#1 (the most important of all) Nothing gets better by drinking/drugging/numbing out. The problem is still going to be there when you come out of the fog. You’re only delaying dealing with it, alcohol or pills certainly won’t fix it, and will likely make the situation worse. A good night’s sleep helps everything. Just keep reminding yourself “This too shall pass”.
#2 Those problems go away faster if you allow yourself to grieve and feel them. Take a day off work to have a pity party for yourself if you need to. Set an amount of time that you will let yourself be sad or bothered about something. Put on sad music and cry in a ball on the floor. I’m still not a fan of “Frielings” but I promise- when that time frame is over- the problem doesn’t bother you as much.
#3 FREEDOM. It is the most freeing feeling to be sober. You can do whatever you want to do. You can drop into a party for 1-2 hours and leave when you’re bored, and not be committed to an all nighter, which you know will result in a hangover and wasting the next day. Plus, you’re saving so much money by not having a bar tab, and you won’t get in trouble with the law!
#4 ACCOUNTABILITY. You show up for people in your life and important events. No more flaking or forgetting birthdays, calling out sick and coming up with an excuse to miss plans because you’re really hungover. There is a sense of pride and responsibility when following through with commitments. Life is more manageable too because you have more time to deal with the stuff you gotta do.
#5 CALMNESS. Pre-rehab, I was very up and down emotionally, disorganized, scatterbrained, and couldn’t concentrate or go anywhere without a bottle of Xanax on me in case I had a panic attack. All the chemicals were creating anxiety for me. In sobriety, there are no big highs or lows. I really stay even keeled and content, plus I’m comfortable in my own skin.
#6 REALNESS. My interactions are real, intimate, and mean more. I can be present and listen to people, process the information better, then remember it all too. I’ve become a deeper person and I’m better at keeping in touch with friends and family too. How many experiences, events, and interactions with people did I forget because I was wasted or blacked out?
#7 No DRAMA. When I drank, I was the definition of “loose lips sink ships”. Now, I am a trustworthy person that people confide in. You gain a filter, know to distance yourself from gossip, and keep the secrets people tell you. You don’t get in trouble for things you did in a blackout, or wake up feeling guilty or embarrassed by your behavior.
#8 You can have FUN. The definition of fun just changes. The appeal of being out at a club all night turns into joy for a morning power walk in nature, brunch with friends, getting a massage, or reading a book on the beach. Substance abuse took up a lot of time which you can now use for a new hobby, class, or my favorite- traveling. I love seeing the beauty, cultures, and history of the world.
#9 DIGNITY. I am proud of myself that I am living life on life’s terms. I accept and deal head on with whatever cards come my way. It takes a strong person to be able to do this without escaping by numbing out. I’m constantly working on myself to be a better person, have a better mental state, and try to always keep my side of the street clean- I own my shit. I cherish my sobriety above anything else.
#10 Better HEALTH. No more hangovers: comprised of nausea, puking, headaches, dehydration, depression, and shame. Bye-bye acid reflux, anxiety, liver damage, constipation, and dried out skin. There is more time for taking care of yourself (working out, meditation, beauty treatments). I used to get sick all the time and had phantom pain that I’d want to take narcotics for. Everything is cured with water and IBprofin! Plus I get a way better night’s sleep!