I let sobriety bore me so I drank

We are here again, at a familiar place where I am contemplating taking you back.
After two years believing you are toxic, I think maybe you could be different this
time because I have a better understanding of myself. You are probably
wondering why I am suddenly coming back to you…honestly it feels too hard to
be without you. When I think of you, I have all these memories of all the
spontaneous things we’ve done together and the connections we have made. You
can make me confident and fun in a group of strangers. You give me excitement
and make me want to go out and be amongst people. I miss that woman….
although even when I’m writing this I’m torn because … it was only a month ago, I
tried taking you back. But again, you took the little bit of confidence I had left
away from me. I came running back because I felt lost and needed some
excitement. I thought you would give me that spontaneous rush I was looking for.
And, for a couple of hours it did, until you left me alone to vomit and pass out.
You left me for days to drown in my own self-loathing and depression. Again, you
brought out all my fears and insecurities and I can’t even recognise myself. Then
as I start to lift myself from this bottom, I can hear you call my name, and again I
am stuck in this endless loop. 

 
 
When I wrote this letter a while ago, I was unsure if I still believed in
sobriety. I was constantly playing mental gymnastics and it was exhausting. So,
like I have done many times before I wrote a letter to alcohol so I could separate
its voice from myself. The alcohol voice can be so loud it’s hard to hear what your
true self really needs. It wasn’t until writing this reflection, that I relised I was
missing excitement in my life.

When I chose to drink alcohol that night, I wasn’t craving alcohol I was craving the excitement I thought alcohol could fulfill. Except it didn’t, because if it did why was I still sending out dozen of texts and swallowing dexys like I was eating a pack of mentos. For those who don’t know what dexys are, it is a stimulant which treats attention deficiency used for people diagnosed with ADHD and from my knowledge I do not have ADHD. Again alcohol wasn’t enough to give me the excitement I was craving, so I was bingeing on anything else that could give me the high I was looking for until it registers in my drunken haze that the high doesn’t exist and all I desperately want is to be sober again. From my experience this is usually a good time to vomit and pass out.

So if you can’t get your excitement from booze, how do you fulfil that craving because I promise you, you will have this craving during your sobriety. Pay attention because you need hear this ASAP – REAL EXCITEMENT IS GETTING YOURSELF OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE!
The concept of “comfort zone” is a familiar one because it makes us feel safe. When we are in our comfort zone, we can keep a level of confidence because we aren’t taking too many risks.
Although, at times our comfort zone can be a prison which can stop us from
missing out on the exciting things in life.

This is what can happen when we become sober, we get stuck in a life where we feel comfortable. Away from triggers, a way from any situation that doesn’t fit into our sober bubble. When the
pink cloud of sobriety wears off life can become mundane and somewhat boring.
For a lot of us who binge drink we have personality traits which are impulsive and
excitement seeking. So just because we become sober doesn’t mean those
personality traits aren’t still there, which is why it can lead to other bingeing
behaviours.

But, the wonderful part about sobriety is its excitement and spontaneity, because
you aren’t chasing a high that doesn’t exist. From my own experience if I take the
option of drinking out of the equation, life becomes magical. Social events
become more exciting, because you can have deep meaningful conversations and
create connections that are real. When you truly connect with someone it feels
exhilarating. It’s those conversations that make you laugh until your belly hurts, or
makes you want to cry because you can feel what the other person is feeling.
Sobriety allows you to be spontaneous because you can do whatever you want.
You do what your true self wants not what alcohol is telling you to do or restricting you to do.

There is so much you can experience being sober, but it does mean taking a risk and trying
activities outside of your sober comfort zone. Start by creating a sober bucket list
and start ticking them off, whether it be going on a sober holiday, going on a
sober date, or learning an new hobby. Start creating new sober memories so your
brain can relearn that real excitement is not dependent on alcohol.

5 Ways to get your sobriety confidence back!

I could give you all the tips on how to deal with triggers, so you don’t drink but realistically some of us will slip up in our sobriety and by slip ups I mean we will consciously drink. Depending if you had a good or bad night on the booze your slip up could be a one-time thing or sometimes it can take us a while to get back to our sobriety. You may even catch yourself thinking maybe sobriety isn’t for me anymore, maybe I am just a drinker now.

I want to tell you something, just because you had a drink doesn’t make you are a drinker. The problem when people slip up is they start to question their sober identity and start to seek confirmation that they are a drinker now. We are our worst critics so of course it’s easier for our egos to protect us and say well you better be honest with yourself maybe you aren’t cut out to be sober if you can’t do it 100%.

This is called a cognitive distortion which is when we seek out information that is consistent with old beliefs and ignore information which is inconsistent to this. For example, yes you had a slip up but what about all the days, months, or years that you have been sober. We all know how much work it takes to be sober, so are you just going to not appreciate everything you worked on prior to your slip up.  A similar scenario you get all distinctions on your assignments at uni and then you fail an assignment, it doesn’t mean you fail the subject because the distinctions still make up a percentage of your whole mark and so does the fail. So my biggest advice to you is don’t get stuck in the labels and remember why you are on this journey, not because you can’t drink, it’s because you want to enjoy life!


So here are 5 tips to get your sobriety confidence back!

  1. Remember you are a non-drinker. If I was a vegan and ate Macca’s chicken nuggets as a one off, would you suddenly come at me for not being a vegan even though I am vegan for 90% of the time? No! So don’t define your sobriety by your slip up!

  2. Exercise and have a sauna. Often after a slip up we feel ashamed, vulnerable and stressed because alcohol increases our stress hormone cortisol. You need your clarity and good mental health back so do some high intensity training or any form of exercise because it will decrease your cortisol which will reduce your anxiety, depression and increase your resilience. If you are struggling to even move your body have a sauna because the excessive sweating will reduce your frustration and relax your body. Saunas also help the brain release euphoric hormones. You need all the happy hormones you can get right now!

  3. Embrace the sober journey offline. Whilst there are some amazing sober accounts, social media can trigger our stress hormones and remember you want to decrease your cortisol and an adrenaline entering your body. So instead listen to sober podcasts, read books or attend a sober workshop or meeting.

  4. Go for coffee with a sober friend. A friend who won’t judge you but understands the journey you are on. You want to feel empowered to get back on the sober journey and be able to discuss what triggered you to drink. There is power in feeling connected, validated, and respected. If you don’t have a friend, you feel comfortable with, book in a therapy session. I would recommend doing both! The more you talk about it, the more you will start changing your thought patterns.

  5. Have self-compassion. I know this is a classic tip but it’s true. You are human and humans aren’t perfect. We live in a world where alcohol is easily accessible and acceptable. It can get exhausting always trying to fight against something the whole world is doing. Remember that this journey is about progress not perfection, so consolidate a list of all your strengths and all the healing work you have done. Practise mindfulness and be present in knowing you are a beautiful powerful queen but sometimes even queens can’t control the challenges life throws at us.