I made this inspirational graphic for my UnPickled Facebook page and it clearly hit home for a lot of people.
“To recover is to create a life in which numbness is no longer necessary for survival.”
For me, this meant stopping my “perfectionist hustle” – the insatiable appetite for approval, the endless busy-ness of trying (dying) to *earn* my place on this earth through achievements and accolades. It’s meant tinkering under my own hood and challenging some of my long-held beliefs that were not so much truths but misinterpreted lessons from childhood.
What have you changed about yourself and your life to make numbing unnecessary?
Please share, and then stop back to see what others have written as well.
I absolutely love the fact that I discovered this blog today! It has been so timely as I too am on day one again. I picked up a drink this past Monday and went on a 3 day bender only to leave me in bed, sick and depressed as I’ve been recouping. I tapered with beer a bit, which is why today is day one (AGAIN).
I’ve been reading a lot of the immense shame we often feel, and while I don’t wish that on anybody I am grateful to read that my experiences and feelings over all of this are not unique. I have had a lot of bad things happen due to alcohol over the past few years (lost really good jobs, friends, horrible car accident, near DUI, terrible withdrawals, empty and lost, sleeping through important events, rehab, and many more minor occurrences). The sheer fact that I flipped my car over and landed in ICU has always phased me some, but not in a normal way, in my opinion. It’s almost like it’s not real to me. This past week however, something happened that has really phased me enough to really want to go back to step one and surrender, for real this time. I was drinking (vodka) for the second day in a row and while in my backroom I fell and smacked my head HARD on my concrete fall. I have a huge bruise on my shoulder so that tells me I braced my fall somewhat. But I do have a huge lump on my forehead and my right eye is completely purple with bruising. I have been terrified all week that I sustained a worse internal head injury but I think (and pray) that I would know that by now. The first couple of days were very scary as I didn’t know if my symptoms of pain, confusion, and unclarity were from the fall or withdrawals. What really terrified me aboout this instance is that my body was not in control to keep me standing on my own two feet. I see it as a sign of God really saying you’ve GOT to surrender. He literally knocked me on my butt and gave me this sign.
I have to do this no matter how lonely I feel, how much easier it is to be stuck in my head fabricating my own world vs. facing reality…I pray and am going to work again on developing the habits I need to for success. Part of me thinks I need to go back to rehab again, but my financial situation is pretty bad and I am jobless (I needed to be in order to recover, that stress was not helping), and need to find that strength even when it’s day 20 and I’m feeling like a rock start again. Just can’t have one and need to surrender to that fact.
I love and pray for you all, perfect strangers! 🙂
Well I am back to day one. After 20 days I picked up a drink Lat night. All those lousy feeling were right in my face when I woke up this morning. No I didn’t have a hang over did not drink that much,however how much doesn’t matter I drank.
Feeling disappointed ,guilty remorseful and ashamed. When I am actively drinking I lie. Not this time I am being honest with myself and with all of you. I need to be honest if I ever hope to hang on to my sobriety .
I am so sad I fell again. What the heck is wrong with me what an ass !
OH no! I’m sorry you’re hurting. Can you look back on what was going on before you decided to drink and consider what led you there? What can you learn from this and how can inform your future efforts?
Yes I took on too much too soon in my recovery . Way over did it after my chemo . When all the festivities and reunions were over I just sort of collapsed emotionally and physically . I am an alcoholic still struggling to deal with life on life’s terms . Yesterday I lost the battle . In the future I will try to say no more often.
I’m newly sober (only day 2), but have been trying for 3 years. So I’ve had ups and downs and successes and failures along the way. I think the biggest thing for me that I have to change is the transition between work and life. I’m a serious work-a-holic. I work non-stop. I run a business, I have employees, I do everything. So at the end of the day, I guess — and I’m just starting to realize this — that I wanted to numb myself from thinking about the next task, the next to-do, to keep myself from just picking up the laptop and working all night. So I drank. — I’m slowly starting to realize that I can fill that space with other things, like cycling and walking and playing with my dogs and gardening and reading and just vegging out. — It’s a work in progress and I’m hoping to make it for the long haul this time. Thanks for sharing!
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I changed the way I deal with my emotions, especially negative ones. Negativity would send me into a tailspin, now I deal with it head on. Allows me to step back, address, diaseect, resolve and let go. I no longer carry any baggage, past or present. This keeps me open for all the good stuff just waiting to happen. What wonderful experiences I would be missing if I had not gotten sober.
Walks with my 1.5 year old granddaughter, giggling and hearing her first words. Riotous water balloon and water gun fights with my 3 year old grandson…..oh the sound of laughter, and I love yous makes me weep sometimes.
I never would have found the love of my life if my path had not changed. Life is good.
Hi Jean. It is only day 12 for me but I think the difference this time is exactly what your recent guest Robin said on The Bubble Hour (which I love btw). She stated that wine took away her “joy”. And that is exactly what happened to me. After years of drinking I began to wake up with or without a hangover feeling depressed, hopeless and joyless. It didn’t matter that I have a nice life with many blessings. I began to dread waking up in the morning. My drinking suddenly turned dark (if that makes sense) and that scared me. After 12 days sober I am already feeling so much better. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you do. I listen to The Bubble Hour during my morning run. I also enjoy reading yours everyone else’s blog. All you ladies inspire me to keep going! THANK YOU!!!
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I finally made the decision to put myself and my family before my drinking. The life I envisioned myself leading could not possibly happen had I continued on my drinking path. Today, I am 9 months pregnant with my first child and on the day I arrive home with my baby in my arms, I will be exactly a year and a half sober. Truly blessed.
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I think the biggest thing I changed was slowly establishing a new routine over time. It happened over the course of many months, but I started with going to yoga once a week. It was physical, and was an act of peace and kindness towards myself I could feel, even if it was challenging or I thought I didn’t want to go. I started going twice a week. I loved the quiet moments and all the talk about going inward to make make outward change. I loved the short meditations in the beginning and end of class. I went to therapy once a week, just to talk to someone objectively and help keep me on track. I started going to my friends lacrosse games once a week, because I used to play sports and still love to watch them. They’re fun, social, and I like being able to cheer and holler openly 🙂 I found a place to volunteer at a rescue horse farm that I love in Sundays. I helped groom and walk the horses and I like being around those animals because they are very sensitive and if I was tense and uncomfortable so were they, but if I found a way to get grounded and centered and most of all calm, I could see they responded to me much better. I met some really really cool people of all ages and backgrounds there that had nothing to do with the bar. They were up early, outdoors, and interested in the animals. I also read so many books about alcohol/addiction, and blogs like this one 🙂 having a routine, which I hated before because I thought it was boring and would rather be able to be as commitment-free as possible outside of work so I could drink at any time, has helped keep me outside, active, meeting new people and always having something to look forward to. After a while, all these things blossomed and led to other things I was interested in, new experiences and meeting other people who are wonderful and don’t even relate/think about/find necessary to include alcohol in their life. And they are HAPPY. I am realizing that I am one of those people too when I let myself be. I never thought life could be happy or exciting or cool without drinking. But now I realize that before, drinking was the only thing I did to socialize, unwind, entertain myself And try to have fun. It was included in everything. And that is ONE thing….now my life is filled with many things, and to me that’s a much fuller, way more entertaining, enriching and connected life. It has taken a long time to see this stuff and really feel this way. I felt loss at first. What do I do now feeling. I am 540 days sober, so over a year but still learning learning learning and building my routine. I am thankful I’ve made this choice, and that so many of us are fighting for ourselves to have much better lives that we all deserve! It makes me proud, and best of all, for me at least, the struggle to not drink is getting easier and easier
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I love this so much! I am 19 days sober. I have read your entire blog. Thank you for your story! I am taking this one day at a time, trying to figure out how to navigate through each day. I am feeling pretty strong and allowing myself to eat lots of fruit, ice cream, m & m’s, etc! One hard thing is I have been avoiding my mom. She’s a heavy drinker, she’s never admitted to having a problem. She’s 64 and recently went through her 4th divorce. I know she wants me to visit but I absolutely cannot be around her drinking right now. Hopefully, it will get easier and I won’t have to avoid her forever. I realize I need to sit down and discuss my feelings with her but I feel like I cannot find the right words.
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So true. And in my case it was just survival and not a well-lived life. Not at all…
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I Love this! Two and a half years sober it is so true! I am me and loving every minute.
I’m finding more every day my potential that was hidden in a bottle of wine.
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I’m still in the process of changing so it’s hard to say right now, although I can identify with the quote and the need for numbness. I don’t think I even knew that was what I was doing until I became sober. I’ve always been on a quest for constant approval, attention, positive reinforcement to feel self-worth, so that may be it. Or maybe I have just been really bad at vulnerability and asking for help, so I need relief from the pressure and stress of taking on everything alone. I don’t know what made me want to fog up my brain to the point of obliteration or what the draw was. After 4.5 months sober it seems like I’m forgetting what used to be so appealing to downing a bottle of wine in under an hour flat.
I’m almost through with Step 4 of AA which has been very emotional and eye-opening, so maybe I will gain more clarity as I move forward in my recovery!
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Also newly sober 130 day strong here. My attitude about life and how I feel about myself as a person is the biggest change I’ve made. 🙂
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I am newly sober, 103 days, and am trying to find meaning in my career/work, second half of my life. I love the quote above. I am also a designer and marketer. I would like to use my skills to reinforce the benefit of being sober for anyone who needs encouragement or the people around them to help support the newly sober…perhaps poke at the stigma that keeps others from choosing a better path.
Does anyone have any advice for me?
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Hi all, my life has changed completely!! I stopped drinking on July 5, 2015. I’m very proud I will be sober for ONE year in a few days!! Independence Day has taken on a whole new personal meaning for me. Just to be clear, in the beginning it was extremely difficult. I over ate to compensate for my alcohol cravings. I ballooned into 178 pounds. I was still content at least I wasn’t drinking. Then something click in my brain. I decided if I can kick alcohol I can take on making my whole body healthier not just my liver!! Today I am 146 pounds and alcohol free. I’m more alive each day. I jump out of bed at 6 am and enjoy every minute of every day. I use to sleep my life away. Hung over and depressed. Disgusted at what I turned myself into!! Now I love nature, yoga, family, friends and appreciate ALL that life has to offer. As the saying goes if I can do it you can do it. Just buckle up for a bumpy ride before smooth sailing!!! I can only hope and pray if you are contemplating being sober, just do it!! You will have no regrets!!! Peace
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