New year, same sobriety
The New Year is special for many reasons. I love the feeling of a fresh start, a new page and a new beginning. Of course, these things are available in every moment but, it’s nice when everyone is feeling the newness too. The New Year is also when I celebrate my sobriety. This year marks 2 YEARS without alcohol. It’s still a miracle to me that I haven’t had a drop to drink in 2 years or 730 days. I will say that the second year of sobriety felt a lot trickier than my first. It actually surprised me that is was harder this year. I thought it would be the opposite. Below are the reasons my second year of sobriety is feeling a little heavier:
The pink cloud popped:
Right before I actually got sober and was still trying, I joined a sober book club with The Sober Glow. This book club only read books around sobriety and all the women were in some stage of getting sober or sober already. It was enormously helpful to have a community of women to share with about my innermost feelings around drinking and the way it was affecting my life. During one of our many chats the sober ladies commented about the idea of a pink cloud. Essentially it meant that first getting sober you feel so good and proud you’re on a cloud. They said it pops at different points for different people but, I truly didn’t think it would for me! Getting sober allowed me to feel capable and confident for the first time in my life. Suddenly the world opened up to me and anything was possible. Waking up every morning without the pit in my stomach of not remembering what I did the night before and worrying about who I pissed off meant I had a lot more space to feel good! And then like everything else, I got used to feeling capable. I got used to feeling really good all the time. The pink cloud had popped and now my sobriety felt like old news. Everyone was still drinking and I still wasn’t. Sobriety became less exciting and more normal/mundane.
Progress felt stalled
I spoke about in this post that coming back to the states has been a contraction and I definitely felt that with my sobriety. The first year, it felt like i was meeting myself anew. I felt like I grew into the woman I had always wanted to be! It was really exciting. Year 2, I am still an amazing woman of whom I am proud but, I didn’t feel like I was discovering as many new things about myself and that felt.. less exciting. Of course, I was still working on myself but it was more in the nitty gritty details and less in the huge steps I had been doing the previous year. Both are valuable but, the smaller details aren’t always as exciting.
I don’t like to admit this but, year 2 I felt a lot more temptation to use or drink. I think the reasons above might be why. I would see friends drinking, having a great time and I would hear a voice whisper to me to just have a sip. What harm could it do? Or I would think about moving to Paris and how could I not have a glass of red wine as I sat outside a cafe people watching? I read Michael Pollan’s new book on psychedelics and started day dreaming about doing mushrooms and experiencing God in a new way. I started to focus on what I felt I was missing from drinking or using and less on what I was gaining from abstaining.
Okay, now that I shared how it’s been hard, I want to share how I’ve navigated through it. I have stayed sober and continue to choose my sobriety, one day at a time. Sobriety has given me, myself and I do not want to give myself up. I also think that like in a relationship once the honeymoon phase is over, real life sets is and you realize your partner is a flawed human being just like you, things get real. Same for sobriety! Year two things get more real and while it requires more effort at times, it also means I’m developing an even deeper relationship with myself and with the Divine. Here’s what helped me stay sober this year:
12 step program
I never in a million years thought I would sit in a church basement with a bunch of strangers and utter the words, “Hi, I’m Amanda and I’m an alcoholic”. Yet, I do, every week. I found a program late into my sobriety game, 9 months into my journey. It was a revolution when I went and was surrounded by people who understood the way my brain worked. I felt like I was all alone with this nameless monster on my back and walking into a room of people dealing with the same brought me a lot of peace. I didn’t think I needed it, even after getting a lot of it and didn’t seek out any meetings while traveling or while in LA over the summer. It’s probably why year 2 felt so shaky. I’ve since made my way back and it’s been so helpful! I realize my struggles are not unique and it gives me a deeper resolve to hear others succeeding, even when the going gets tough.
I finally have a sponsor and it’s been pretty life changing. I tend to isolate and think I can do everything on my own (most addicts do) and I didn’t get a sponsor until very recently. At first, I didn’t think it would be beneficial to me because I’ve gotten by in sobriety this far without one. But, there’s just no need to white knuckle it. Having a sponsor has helped alleviate a lot of the above difficulties I was going through for most of the year and also remind me of why sobriety is so important for me. We all need help and reaching out when it’s needed is one of the bravest things we can do. I get to talk to her about my daydreams about doing mushrooms and how doing so will bring me closer to God and she reminds me over and over, I don’t need an external factor to have a spiritual journey. AMEN!
Work the steps
I just started this process because I just got my sponsor and it has been pretty powerful thus far. I really began to question my sobriety and if it was necessary and starting to work the steps has helped me shed more light on why sobriety is still important to me and for me. It’s helping find not only a deeper connection to myself but also to God/The Universe— which I was always seeking through my drug use— and that is offering me a lot of peace.
As I move into this year, I have some sobriety goals. I’ve had a mostly isolated journey with it so far and now I really want to be more of service and involved within the sober community. I plan on getting uncomfortable and putting myself out there within the sober community and show up for those within it and let them show up for me. It may sound small but, it’s huge part in maintaining sobriety- being of service to others.
Happy 2019 to you all and happy two years without drinking to me!