What a year of sobriety has taught me.
Wow. I can’t quite believe a year has rolled around. I turned 1 year sober on the 24th of March and it has been such a positive journey so far. I really feel that this is only the beginning of what is possible for me and for my life.
I have learned that I am not the anxious, angry, sad mess that I believed I was. I do not need to punish myself and I do not need to spend my life worrying about every single thing. I have learned that I can trust my judgement. I have learned that my feelings do not need to rule my life and dictate my actions. I can observe the chaos of life without partaking in it.
I am more patient than I believed I was and so much more accepting of myself. I know that what I am doing is enough.
The last year has been such a learning curve for me and I have grown so much as a person.
I have been spending so much more time looking after myself and learning new coping skills. I thought I would share the things that have been most helpful for me in my first year of sobriety.
1. Proper Sleep
When I first stopped drinking, I needed the extra sleep while I was detoxing. My body had been running on empty for so long and getting good quality sleep was so helpful for my mental and physical health. Before, I would have spent my evenings drinking before falling into a coma-like sleep, waking up feeling terrible. These days, I relax in the evenings, I take my time to wind down from the day with a bath. I always aim to be in bed for 10 to give me ample sleep! Being properly rested means your brain and body will function better. It really is the best daily gift you can give yourself.
2. Get Your Morning Routine Together.
Mornings used to be so stressful for me, I would wake up feeling terrible and the day would start badly. I have my morning routine nailed now thanks to sobriety! Back in my drinking days, I would reach for the water to get rid of the terrible taste in my mouth from the night before. I still reach for the water the moment I wake up because I know it is the first positive step to get my body working in the morning. I meditate, write in my journal to set myself up for the day. I eat a nutritious breakfast and take my vitamins to make sure I am fuelled properly. I have a quick stretch to gear my body up for the day and never forget to brush my teeth. These small acts of self-care mean that my mornings are the positive start to the day that I need.
3. Move Your Body
Exercise is amazing. I am constantly in awe of the things I am able to do and the high that I get from exercise is like non-other. Find something active that you enjoy doing, from running to weightlifting, there is something for everyone. The confidence you will gain, the friends you will make and the feel-good factor are reasons enough alone. Let’s not forget that exercising is good for you and is known to improve mental health.
4. Get a Therapist
This has been one of the best investments into me this past year. The work that I have been doing on my childhood trauma, unravelling the many layers of myself, has been amazing. I have been working with the amazing Dr. Soph and the safe space to work through my issues, focusing on my own healing and improvement, has been exactly what I need.
5. Practise Mindfulness & Gratitude
I was really resistant about mindfulness for a long time but the small daily practises have had a significant effect on my life and mental health. I meditate twice a day and it really helps to keep me in focus, on the moment. I also use meditation when I am feeling particularly anxious. It has also been a great tool for self-compassion ( I use this loving-kindness meditation)
As part of my journaling daily practise, I make sure I have a moment of reflection on mistakes I have made but also I make sure I note things I am grateful for in my life.
These small, daily practises have been so key in helping me be more aware of being in the moment and accepting of things in my life. As they are, right now.
6. Find Your Tribe
Finding like-minded people has been really positive for me. When I stopped drinking I was worried about how it would impact my social life. I have made some lovely new sober friends and the community on social media is so supportive and welcoming. I make the effort to attend local sober events and workshops. There is nothing better than feeling like you are a part of something. When I was drinking, I felt very lonely and it was very isolating. Knowing I am not alone in my struggles makes me feel so much better.
7. Get Professional Help
If you are really struggling to stop drinking, you may need further support. The first port of call will be your doctor, who can advise on local services available. There is no shame in seeking help. Alcohol Change is a charity who seek to educate, work to help people gain the motivation, confidence and ability to control their drinking, with less need for specialist support. They have a wealth of knowledge on their website and helpful tips.
A year can change your life.
I know that my life has improved in every single way from giving up alcohol. Imagine what you could do with more time, more money, more energy.