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obormottel Monday, 05 June 2017

After the alcohol and drugs are gone, what’s next?

The path of recovery, followed closely by the gifts of sobriety, may seem like a hard sell at first.

I remember that very day when I was being asked to choose between the comforts and certainty of active addiction, or choose the great uncertainty of recovery. The foremost thought racing in through my mind at this crossroad of my life, was whether I was one of those people who could live without drugs and alcohol. I was being asked to give up my elixir of life and to find another way. This is all I have ever known! What is the other way?

I, like many, had my fair share of unfortunate circumstances. Somehow, I did not get the memo about ‘normal people’ not living their life this way. For me, there was ever enough alcohol. Life was one continuous party, rolling into one more day, month, year. Some people can drink without impunity and their lives do not fall apart. I now know that I am not one of those people.

“The whole idea of committing to sobriety is to create a life worth living”

As I look back at my formative years with the wisdom and hindsight that I have now, it is amazing to me how little insight I had about myself, specifically in regards to my emotions. Prior to recovery, I couldn’t sit with what was uncomfortable, without having to reach for something external to make me feel better. I wasn’t able to advocate for myself and lacked the skills to handle and resolve conflict with open and honest conversation. These are just a few of the very few gifts that accompany sobriety.

The whole idea of committing to sobriety is to create a life worth living; that the desire to return to your old lifestyle does not intrigue you. You stay out of love for your new life, rather than the fear of returning.

As your world becomes clearer you recognize that your worst day in sobriety is still greater than your best day in active addiction. In other words, the incentive to stay the same, has no value.

You have untapped potential that has yet to be explored, the world is alive and vibrant, you feel high naturally. Isn’t that what we are all looking for, to feel good naturally?

Here are five great reasons that keep me committed to a life of sobriety.

  1. No regrets, remorse or shame about yourself and or your behavior.
  2. Enhanced emotional, physical and spiritual health.
  3. Improved relationships across the spectrum with family, friends, and work.
  4. Passion and purpose about your life and your contribution to the world.
  5. Creativity continues to expand.

“Being in sobriety is actually becoming cool and on trend these days”

Today, life continues to be imperfect, but I have learned that there is nothing positive that will enhance any situation in my life if I continue to act out in ways that do not serve me or others. The short-term gain will never exceed the long-term consequences of a quick fix.

I have developed the ability to lean in and process what is coming up for me, as opposed to running the other way. I acknowledge what I am feeling, and reflect on what is going on for me and using my voice in a kind and respectful manner.

I have learned that emotional triggers are often associated with old history, and have very little to do with what I am experiencing today and that I don’t need to act on them. This allows me to see how the child within is still hurting from past experiences without having to react today. I honor that little girl now with compassion, kindness, and self-respect, knowing if I don’t, she can put me in harm’s way as fast as my ego will.

The path of sobriety can feel intoxicating at times which is contrary to what I imagined from a life free of substances to anesthetize my emotions. What a revolutionary concept…

Being in sobriety is actually becoming cool and on trend these days. There is nothing attractive about creating a path of destruction in every area of your life. You get to have the best life ever without artificially enhancing your experience. How epic is that?

If you are new to recovery and still struggling to stay on the path, I encourage you to see what happens when you fully commit to being the best version of yourself. For some of us, it may have to be broken down into baby steps, breathing through one minute, one hour or one day at a time.

Challenge yourself! What have you got to lose?