly massages ... are just some of the activities I’ve developed to keep my life interesting (to me at least anyway) and that help keep me out of negative head space.
Surrounding myself with good people is something I’ve also been very conscious of doing, because I realised (through lots of experience) how spending time with the wrong kind of people is looking for trouble. So now I’m very selective of who I spend my time with and have a few very good friends who I trust and respect totally ... rather than a whole bunch of hangers on who do nothing but drain me of my energy and who thrive in negativity and misery (funny how they’re the ones that still spend most of their time down the pub).
None of this is earth-shattering stuff, but if anyone had asked me five years ago if I’d be able to get where I am today, I’d have said they’re crazy. All I've really done is take it one day at a time and realised it's the simple things that really that make all the difference. So even if you remember only one thing about what I've written, just remember KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid), LOL
Thanks for letting me share,