I mentioned something to Hubs the other day about cravings and my nerves around placing myself around other heavy drinkers right now. He looked at me surprised and said “Oh, I didn’t know you were still having problems with it, I thought you were fine.”

I got a little defensive (as I do) and said “It’s not a switch. It’s not like I can just turn it off after 20 years of drinking every day.”

I thought you were fine.

I am fine. Ish.

But how I wish it was as easy to turn it all off as flipping a switch, taking all my dirty habits, destructive routines and triggers and just placing them all in the dark.

Lord knows they’ve been in the spotlight long enough.

Getting rid of alcohol, and learning to become comfortable with this brave new normal, happens over time in proportion to how long it took to get to the point of addiction in the first place. Like losing weight or building muscle, growing your hair or building a home – it’s an obvious observation, but these things take time.

Yep, the cliché “Rome wasn’t built in a day” is a cliché because it’s true.

There is no fast lane, no express aisle, and definitely no switch that can be flipped to transform your life overnight.

It takes longer to repair than unravel.

It takes time to learn a new language, and even more time yet to speak it fluently and with confidence. It takes a lot of work, commitment, and practice – and an unwavering desire to learn and get there no matter what.

You’re going to say things wrong at first. You’re going to have to think about translations and verbs and tenses and slang. And you’re going to have to immerse yourself in that new language and culture, or it won’t ever actually stick.

Reading a book on how to ride a bike is useless if you never put yourself on one and figure it out for yourself. There will be falling over, there will be learning how to brake and at first there will most definitely be a lot of wobbling your way down the street.

And then one day, you just get on your bike and you’re no longer thinking about it anymore.

You just go.

One day, you open your mouth and you’re speaking that new language you’ve been learning, without premeditating each and every word. The sentences begin to form themselves, and a whole new world opens up.

Because the language has become a part of you. Sobriety and breaking free from age-old addictions and habits works exactly the same. 

There’s no switch you can flip to learn anything worth knowing, or to get anywhere worth going.

It’s more of a slow, gradual sunrise.

We burn so hard, but we shed so little light.
– Clive Barker

It’s in the long drawn out darkness of addiction where the decision to walk towards the sunrise finally happens. After who knows how long you’ve been facing West, chasing sunsets and keeping yourself in the dark, you make an about-face and choose to turn East, towards the sun and the promises that come with it.

You become tired of living (if you can call it that) blindly in the dark. 

Slowly, everything slowly becomes illuminated. At first, the outlines of new ideas and shapes start to define themselves, and you start to see new paths and opportunities you could never see at night.

There’s no more fumbling to find your way. Time slowly allows everything to become clear as everything begins to fall into the light. Shadows draw back and day breaks and your eyes begin to adjust.

If sunrises were on switches they would lose their magic. The magnificent colours that leak out over the horizon as it rises would be gone.

No one ever says “Oh the sun looks beautiful today” at 3:00 in the afternoon. It’s beauty is revered because of those early morning sunrises, at the time of day where everything is still new and uncertain, still tossed between darkness and light – and it rises anyways.

I love that this morning’s sunrise does not define itself by last night’s sunset.
– Steve Maraboli

Recovery is so very much like a sunrise.

A slow awakening. A gradual rising. A steadily growing glow of light after a long period of darkness.

Thankfully there is no switch that turns night to day, or addiction to sobriety, because the beauty is in the rising. It’s in the appreciation and gratitude that grows with the gradual clarity that gets brighter after the dawn. It’s found in the learning, the stumbling, the falling off your bike and the poorly phrased bad translations as you stutter your way through conversations in new language you’re just learning how to speak.

The cure is found in the journey, not the destination.

The sun is most beautiful when it is just waking up.

Written by SJ VanDee

Recovery Blogger. Sober AF. Photographer. Storyteller. Writer.


  1. Learning to be clear about my needs and feelings has been vital to my own recovery.
    Beings fine is usually not the same as comfortable and at ease. Being fine is dangerous. And it’s completely ok to not be
    Be clear about what you need. That is the only way your husband can support you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are a poet, my friend!

      “It’s in the long drawn out darkness of addiction where the decision to walk towards the sunrise finally happens. After who knows how long you’ve been facing West, chasing sunsets and keeping yourself in the dark, you make an about-face and choose to turn East, towards the sun and the promises that come with it.”

      love alwaz

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I love the idea of the beauty in the rising sun relating to sobriety!
    I tell my husband everything now, so he knows and can support me. At a party, if I am feeling triggered, I let him know. It doesn’t happen very often anymore, but it still does!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! 🙂 And I’m going to be you at the party over the next week, as I’m off on vacation, surrounded by triggers! I need to stop expecting people to be mind-readers and start being clear about how I’m feeling and what I need 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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