It is becoming apparent that the phase known as “early sobriety” lasts a bit longer than you thought.
Yes, you feel tons better after 30 days. And yes, everyone says 90 or 100 days is a major turning point. In terms of…? I guess in terms of solidifying your intent. More than likely, if you continue on after 100 days, you are “on the path.” The path to where? To a happy and peaceful sober life of course!
But then what? Skip off merrily into the sunset with your nonalcoholic whatever? Proudly refill your wine rack because “it looks nice”? Get a job in a liquor store? Take off your blinders and look directly at the sun? Um. No.
It turns out you have to work to stay on the path. You know, continue self care, watch out for feelings of overwhelm, keep up your sober supports. And the path is a long one too. How long? Not sure. I’m thinking a year at least. (Maybe forever?)
And you have to be careful not to hurry too much or look for shortcuts either. Because that’s when the booze bus is likely to show up and offer you a lift. And you do not want to get on that bus. Trust me. Remember what happened last time? It was all comfy and nice at first, but then it got bumpy, you started to get carsick, and the driver wouldn’t stop, and you wanted to get off but couldn’t, and you thought you might die of misery or worse? Yeah, that.
Ok, so what are these so-called short cuts you want to avoid? Well I’m not sure exactly, but taking on too much or attempting too many changes at once appears to be one of them. You see, it turns out that goals can ruin your self esteem. What? Really? Yes, unmet goals can be very bad for your psyche. They are very disappointing, but even more importantly, they remind you of all the other times you set a goal for yourself and then failed to follow through. Like… remember the times you swore you wouldn’t drink and then you big fat went and did it anyway? Yeah. And remember how shitty you felt every time you did that? Yeah that. Don’t remind yourself of that. Because we all know where those negative feelings lead…
So does this mean you are destined to spend the remainder of the year (or, gasp, the rest of your life) traveling along a monotonous, never ending pathway where nothing ever changes? Where you can’t try new things along the way to make the trip more interesting, more enjoyable? Of course not. You see, it’s all in how you frame it. The key word is try. As in, “I’m trying out a new exercise routine.” Instead of “I’m going to be a runner.” If after you try it out, it doesn’t suit you, you can move on and try something else. You won’t have let yourself down. And you won’t get into that negative head space.
Remember Yoda? Hah! Well, Yoda said, “Do…or do not. There is no try.” Yeah, well we’re going to turn that little guy upside down and do the opposite! Because although the force may in fact be with us, we aren’t Jedi knights (Sober Warriors?) just let. And Yoda also warned against facing the dark side before your training is complete. Now there’s some good advice. (Sorry, I’m cringing too over this Yoda analogy. ☺️🙄)
So let’s complete our training. Let’s try some fun things and see how we like them. Let’s go with the flow for a while and allow this sober life to evolve naturally. And above all else, let’s stay on the path.
Happy Sober Sunday,