50 things I learned from 2 years of sobriety

In celebration of my anniversary, I wanted to write out some of the things I’ve learned over the past two years. 

  1. At first, you don’t know how to live your life without alcohol, and it seems impossible. One day without it seems like a crazy idea.
  2. The first day sober feels like a giant victory, and you can’t remember the last time you woke up without a hangover.
  3. You don’t know what to do with yourself when you have an urge to drink. I would constantly have a water bottle with me to sip out of instead.
  4. Your sense of taste and smell greatly increases.
  5. You notice every alcohol bottle, beer can, wine glass, liquor store, open drink, stocked fridge, new brewery, and spirits menu.
  6. Your emotions are all over the place because alcohol was your stress-reliever.
  7. You may not yet consider yourself an alcoholic, but just simply “taking a break.”
  8. Not everyone will understand why you stopped drinking, and they may judge you for it.
  9. The first 30 days feels like an eternity.
  10. You might be scared to go to AA meetings.
  11. You might go to meetings and hide in the back, hoping no one will notice you.
  12. You might leave the meetings ASAP so you can avoid talking with anyone.
  13. You constantly battle the idea of whether you’re an alcoholic or not.
  14. You read self-help books and gain insight that lasts about 10 minutes.
  15. You go to therapy and minimize your problems.
  16. In therapy you also realize that you’re having to start your life over. You have to change people, places, and things to keep you sober.
  17. Your family will be your biggest fans in your sobriety. Look to them when you feel afraid.
  18. Parties will be very difficult if alcohol is around. It’s okay to walk out if you have to.
  19. Some AA meetings will be very inspiring, others will be boring, but none of them are a waste of time.
  20. Waiting to get a sponsor will only make staying sober 10x harder. They are your best ally, confidant, and support system.
  21. After a few months of feeling sober, you realize how “foggy” your brain really was when you first began. Clarity sets in.
  22. Meeting with a psychiatrist is nothing to be afraid of. Taking medication can help your brain function better while you’re rebuilding a healthy mind.
  23. You will want SO MUCH SUGAR. If you didn’t have a sweet tooth before, you definitely will.
  24. You might over-indulge in caffeine, exercise, shopping, and other activities.
  25. Praying is always a good idea.
  26. People may tell you how you should feel, but you’re allowed to feel the things you do.
  27. Some people may not understand why it is difficult for you to quit drinking, when it’s “no big deal” for them. They probably don’t have an addiction.
  28. The hardest thing is to deal with life on life’s terms. Learning how to cope with uncomfortable or painful situations without alcohol is the biggest hurdle.
  29. Your friends, or people you thought were your friends, will change when you stop drinking. True friends, the ones that you should cherish, will not abandon you. They will love you and support you in becoming a healthy person again.
  30. If you’re like me, you may have quit alcohol to lose weight. Later on you realized it was a real problem that you had, even if you were functioning.
  31. There are many functioning alcoholics in the world. This means they still go to work & pay the bills, but are still excessively drinking.
  32. You don’t have to hit rock bottom to want your life to be better.
  33. If you have anxiety or depression, it will likely get worse when you stop self-medicating.
  34. You will start to evaluate all your relationships and ask yourself if they are healthy and supportive.
  35. You may feel like an outcast if you’re publicly shamed for not drinking.
  36. You’ll realize that people who judge you for not drinking usually have some sort of problem they are avoiding themselves.
  37. The more AA meetings you go to, the more you start to feel like a Veteran. It’s no longer scary and you feel safer than ever in those rooms.
  38. You will start to care more about your appearance and take better care of yourself.
  39. You will find things to keep you occupied, like coloring, crafting, music, the internet, to help ease your restlessness.
  40. People will start to ask you for advice about quitting drinking. You might find out that the last person you thought would come to you, will.
  41. You start to enjoy the simple things in life again; sunshine, walking the dogs, photography, spending time with family, etc.
  42. You wonder if people who are constantly talking about alcohol are as sick as you were.
  43. Your sleep will improve immensely.
  44. You are more productive and may want to work towards future goals.
  45. The smell of alcohol on someone’s breath will become repulsive.
  46. You will have bad days that you fight to stay sober. Sometimes it’s taking it minute by minute.
  47. You will realize how much you missed out on while you were drinking. It might make you sad, but you now have the opportunity to enjoy every moment in a day.
  48. You will want to help other people who are suffering, but sometimes you have to walk away from a cancerous situation.
  49. If you ever have a craving, or are thinking about taking a drink, remember why you started this sober journey in the first place.
  50. The problem for us was not alcohol. Alcohol was our solution. Eventually that solution stopped working and lead us to insanity. From insanity, we had to rebuild and relearn how to cope with life.
10

WITCH OF THE WOODS

some of my best and favorites of 2016. photography has pretty much been one of the only things that has kept me sane during my sobriety, so thank you all for the support. I know I’m not the most social person online, but I want you to know that by liking and supporting my creativity, each and every one of you has contributed to the success of my sobriety, and to my emotional and physical health as a whole. Theres no doubt that I will keep improving, and I’m excited to see what 2017 has in store for me. I have a feeling its going to be my year. 

ig: roux.fox

As a child I was taught to believe addicts are somehow “bad people.” However, now that I am white-knuckling through my own sobriety and recovery, I am finding these so-called “bad people” are my soulmates. Addicts are remarkable people. Addicts fight a war within themselves every single day. Addicts are stereotyped and discriminated against. Addicts are beaten down and made to believe they are weak. With all odds against them, addicts do live healthy lives in recovery, and for that, I am grateful.

there is one thing i do not see enough of on this website- support for people trying to get clean and/or stay clean. addiction has ruined my life. addiction has ruined so many lives and recovering alcoholics/addicts NEED support to continue with their recovery. so, for those of you who are working on your first 24 hours or your first week, month, year, your 2nd year or 20th- i am so proud of you. you have given yourself something incredible today. addiction is one of the most insidious diseases in the world, but today, you did not let it win. remind yourself of all of the strength you have. you are a miracle.

Dear Addict

Dear addict,
Dear alcoholic,
Dear meth head,
Dear crack whore,
Dear anyone struggling with addiction,

I am writing you this letter
in the hopes that you someday come to know
just how beautiful you really are.

I mean,
has anyone ever told you
just how much you deserve to heal?
Has anyone ever said to you,
“My God, my God,
even with those track marks,
even with those sunken, sullen eyes,
even with that tired heart,
I am so glad that you are still here.”

Dear addict,
Did you know that you are
not a bad person even when you use?
Did you know that just because
your problems are more obvious,
it does not make you any more different?

Dear addict,
Dear leech on society,
Dear open wounds,

Do not feel like an infection
just because your soul
is so inflamed.
Do not pick your skin tonight.
Do not tell yourself you are worthless
even after stealing all of your mother’s
money from her change purse.

Do not plan your funeral on the street
next to the subway because
you do not have to die tonight!
Because I know those dirty, blistered feet
just need to rest, and they can rest here.

Close your eyes.

Dear addict,
I love you.
Dear addict,
You are not your problems.
Dear addict,
I’ve seen you rise once before.
Dear addict,
You have a future.

Dear addict,
look now to the mirror.
Never have I seen a sewer rat
with such hopeful eyes before.
Never have I seen a piece of garbage
with such a loving, beautiful family.

Dear addict,
Do you see what I am seeing?

Dear human,
you are worth every single hour you will spend
recovering.
You are brighter than any star
you were born from.
You are more loved than your
aching, broken heart leads you to believe,
more than you can even imagine right now.

Dear mother, father, brother, sister, lover, best friend,
Do it for yourself.
Do it because you deserve the treatment.

Patiently yours,
Sobriety