10 Things Ive Learned in Sobriety

The biggest things that I have learned over the past 3 years and 7 months in sobriety:

  1. I now look at my side of the street. Even in those situations where I dont find myself at any fault, there is still something that I could do better. Even if that is letting something go.
  2. Allow myself to feel. Before sobriety I would numb all my feelings. Happy, sad, angry, it didnt matter. Now, I allow myself to feel them. As much as they suck sometimes, I remind myself that one sip of alcohol will not make anything better.
  3. Self first not selfish. A major moment in my early sobriety was learning that I had been a very selfish person my entire life. I had no idea! It broke me down entirely when I realized this. I didnt want to be that person anymore. It is hard learning how to know when you are being selfish or putting yourself first. I believe I still have my moments of selfishness but today I call myself out on it. I talk to my sponsor or a friend and ask their opinion. Today, i take time to be alone with myself. This helps me feel grounded, less overwhelmed with life and more relaxed. This also helps those around me, because they will have a better version of me! I have gone from not liking to be alone at all, to longing for it some days. Just because the drink is gone doesnt mean my mind stops racing. That squirrel is still going!
  4. Judgement. Lets be honest here, everyone does it. EVERYONE. Its a quick instant thought that goes through our minds. The difference with a thought and actually being a judgmental person is what you do with that thought. I no longer let myself ponder the judgmental thought. I stop myself, and put myself in that persons shoes. I self discipline myself! It really works and I feel like I am more of an accepting person today because of this. Who am I to judge when I am not perfect either. People dont like what they dont understand, so try to understand! Have a conversation with yourself. Try to understand where that person you are judging is coming from. You will most likely end up experiencing something, or becoming friends with someone you once had judged. Funny how that works!
  5. My way is wrong. I learned that the way i was thinking was mostly wrong! I had no idea how to cope with my feelings or how to sort out my thoughts. I acted on impulse and thats all I knew until sobriety. Now, i have learned that its my higher powers way, not mine. Lets face it, my way got me to my lowest point of my life! I now know how to cope with my feelings and make good decisions that will benefit myself and others instead of acting on irrational thoughts.
  6. I am stronger than I gave myself credit for. I spent 30 years thinking I was a loser and an emotional mess. I had no confidence and no self love. When i look back on my life so far I have overcome physical and emotional abuse, I have survived heartbreak more than once, I was able to start over as a single mother, I survived being dirt poor, I put myself through collage, I started a home based business (www.mandysbeautybar.com) and the biggest one yet is I GOT SOBER. So in moments of self pity, I remind myself of how far I have come.
  7. Forgiveness. This was a big one for me. I didnt grow up in a family who knew how to forgive easily. This has taken me over 30 years to learn. To me, forgiveness would mean that what that person did to me was okay. I didnt want it to be okay and I didnt want to forget. What I have learned is forgiveness is for MYSELF. Its for me to LET GO and give it to God to deal with. We all get our judgement day and we all have to live with the shit we have done wrong.  So why carry it around when I cannot change what happened. I give it to god to deal with one day, and I let it go. Sometimes this takes me months, but eventually I let it go. This has been one of the biggest lessons I have learned in my entire life. I have actually been able to forgive people who I never in a thousand years thought I would be able to.
  8. Self Love. I cannot sit and tell you that I think im the bomb.com and im the most beautiful woman in the world because i would be lieing. But, I have learned to like myself today. That is a big turn around for me. When i removed those foggy glasses I started seeing myself for who I was. I was imperfect which is okay because we all are! I am extremely caring and compassionate, honest, funny, accepting, hard working, ambitious and a good mother! I have many faults, but they dont define who I am because im a work in progress! PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION!
  9. Im worth it. I am at a place in my life that I believe that im worth happiness. Happiness did not exist in my childhood and therefore happiness was foreign to me. Everyone who I met who was a truly happy person I believed they were fake. 3 years and 7 months ago i met a room full of happy people who were alcoholics like me. It completely changed my belief. So i started doing what they did to get sober and stay sober. Its working! And i am worth happiness, love and peace. And so are you!
  10. Acceptance. This is by far the hardest thing in life for a lot of people. To accept the things you cannot change, wow, very hard! Some days I find myself saying the Serenity Prayer multiple times. It works! Why stress or get angry over things that you have no ability to change. Its a waste of energy. I also fully accept that I am an alcoholic. I used to be ashamed and didnt want anyone to know. I now fully embrace it, I dont care who knows because i am no longer ashamed or embarrassed. I look at it as a strength because I have worked my ass off to stay sober! Just because im an alcoholic doesnt mean that I am a horrible person. I am an alcoholic and I always will be until the day I die. I cannot have one sip because my body instantly becomes addicted and my mind and body crave more and i lose the ability to control it. I am okay with that today. Being an alcoholic doesnt define who I am, its simply a part of me.