Today I read and watched some of my old blogs and vlogs from when I first stopped drinking and started to record my journey into a sober lifestyle.
I’m struck by how everything I was experiencing was new to me. It’s almost like I was rediscovering myself, the world and how to live. There’s an almost childlike awe, wonder and joy everytime I had a new experience sober and got through a challenging event or party without drinking.
There is a happy sense of pride and a growing self-confidence that’s evident as my journey progresses. There is one vlog where I have just done the weekly shop at a supermarket and I’m sat behind the steering wheel of my car joyfully waxing lyrical about how great it is to not get sucked into the wine aisle and how great and healthy my shopping trolley looked (although it did contain a few sugary treats!) I’m marvelling at how much I’m enjoying these experiences sober. It’s also clear, that despite some work and some challenges, I’m 100% focused on the benefits of this lifestyle change.
Today, living life sober is normal. There's no longer a sense of pride or achievement in navigating life sober because it’s easy. I don’t have to think about it. I don’t celebrate each time I do a weekly shop (that would be exhausting 😊) and I don’t bat an eyelid when I saunter up the wine aisle and pick up a couple of beers for my partner.
However, I am still celebrating life in general, though my focus is no longer explicitly on how it is to be sober. Life itself is what energises me. Realising how lucky I am to feel so connected with what’s going on around me, with the people around me, with nature unfolding around me. Realising how lucky I am to appreciate these things makes me feel good. I even think that I’m lucky to have been through what I’ve been through with booze – without that, maybe I wouldn’t be in this position of appreciation, gratitude and joy in quite the same way.
Because I have records of how it was for me when I first started, I can make comparisons. If I have forgotten what it was like, how it felt to manage my first party sober or my first holiday sober, I can read a blog and remember. This helps me to recognise how far I’ve come and how much has changed. If I ever feel down (which is rare these days) it’s enough to help lift me back up again.
The importance of keeping records of, and reflecting on, your experiences, feelings and actions can’t be stressed enough. Being able to remember how crap you felt after that last binge can help you to stay motivated to stick with it if you’re ever feeling tempted. Being able to remember how wonderful you felt when you woke up on Monday morning full of energy and motivation for the week ahead can help you to stay on track. And, being able to see how far you’ve come is a great way to remind yourself of your strength and determination. It helps you to realise that you can do anything – that you are worthy and amazing. And, this helps you simply feel good. It helps you feel positive, motivated and self-confident. All these things help carry you forward into that easy sober life and take you closer to being that version of you that you want.
Are you reflecting on and recording enough of your experiences so that you can stay strong and motivated when you need to?