There are many things that you don’t know about until you are in a situation.
For example, I’ve spent years helping those with mental health and/or substance abuse issues. It’s been my entire career. I also drank through some of those years but I never worked while drunk.
Some of those patients gave me incredible insight to not using or drinking- facing triggers and not relapsing, support from others, etc. I get it now. There are things that nobody tells you, however, about recovery. Sometimes you have to learn on your own. I’m one year and 22 days sober and I’ve learned a lot.
What have I learned?
–IDENTIFY YOUR TRIGGERS. Everyone has different things that trigger their desire to drink- in my case, stress, marriage issues, and my anxiety issues play a huge part in my drinking. Take the time to step away, gather your thoughts amd reach out if you need to.
–Get support. This may mean AA meetings(online or in person), other groups, or just finding people you can trust to talk to. I have a few people that I can talk to and it helps.
–Make a plan. I have plenty of friends that drink. They have been amazing with still inviting me out but with no pressure. In fact, one of my closest friends bought both Pepsi and Sprite so I would have something to drink while everyone else drank wine. Make a plan to leave events if you don’t feel comfortable. It is very weird to be in these situations but as my therapist told me, it takes time. Some people are never okay around alcohol after getting sober, and that’s okay. Do what works for you.
–Find new friends/hobbies. This is obvious, but I think this is key. I started meditating, writing and coloring as coping skills. Sometimes you have to find all new friends but that may be what saves you.
–Forgive yourself. This takes a lot of time and probably some tears. I did quite a few stupid things while drinking and I’ve been able to forgive myself. I had to work through some things in therapy, but it’s possible. All of us were in a different place in our minds while we drank. Now that you have a clearer minds, it’s time to forgive yourself.
Sobriety is ROUGH. It isn’t something you just work on for a couple days and you’re magically cured. I wish it was that way! It takes work- making better choices, finding new coping skills, getting support, and lots of self-care. It also means looking at yourself and making a new life plan.
I read the Big Book. I read a reflection daily. I don’t miss an appointment with my therapist. I’ve never gone to an AA meeting- that is still up for debate. I am in a few groups on Facebook, including their AA group and groups for sober moms. I’m still working on a journaling habit. This is my plan.
What’s your sober life plan?