I hit the 6 month milestone last week.
4,416 hours sober.
6 months without my nightly glass, sometimes bottle of wine to help me cope with my life.
6 months without my tried and true, trusted method of numbing my pain and trying to make my problems disappear.
6 months of facing my demons on a daily basis – I consider myself a fucking badass for standing up to these bitches. They were probably the hardest entity to deal with on this journey.
6 months of sobriety, freedom and a whole lotta self love and determination.
Loss vs. Gains.
I’ve lost weight and bloating. The puffiness has gone away. Unless I eat some gluten… at which point the bloating and puffiness returns with a vengeance. I was surprised at the way the weight just melted off, but considering I was no longer drinking so many extra calories it makes sense.
I’ve learned to love my body exactly as it is. I know that if I take care of her and nourish her with good food and healthy substances, she will take care of me and together we will thrive.
I’ve gained confidence and a whole lot of body love.
In the wise words of Bif Naked, “I love myself today. Not like yesterday.”
People will come and go.
I’ve lost people that have been in my life for a long time. Friendships that revolved around partying and drinking, and usually lots of drama. People that were known to cause me anxiety and stress, naturally fell away from my life.
I’ve gained some rock solid friendships built on personal growth and self development. People that showed up in my life at the right time and who have met me exactly where I am – zero expectations, zero obligations, just loving me for me in all my perfectly imperfect essence. They’ve accepted me for who I am and who I strive to be. I’ve gained friendships that I’ve never questioned or needed validation from. Friendships that honour and support my journey through healing and self love. Relationships that understand my need for peace and space. Friends that respect my boundaries and understand that when I take space, it’s not because of them it’s because I need it to recharge and it is absolutely essential to my mental health. These people recognize my struggles and know when to step up or step back, they understand my tone in text and aren’t afraid to call me out when I am withdrawing in an unhealthy way. They show up for me, just as I do for them. I can’t even properly put into words what these relationships mean to me. I am so grateful for each and every one of them.
I’ve lost the constant nag of aches and pains, joint stiffness, and back pain. While this still comes every once in a while (back pain in particular – I mention as I JUST put my back out this week shoveling my damn driveway. Thank god for my amazing chiropractor for getting me back on my feet again), it’s fleeting and never really lingers like it used to. My body isn’t constantly in need of repair. My body is running optimally, I am taking better care of myself, my diet is clean, my body is happy. I’m creating balance within myself.
I’ve gained mental clarity, inner peace, and confidence in myself. I’ve never fully understood the power I hold. I’m just starting to brush the surface on realizing how amazing I am. It is my hope that upon uncovering my own greatness, I can then help those around me do the same. A power posse of badass women who no longer require approval or validation, who are strong and powerful and understand their worth. A tribe of women filled with peace, love and a little go fuck yourself.
I’ve lost my favourite go-to coping mechanism.
I’ve gained strength in my self and learned how strong and powerful I am on my own. I’m learning how to navigate and process my emotions and feelings in a healthy manner. This is taking time. I’ve conditioned myself over the years that feelings are gross and I need to avoid them. I’ve been told that feelings make me look weak, hormonal and make me seem “emotional,” so it’s hard to take me seriously. Wtf!?
Unlearning years of toxic conditioning takes time.
My thoughts feel focused, and I am acutely aware. My memory has improved. My sleep patterns have regulated. I wake up feeling vibrant and refreshed – most days. I used to wake up feeling hungover every single day, even on days when I wasn’t self medicating with wine or days when I only had 1 solitary little glass. I had come to accept that THAT was just what happened as we aged. Let me tell you, it is not. If we take care of our bodies and nourish ourselves properly our body will take care of us. It’s all about balance.
I am more determined to reach my goals than ever before. I’ve always had big dreams and massive goals, but I’ve always had problems reaching them.
Over the last 10 years or so, I’ve felt that I have been on the edge of something amazing, but I could never fully grasp what it was that I was supposed to do. I could see it and I could certainly feel it, but when I went to reach for it the vision would vanish and slip away, like a mirage in the desert, it would fade away whenever I got too close. I’d get frustrated and feel like I was chasing my tail and inevitably slip into depression and allow anxiety and fear to take over my life. I’d always turn to booze, believing it would help me deal with the disappointment. It made it worse and held me back.
I FINALLY feel like I am coming into myself and uncovering who I am supposed to be. It’s always been there, but I can actually SEE it now. I can feel it and I know it’s within reach.
This feeling of clarity hasn’t come easily and I am still working on it. I have a long way to go yet, but the vision is getting clearer. The clouds are shifting. The fog is starting to dissipate. I’m finally starting to truly see what I am capable of, what I am here to do – my purpose.
Aim for Progress not Perfection.
Aside from a couple accidental mouthfuls of rum in Mexico due to some communication barriers, I haven’t had any booze since a couple days before my 35th birthday in July 2018. This isn’t to say I haven’t wanted to or thought about how much I want to an almost daily basis.
When I decided to cut the booze, I really had no idea on how long I was going to do it for. I started with 30 days, but once I hit the 30 day mark, I realized I was just starting to open up and brush the surface on some of the massive amounts of inner healing and work I had to do on myself. So I kept going. I’m still uncertain if I will remain 100% alcohol free indefinitely, but I am confident that I know it will no longer control my life. I’m confident that in time I will be able to enjoy a glass of wine over dinner with friends or on special occasions. I am confident that I have worked through a lot of my attachments to it and feel as though it wouldn’t consume me like it once did.
Before I left for Mexico just after New Years this year, my friend Rachel called me and said she needed to know for sure where I stood with my sobriety and if I planned on staying sober on our trip or if I was going to allow myself a couple drinks. She said she would support my decision either way, but wanted to know my intentions ahead of time so she could stand by my initial decision if I faltered. I wasn’t sure at first, and honestly, I wasn’t expecting her to ask me so I asked for some time to think about it. I’ve had friends that would joyfully pour alcohol down my throat at the slightest onset of weakness as opposed to stand behind my decision to remain sober. Her inquiry was unexpected, but it showed me how much she cared about me and my wellbeing. After thinking about it for a while, I decided that I didn’t need to drink on vacation. I wanted to enjoy our trip and take it all in with all my senses intact. I didn’t want to miss a thing.
I am so grateful that I stuck with my decision to stay sober. I feel so much stronger and more confident in myself after getting through an all-inclusive vacation completely sober and entirely by choice.
I am so much stronger than I give myself credit for. I would have never fully realized my strength if it were not for this experience.