Jo smiling at the camera, arms to the sides, modelling her new clothes

Imagine sober success

I had a bit of a realisation this morning.

When I first stopped drinking all those years ago, I spent some time picturing what sober success would look like for me.

I imagined the successfully sober future me waking up in the morning feeling happy, fresh, energised, and well-rested. I imagined being able to jump out of bed with no shame or guilt, feeling good about myself and ready to seize the day. I imagined myself being productive instead of sluggish first thing in the morning.

I imagined being free of anxiety and more self-confident. I pictured a version of me that was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, skipping about with energy and enthusiasm for whatever the day had to bring.

When I pictured this future, successfully sober me, she was wearing clothes that she fitted in because she was working out regularly, eating healthily and looking after herself. She was enjoying wearing her clothes and it was a treat to look forward to buy something new.

She was taking pleasure in the simplest, littlest things and gave no attention or energy to alcohol at all. It didn't matter to her whether people around her were drinking or not, she was so secure with her desire to live life happily and contentedly sober - she was making that choice freely and because she wanted a better life - that she was happy to be around alcohol, to see it, smell it, cook with it without it affecting her at all.

When I imagined this future, successfully sober me, I noticed that she was full of potential and could achieve whatever she wanted to. There were no barriers she couldn't break down. She had better relationships with the people around her and she enjoyed living life to the full.

The realisation I had this morning when I came outside to watch the sun come up and get some work done on my laptop is that I have become that person I imagined all those years ago. I've been that person for a long time but I've only just given it conscious thought and recognised it.

I get up in the morning with a spring in my step. I plan my day and I get stuck in. I'm super-productive and usually achieve what I set out to do. I'm in control of what, when and how I do things. I'm in control of my emotions and have better relationships with everyone I'm close to.

I don't give alcohol a second thought.

Alcohol is irrelevant to me. I don't think about drinking or not drinking - I've become that person for whom alcohol is a non-event - it doesn't matter what the people around me are doing, whether they're getting drunk or staying sober. It has no impact on me at all. I sometimes cook with alcohol and it has no effect on me whatsoever.

Just generally, I annoy people because I'm springing around with bags of energy and wanting to do stuff! I workout and eat nutritious food, get plenty of fresh air and feel comfortable in my clothes.

The reason for this realisation is I've just bought some new baggy trousers and a new hoody which were delivered yesterday and I LOVE wearing them. I love wearing them because they're comfortable and I feel good in them. I have, without noticing it consciously, become the person I imagined I would be when I first started my sober journey.

When you first start out living your life sober, it helps to imagine what sober success will look like, feel like or be like for you.

When you go on any journey from A to B, you need to know where the B is otherwise you'd never get there. You need to have identified your destination so you can plan how to get there. Knowing what success looks like, sounds like, feels like, tastes like, smells like helps you to move towards it. It also helps to motivate you when you're feeling challenged, worried or stressed.

When you imagine a bright, positive, happy sober future version of yourself, you give yourself the chance to make it happen.

This is a step that a lot of people miss and their sober lives might be more of struggle as a result.

Spend some time imagining your future sober success, what kind of person you will be, what you'll be doing, what you'll be feeling and thinking, how you'll look, how other people will respond to you, how your life will be different when you're living it exactly as you want to... when you do this, you're setting yourself up for sober success.

What you choose to believe about sober living becomes the sober reality you bring to life so take control of your future now and start to imagine the future sober version of you that you want to be... the one who finds it easy, the one who enjoys it, the one who feels great, the one who is liberated by it, the one who doesn't bat an eyelid when alcohol is around, the one who is in control of themselves, their actions, their decisions and their emotions.

We call this technique "positive mental rehearsal".

You're mentally rehearsing success instead of failure and therefore more likely to make success happen. Start by spending a couple of minutes each morning or each evening (or a time of day that works best for you) sitting still, breathing deeply, relaxing and bringing to mind the future successfully sober version of you. Imagine you're looking into a mirror and that mirror is reflecting back this successfully sober version of you.

The more time you spend doing this kind of positive mental rehearsal of success, the more you will bring it to life and the more motivated you will be to live yourself sober and free.

My imagined future reality has become my current reality. I've started the day bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I'm skipping about with energy and enthusiasm and I'm enjoying my new clothes.

When you imagine that future happy, healthy and successfully sober version of you, what do you notice that's different about them?


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1 comment

I’m 2 weeks sober. I’m 57 and had a bad relationship with alcohol all my adult life. For the first time I now realise what I have to gain from quitting and not feeling sorry for myself I can no longer drink. For the first time I’ve flipped the story. I’ve trawled online for stories that resonate and I found this site ! What a massive gift it has been for me. Thank You.

Stuart Bettey

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