When I got out of prison for a drunk driving conviction three years ago, I soon realized I needed to adopt a whole new lifestyle – one where alcohol wasn’t part of the equation.
To be perfectly honest, maintaining my sobriety has been a lot harder than I expected at times. In fact, there have been some not-so-great aspects to it – mainly during the first 12-months of my recovery. In the end, however, I wouldn’t trade my sobriety and health for all the gold and jewels in the world.
Staying Sober Isn’t Easy
I love being clean and sober, but if I’m totally honest with myself, there are a few things I hated about it in those early days. Here’s a few of them:
- Where My Friends At? After I got sober, people who I’d literally known for years vanished – and I never heard from them again. Even though I knew the common interest that tied us together was now gone, their disappearance in my life still stung.
- Love Hurts My boyfriend stayed with me through my entire prison stint, but once I got out, the relationship fell apart. This was solely due to the fact that he had developed quite the drinking problem while I was away. Had I just not noticed it before? Maybe the old “me” wouldn’t have minded, but the “me” I am today does. At 32, I packed up all my things and ventured into the scary singles’ scene alone – all to protect my sobriety.
- Trying New Things With alcohol no longer in the mix, I found that bars and clubs were now out of the question. Instead, I tried to occupy myself with new, sober activities, but found that I kept reminiscing of all the wild and crazy times I had had with my friends back in the day. In the beginning, my biggest fear about sobriety was: What if I never have fun again?
- When Cravings Strike Just because you’re sober doesn’t mean you won’t still get cravings. It could be at any time of the day when something triggers me into wanting a cocktail: getting off of work, driving past a packed happy hour or even coasting by the wine aisle at the grocery store. Knowing that I’ll be hit with unexpected cravings from time to time is not only stressful, it’s also pretty irritating.
- My Life Will Never Be the Same Sometimes, when I’m feeling low, my mind will wander to what I refer to as my “past life.” When I was an attorney, made loads of money and enjoyed all the exciting nightlife southwest Florida had to offer. Looking back, life seemed to be so carefree. And not knowing any better, I took it all for granted. Now I face constant challenges and life struggles that the general public would never even have to deal with and catch myself thinking: Why can’t I just be “normal” like everybody else again?
Eye on the Prize
Despite these reasons, the feelings of negativity I have towards my sobriety are short-lived. Being sober has forced me to make some much-needed changes, which have ultimately enriched my life beyond measure.
No doubt about it – it’s been tough. But nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Through hard work and perseverance, I now have the profession, the relationship and the outlook on life I’ve always wanted. And at the end of the day, that’s more valuable to me than any stinkin’ glass of wine.
Additional Reading: 5 Things to Remember When Sobriety Doesn’t Come Easy
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