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Original post date: 2/2/2018
Today I celebrate 6 months (or 184 days) on my alcohol sobriety journey!
On August 2, 2017, I had my last drink of alcohol and took the plunge into sobriety.
I am loving life on the sober side. Of course, things haven’t been perfect (we JUST moved back in to our home after being displaced for a month due extensive water damage in early January) but the ups, downs, and curve balls that come our way have definitely been more manageable while sober.
Sure, I’ve had crap days. I’ve had days where I’ve cried from overwhelm. I’ve had more days than I would care to admit where my anger got the best of me. I’ve had days where I’ve been Mrs. Petty (with a capital P!) and couldn’t just let sh*t go. But, I can proudly say on all of these days, despite it all, alcohol didn’t win, I DID.
So because I love lists, here are 10 awesome things about sobriety. Enjoy!
1)Not Waking Up Hungover
This should also be reasons # 2-10. Hangovers SUCK. And dealing with raising little ones is hard enough….add the fun hangover symptoms of a pounding headache, nausea and the stomach swirls into the mix every single morning, while dealing with my 4 kids who things it’s cool to rise before the sun…. I can’t believe I tortured myself for so long.
Waking up sober has been simply amazing. I thank God (most days when I remember) for this amazing feeling of waking up sober and not dealing with the effects of imbibing too much alcohol the night before (I’m tired still, but at least I’m sober and tired.)
2)Feeling Like I Have a Fresh Start Each Day
Sober Martina never agreed with how much Imbibed Martina would drink. My subconscience and conscience were clearly at ends over it. I knew I drank way too much, but I didn’t know how to break free of the cycle (and a small part of me didn’t want to break free from it at first!)
One part of me enjoyed having a few (too many) drinks at the end of a long day, but come morning, my sober side felt awful about how much I drank. It was a shameful secret that led me to carry around a constant burden on my shoulders. Sobriety has given me the chance to remove that burden off my shoulders and realize the fresh start I have every morning.
3)Not Using Half The Day To Get Over Aforementioned Hangover
For me, this was functioning alcholism at its finest. I still did everything I needed to any given day: I took care of the kids and all that comes along with being a Stay-at-home mom…preschool drop-off, play time, story time, park time, reading time, managed to work out daily, kept the house decent, cooked meals, and taught my Pilates classes several evenings per week.
But doing all of this with a hangover for at least half of the day wasn’t fun. As moms, we don’t get to stay in bed (whether we have the Flu or a hangover!) so I just worked through it. But not having to nurse myself through a hangover anymore? Priceless!
4)Being Able To Wake Up Early, If I Choose To!
Like before my alarm clock!! And dare I say this, before the kids some mornings! Now, I admit I am not naturally an early riser. I am a night owl, and am most productive at night, long after the kids are to bed. But to have the flexibility to stay up late AND to wake up early (and not feeling like death because of alcohol) has been amazing. If I need to wake up a bit earlier than normal to finish up a blog post, or email my Pilates clients, or read my Bible app, or sneak my workout in early if I know we are going to have a super busy day, I can do that now. Without feeling like a hungover, smelly (because alcohol makes you stink!) zombie.
5) My Workouts Have Gotten Even Better
It’s no secret that I love exercise. I love to workout. I don’t feel whole if I don’t move my body in some sort of way, daily. Near the end of my drinking career, I started to enjoy exercise less and less (which is crazy for me) but I still did it anyway to “undo the effects of the night before….” the excessive alcoholic calories that I would consume, along with tons of carbs to unsuccessfully sober myself up before bed.
During my sobriety, I’ve gotten stronger and dropped some weight because I can push myself harder during my workouts…I’m no longer exercising to sweat out the previous night’s alcohol binge, and I don’t feel like I am dying because of a hangover. I’m getting back to using exercise for its endorphin-boosting health benefits (and not to earn a half bottle of rum for the evening.) and speaking of workouts…..
6) I’m Training For My first 5 Mile Race
As much as I love to workout, I ABSOLUTELY HATE RUNNING. WITH A PASSION. (Ask my college basketball coach.) But I am training for my first race, which I would have never, ever considered doing before getting sober.
I’m using the Couch to 10K app (just finished up week 3, whoop!!) and I’m also cross training with my regular workouts for strength and flexibility. I would have never done this before getting sober, and I’m slowly (slllloooowwwly) getting hooked on my running workouts.
7) I Have More Flexibility With My Time
While listening to my favorite recovery and sobriety podcast, Recovery Elevator, I found a recurring theme amongst people like myself who would drink too much. Alcohol completely consumed us. From when I would plan to have my first drink, to how much I would (try) to limit the amount I drank, to thoughts like “what if I didn’t workout in the morning and then had to plan my drinking after my evening workout to earn my liquor” or even driving home in the evening after teaching my classes, just being tempermental at times waiting for a glass of wine or a rum and diet coke to hit my lips to chill me out….yikes. Thinking about and planning for drinking alcohol completely consumed me.
Now with my sobriety, my time is way more flexible. Being able to work on my blog with a clear (alcohol free) mind once the littles are to bed has been great. Or, deciding to do yoga before bed if I need to unwind a bit. Or try to meditate. Or, just get to sleep early! Before sobriety, a late night workout would have never happened. All bets were off for getting anything accomplished in the evening once the drinks came out. Not being consumed with alcohol has given me more flexibility to do what I want, when I want.
8) I Feel More Present
Along with losing that feeling of being consumed by alcohol, I have slowly noticed that it is easier to be present for my family. Sure, there are so many times where my mind wanders off, but the amazing thing now is that I actually realize when it happens. I’m able to recognize it and reign back in my thoughts to focus on the present, which is cool. Not saying I don’t get lost in my thoughts, but I’m more aware of when my mind does wander now!
9) I’m Processing My Feelings And Emotions Better
I am an introvert, and I’d rather avoid conflict at all costs, if possible. However, on top of all this, I am also VERY quick tempered. So, before sobriety, I would bottle up my emotions, rather than sorting through them when stuff would happen, and I would use any and every excuse as a crutch to “have a drink or 3” that evening. High emotion events, both good and bad, became a reason to drink.
Now, I’ll admit I’m still quick tempered, but I realize I am able to better sort through my feelings and even deal with conflict head on as needed (trust me, some things happen that I still get so angry that I clam up about it, but I try to make sure at some point that I think/work/talk through my feelings until I feel a little better!)
10) People (Who Matter) Are Cool With Sobriety
and if they aren’t, they didn’t really matter in the first place….
This one is at the end because it doesn’t really matter what others think of you OR your sobriety journey, but being sober does bring up a bit of angst since alcohol seems to go hand in hand with every.single. social event or holiday you can think of. As a society, we drink, A LOT.
But the awesome thing I’ve found is that the people who matter to you will be cool with your sobriety! Over Christmas, I had to share with several of my family members that I was no longer drinking (and that no, I wasn’t pregnant again, ha!) and no one pressured or questioned me! I was open to discussing my sobriety more, but no one pushed the issue, made it awkward, or asked any questions, and we ended up enjoying our family holiday get-together (as usual!!) It was a big weight off my shoulders because I was anxious about how my family would perceive my sobriety, but all went well, and it wasn’t a big deal, at all.
Sobriety has been an amazing journey thus far, and I’m so, so grateful to have hit this 6 month mark. Here is to logging another day of sobriety….today, I choose NOT to drink. 🙂
P.S. If you need help beginning your sobriety or are finding it hard to stay the course, I found this book by Annie Grace helped me immensely. I read this book several times at the start of my sobriety journey to help me break the chains that alcohol had on my life.