Yesterday I posted this question on Instagram:
Finish this sentence…the best part of being sober is…
It wasn’t my intention to write about this today, when I posted it on Instagram yesterday. So, it became a bit of an accidental Instagram experiment.
I woke up this morning overwhelmed by the number of comments. Comments by incredibly brave people who are in active recovery, and are connected by the common threads of discovering and living, finally, the benefits of sobriety.
Their comments have helped me make a connection between staying sober and having the motivation to do so.
Here’s some of the comments, and feel free to pop over to Instagram and leave your own, too! It’s a lengthy list that is worth the read because the obvious things we all have in common become impossible to ignore:
- Feeling free – free from the pull of alcohol. Free from it’s hold on my mind and body. Free from the guilt. Free from the shame. Free!
- I feel free, being my own sober woman
- Actually knowing why people are mad at me the next day LOL
- Feeling – whether it’s joy, sadness, pride, anger – feeling the emotions, living through them without using to numb them
- Being present for every minute of my waking day! My kids being super proud of me
- Friends and family being proud of me, waking up every morning without a hangover, and no drunk texting my exes
- Regaining my energy and health. Saving so much money. I remember almost everything!
- The clear headed confidence
- Not repeating the same mistakes and then being angry with the myself over things I felt I should be in control of, but wasn’t
- My renewed level of awareness
- Not seeing if I could top a .7 BAC
- Mental, emotional & physical health!
- Being in control of my emotions. Not feeling like every day was the end of the world and masking it with alcohol
- The clarity
- A good night’s sleep! Not waking up in the middle of the night with a nasty taste in my mouth, remorse sweeping over about “how much” then hours of anxiety about it all
- Waking up and actually enjoying life. Even the ups and downs, it’s nice to be off the hamster wheel
- Being my authentic self
- Not waking up at 3am full of regret and disgust with myself
- Never having to wake up worrying about what I said or did. I hated the mornings!
- Living a great life of peace, love and contentment
- Being honest, clear and present
- Seeing my babies with the clearest of eyes. I’m a better Mom.
- I am truly living. I am reborn. I am present. I can feel.
- Oh where to begin. I can look at myself in the mirror and feel good about what I see, not feel ashamed. I’ve been able to get my life together, start my own business and a project. Be ok without a man and the best part is having my family back in my life. There’s definitely more…
- Waking up knowing exactly what happened yesterday, no panic, and feeling clear headed to face the day
- Being in complete control of my choices, actions and words
- Being proud of myself!
- Having control and feeling healthy
And, there’s more. But what is there not to love about sobriety.
I mean, come on. That’s a pretty impressive list of benefits.
They almost all come down to freedom, feeling, clarity, control and pride.
No one said they were so happy their chances of a stroke had been slashed to a fraction of what it was, or that their outrageously high blood pressure had finally regulated (I could have listed that one, myself). No one said they were thrilled that being sober meant their liver was less fatty or that they’re now absorbing vitamins better than they did while drinking. These are obviously massive health benefits – but it’s not what helps to keep someone sober.
Everyone said that above all their freedom and reclaimed clarity were the best parts of sobriety, meaning that their drinking days left them feeling out of control, imprisoned, and blind.
I can definitely relate.
By nature, we are very impatient creatures. We drank because we wanted to feel
better numb ourselves now. We drank because we wanted to relax escape reality now.
And in sobriety – the benefits we celebrate, and that motivate us, are equally as immediate, as they should be. They give us the opportunity to start living our lives more fully right now. This minute. With each breath.
The primary, priceless benefit of sobriety as proven above is that we get a second chance at being alive.
Nelson Mandela when freed from prison after 27 years probably didn’t think about how 5 years down the road his freedom would feel that much better. He relished his freedom with each and every step, grateful for every day he was no longer a prisoner.
It’s easy to get caught up and lose sight of our why’s, and to start taking for granted the benefits of sobriety when they become less lustrous and new, and start being more everyday and ordinary. Like a child with a shiny new toy, the excitement eventually dulls and eventually it becomes just another toy.
Without noticing, it stops being that thrilling thing they always wanted and risks being forgotten altogether.
I’ll be the first to admit that in sobriety, I’m guilty of listing all my wrongs and all the horrible awful’s that drinking brought me to do. When I think of being sober, it’s far too easy to associate it with all the things I don’t do anymore, instead of thinking of sobriety and all the things I now can. It’s a sort of this-within-and-that-without sort of situation, where I can focus on what drinking took away from me – or I can think of what sobriety has given me.
Our sobriety needs to be treated better than that toy we always wanted and would have done anything to get. It can’t ever be lost in the pile of all our other desires, or grow dusty and neglected. We need to enjoy it every day, and keep it well oiled so it continues to work forever.
We need to remember, always, how badly we wanted it before we had it.
And I’ll close with one of my favourites from that Instagram list of The Best Part of Being Sober:
I am truly living. I am reborn. I am present. I can feel.
There isn’t a drink in the universe that can make me feel any better than that.