You’ve decided to get sober – an awesome decision to support your physical and mental well-being that will radiate outwards to benefit so many areas of your life. When you share your decision with a select few who are close to you early on in your sobriety, they show you support and encourage your decision. That’s awesome! Once you’ve gotten a solid streak of sobriety under your belt and start to hit your stride, you decide to tell others. The momentum keeps going until, abruptly, you get some feedback you didn’t expect and it really hurts. That’s when you realize, there are some people who won’t be supportive of your sobriety.
If you’ve already experienced this or haven’t yet, let me be clear: other people not being supportive of your decision to get sober has absolutely NOTHING to do with you and everything to do with them. Don’t let their opinions make you second guess yourself as to whether or not it’s something you should be doing if you feel good about doing it.
Do you feel like you’re stuck in a cycle when it comes to your drinking? Do you find yourself asking why you can’t seem to stay sober past a certain amount of days? Are you beating yourself up for yet again landing back at day one, wondering if it’ll ever stop and why you keep doing this to yourself?
If you nodded your head while reading any of those questions, then it’s time to get mindful about your drinking cycle. It’s important to focus on what you can learn from when you slip up, rather than focus on the fact that you’re not sober yet. Paying attention to what is instead of what isn’t will help you troubleshoot your sobriety.
Having been an online sobriety coach for over two years now (and sober for three and a half), I’ve heard a lot of misconceptions about sobriety. Here are the top five I’ve come across, and what the reality is. (I originally posted this on Medium)
1) Everything will be full of sunshine and rainbows after the first few weeks of sobriety.
While the first few weeks of sobriety can be challenging, you’re unfortunately not in the clear once you get through them. It is 100% true that the days, weeks, and months to follow can be more manageable once you make it past the first few weeks (and, let’s face it, they aren’t possible unless you make it past the first few weeks), but that doesn’t mean things are going to be smooth sailing from there on out. It’s that sort of thinking that lands a lot of people in trouble. They build up a type of confidence that makes them cocky — they think they’re invincible and that their drinking problem is a thing of the past. While it’s awesome to be confident with your sobriety, I constantly remind my coaching clients that they need to be comfortable in their sobriety in order for it to really stick.
I have a drinking problem. Although I’ve been sober since September 4th, 2013, I still say that I have a drinking problem because it’s something I struggle with everyday. I wouldn’t call myself an alcoholic: I didn’t drink everyday, didn’t try to hide it, I didn’t drink at work or get fired due to my drinking, and I didn’t have a physical dependency on it. But for all I know, I might just still be in denial of how serious my situation was. My drinking problem was that once I started, I never stopped when it was appropriate. I drank until I blacked out and wouldn’t stop there. I’d make terrible decisions without knowing it until I came out of my blacked out stupor. However, the worst part of my drinking was the aftermath.
I originally wrote this on Medium when it had been 500 days since I quit drinking. At the time, I found that number to be incredibly intimidating, daunting, and deceiving.
September 4th, 2013 was the first day of my current streak of sobriety. I say current streak because there were many failed attempts over that summer to get to where I am now. I never thought I’d make it to 500 days without alcohol — five HUNDRED days?!
71 weeks and 3 days