I recently celebrated 18 months sober. Now, if you had told me 18 months ago that I would be here now I probably would have freaked out and I certainly wouldn’t have believed you! Yet, here I am and it feels bloomin’ brilliant!
So what have I discovered during these 18 months? Here’s a list of 18 things:
I won’t lie, life can be really hard as well as heart achingly beautiful and recently as a family we’ve had some tough stuff to deal with. Without alcohol in the mix I realize just how strong I am and I have faith in myself that I never really had before. Drinking made me feel small and weak and powerless, but without it I am empowered and I have discovered my inner strength.
I have deeper, more meaningful connections with my family and friends now, my relationships have improved now that I am not selfish and only focused on booze. Through my sobriety I have made connections with some wonderful people and I feel my world is opening up to new possibilities, new friendships and better, stronger connections.
My kids still annoy me
When you are a sober parent, your kids don’t suddenly become little darlings and family time is not always surrounded by a warm hazy glow of wonderfulness! Being 18 months sober hasn’t changed that. My kids do drive me mad but not as often. I am more present for them, we have clear boundaries and I am no longer unpredictable which causes upset and confusion. Yet, they still make me want to strangle them when they eat the last slice of ham and leave the empty packet in the fridge or argue about who has stolen whose socks.
I look after myself
I now take the time to put myself first and make sure all my needs are met without the guilt. I know that as mums, and especially as mums who drink, we always put ourselves last and soldier on with yet more wine. I rest when I need to, I am more aware of giving my body the nutrition it needs and make sure I check in with myself regularly. I have discovered many wonderful self care tools which keep me whole and allow me to be there for others without running myself into the ground.
I have more awareness
18 months sober means I am more aware of myself and what is going on around me. I am no longer living in a shroud of alcohol which blurs everything or blocks it all out. I am aware of what I can do and what I can’t. I am more aware of my children and husband and what is going on with them. It is as if I am seeing the world with new eyes. With awareness come transformation and every day I see beautiful transformations happening all around me, in myself, my family and the outside world. To think that I missed out on so much of that.
I have found my purpose
Being 18 months sober and working this past year of on Sober Bliss has helped me to see where my strengths lie and where my heart is truly at. I am passionate about working closely with you on a one to one basis, this is where you get the most value and experience real transformation and that brings me so much joy. My experience, skills, training and empathy along with the caregiving part of my personality allow me to do what I was meant to do which is help you to overcome your fear of quitting drinking and live the life you deserve without alcohol.
I started a business
Sober bliss came about around 6 months into my sober journey. It started as a blog and developed into a personalized coaching program because of my passion and desire to help people just like me, like you. That wouldn’t have happened had I still been drinking (obvs!)
Early mornings are magical
Don’t hate me for saying this but yes, they really are. I was never and still am not a night time person I love waking up before the rest of the world. Sometimes I stay in bed though and just savour the stillness and do some mediation or set my intentions. The big difference now it that mornings are a time of peace, hope and inspiration, not an internal hell of shame, regret and hangovers.
Returning to my role as a mum
I posted about this on social media the other day. At first I wasn’t really sure what to do with myself, my newfound energy, time, patience and clarity. Should I be running, writing a book or working with more people? But actually, living these past 18 months sober has allowed me to return to my role as a mum and is what brings me the most peace and joy, it’s like I have found the wholeness again, filling the void I used to try and fill with alcohol. And while my boys still annoy me at times (see above!) what I most needed was right there in front of me.
More energy than I knew I had
Honestly, this is a revelation. When I was still drinking, I thought it normal to wake up feeling, flat, dull, heavy and lacking in joy – didn’t everyone feel like that? Even when I wasn’t hungover I still lacked energy and zest. My life was dull, boring, small and totally meh. But, now, what a difference! Normal is so amazing! We are not meant to live with a poison in our bodies, we are supposed to have the drive, passion and energy to live our best life. I get so much done now and fall into bed naturally tired, not drunk. I used to wonder where my kids got all of their energy from – now I know!
I Find joy and comfort in the small things
A new lip balm, pancakes in the morning, a cup of tea in bed, a walk to collect pinecones, connecting with someone online or in real life or reading a story with my youngest are just some of the things I love. I thought all night house parties were the way to connect and make my kids think I was the coolest mum ever! But experiencing 18 months sober has taught me, that it is just not me, I don’t need much to make me happy, the simple small things are best, my kids need me to just be here which I am.
There is still much to deal with
Sobriety hasn’t solved all my problems and actually during these 18 months sober, new problems have come up because of it! I have a lot to deal with, but I also have a lot to be grateful for, not least to have the clarity, confidence and energy to deal with what I need to. Sobriety is just the first step in helping me create the life I want, the life I know I deserve.
I am a Tea Totaller
Yes, a teatotaler as well as a teetotaler! I am known for my love of tea, doesn’t matter which kind although Yorkshire Tea is my favourite! As I write I am down to my last 10 tea bags and I’m feeling a bit panicky. The best cup by far is the first one in the morning, ideally to be taken whilst still in bed. People think I’m weird because I drink so much tea, but they think I’m weird because I don’t drink alcohol either, I don’t mind and I’d rather be known for my love of tea than be known as the Mum who always gets wasted because she loves her beer so much.
I just feel better
No more heaviness, bloatedness, worrying weird pains or unexplained injuries. I have a lightness in my step and in and in my mind. It’s not just the extra energy but I don’t get headaches anymore or find myself hugging the toilet on Sunday mornings unable to eat anything. When I was drinking I just wanted to feel different, but I never felt better – now I do.
I have had huge issues with confidence which stems from my childhood and it is something I am still working on and will probably continue to work on. I used alcohol to make me appear more confident and strong when really it sucked everything out of me and made me feel useless. I am still quite shy, an introvert but my confidence levels have soared! Getting out of the alcohol trap helped me get out of my comfort zone and go for what I believe in. And, yes I still make mistakes but knowing that I can give up alcohol, which I once thought impossible, gives me the confidence to know and feel that I can achieve anything. I am strong and I am good enough. (And so are you!)
Freedom to be me and live my best life
I have learned that true freedom from alcohol is a life of ease, a life of peace, a life that is not controlled by alcohol, a life where I can be who I am and pursue my dreams. I feel like I have a life where I am in charge of my own destiny and am not bound by the rules and restrictions of moderation, a life where I am truly happy that I don’t need to drink anymore. And that is no small thing.
I asked for help
I certainly couldn’t have done this on my own, thankfully I had the support of my family and I slowly met other wonderful sober people who cheered me on and shared their stories. Isolation fuels addiction and when you are going through something as transformational as removing alcohol from your life, you should never and need never feel alone. Reach out, ask for help, tell you loved ones, speak to someone, share your struggles and your wins.
Life is too short to remain stuck
It really is. I have a new passion for life and there is so much that I want to do. When you drink, you are stuck in a bubble, your life gets smaller and you start to believe that there is nothing outside your tiny world of drinking and regret. At almost 43 I have achieved so much more in these 18 months that I ever did in the past 5 years, that’s a scary thought but it also fills me with inspiration – what else can I do? As Caroline Knapp said, “When you quit drinking, you stop waiting” What are you waiting for?