I’ve had a bit of an epiphany moment this weekend. I’ve now been around sober people for around 7 months. I’ve chatted, laughed and in some cases cried with them and really appreciated their company.
But I’ve realised that I have done them a disservice. I have assumed that everyone is on the same journey as me. This has culminated in me being shocked when they have slipped or admitted that the sober life is just not for them.
Personal sober journey
In sobriety, we are taught that OUR sober journey is what is important. And this is completely true. We need to give ourselves permission to put our journey first. It’s imperative that we do this or we will risk failing and that is a pretty bleak option for me. I have worked hard at educating myself, blogging, talking to others. Learning about alcohol and its dangers and generally putting the work in. In the past, I didn’t do this and I relapsed. I am feeling pretty steadfast in my sobriety (today, I will never say never, that is dangerous) and I feel extremely fortunate that this is the case.
However, one of the things that I also feel is very important in becoming sober is helping others to also stay sober. Naively I assumed that everyone was at the same stage as me. People that I have met on the journey are all individuals and I think that in the euphoria of finally being free of the shackles of this horrible addiction. It is very easy to forget that not everyone is feeling as you are.
I think I have managed to bury in my own mind, how many times I went back to alcohol. How many times I was doing so well and then Mr Moderator started whispering in my ear and off I went again. Day one after day one, my poor drinking app should have sued me for whiplash as it was back and forward so much. My husband hearing me tell him yet again, that I must stop drinking in the morning, only to watch me open the wine later that day as I was going to actually start my sober journey tomorrow.
Not everyone is feeling strong today
Those thoughts are buried because I am feeling strong today, I may not be tomorrow. We have to stay aware of why we are doing this. It’s not a quick fix. And with this, I had forgotten that other people may be at that stage, where Mr Moderator, is not just whispering in their ear, he’s bloody shouting!
And so today I have promised myself that I will make sure that I view everyone’s journey as their own. I will not assume that because I am ok, everyone else is. I will check in on my sober friends and I will take notice of signs that they may be struggling. This is not me suddenly being altruistic, as this also helps me. This isn’t a journey that we can and should take alone. And by being aware of others, keep us on top of our feelings.
No one should be shocked when someone falls, we are fighting addiction, a behaviour that has been entrenched in our lives for most likely a long time. Change is hard and that is why sobriety can be hard. We have a coping mechanism that our brains have used as a go-to for such a long time and suddenly we are telling the brain that we can no longer do that. We need to find a new way of coping and that is not easy.
And with that, I promise to reach out to my sober friends as they have reached out to me. I will try never to judge and to show the compassion that they have shown me.