Lockdown brought many different experiences for people, but one thing I think we can all agree it gave us was time. Whether you were furloughed or not, everybody’s life slowed down. It was an adjustment, which took a bit of getting used to.
Extra time proved to be a wonderful thing for a lot of us. Made us look closely at what we had, what we wanted and what we could strive to achieve. A chance to re-evaluate what was important.
Increased free time highlighted troubles with home life, work life, personal development, that the speed and pressures of everyday life distracted from. And while it may have felt tough at the time, I think a lot of us are benefitting on the way out of Lockdown.
I haven’t been writing as much over the last 2 months, perhaps longer. Firstly because I didn’t feel inspired, living the same day in and out. It felt a bit mundane to put the same repetitive words on pages.
It still feels a bit the same, almost like I’m waiting for inspiration to hit me like a water balloon But while I wasn’t okay with that 2 months ago, I feel like I am now.
The first part of our sobriety is both challenging and exciting, every day is different. Everything has a new experience and with everything we do, we slowly redefine how we live our lives.
We’re creating memories we can actually remember, having conversations that we’ll take away with us and mull over, we feel feelings that were numb before. But lockdown almost put a break on that.
I questioned it over and over, but the reality is, in this climate, I just couldn’t create any more excitement and I wasn’t used to it. It was labelled as a bad thing in my head, but on reflection, I don’t think it was.
I learnt how to ‘live’ with my sobriety and ‘just be’. Not dashing from task to task, friend after friend, chatter to chatter. It was just me, my mind and my feelings. I certainly wasn’t used to that! But now I am.
During my drinking I had to be with people. If my housemates went out, 10 minutes later I left for the pub because there were people there. I didn’t strive for companionship, I needed it to feel normal.
But that’s in the past, and so is ‘scratching at the walls’ for the company. It’s weird to type this, but I’ve enjoyed being on my own. It’s allowed me to explore things I would have never dreamt I’d explore. Which brings to me onto my second point as to why I haven’t been putting pen to page.
Quite frankly… recently I’ve been too busy kicking ass. It’s like it’s gone from one end of the spectrum to the other and to be honest, I’m not so sure I was ready.
Maybe it wasn’t that I wasn’t ready, but more it took me by surprise. All of a sudden my’ to do’ list at work was long again, my weekdays filled with emails and calls. I had to plan for personal stuff around the work day instead of popping an afternoon dentist appointment in, stuff that we had almost forgotten how to do.
Now, I hear you “Well, that’s just what life was like before”… true. But, by looking inside and not relying on outside sources for recovery. By taking those forced moments and looking positively at myself, I’ve found the time to start new ventures.
So naturally, things were a bit busier than usual and on top of some worrying family news (which is now okay), recovery focus, recording podcasts, seeing family before we’re shut in again, etc. Life is busy.
But I’m loving it. Which finally brings me onto the main point of this post.
To me, while sobriety is something I worked my ass off to achieve, and continue to do, it’s not my end-all.
Sobriety to me, is the mind I didn’t have, but strived to have, for so many years. The motivation I lost, the real ambition I now have Vs the fake ambition before, the true feeling I get in my heart, the all too real fear, anxiety and exhilaration.
Sobriety has been the open-door to so many things where the door was always shut, and honestly, I question people that don’t see it that way.
Some people see getting sober as the pinnacle of achievement, and yes, while it is the best thing I ever did, it’s not the be all and end all.
I hear people rejoice in their sobriety, but then complain about life, work, people, living situations, boredom… The fact is, while you never had a hope of changing that while you were drunk, you can now.
I said this to someone not long ago, and they responded “If you can’t celebrate the fact that you’re sober and be happy and proud of yourself for that, then you must not have been in as dark a place as me”.
I mean, bloody hell! No you’re right… I just nearly drank myself to death, seized, went to rehab, lost my relationships, got into debt, nearly drove my parents to breaking point, all at 27 years old for fun?!
My point is that of course I’m fucking proud. I wake up every day and think, I’m sober. I look at myself in the mirror and think, ‘I’m a legend” (and for those that don’t know me, I’m really not a cocky person). I get in my car and everytime I think “you couldn’t have dreamt of this two years ago”. I hug my family and they say how proud they are and I tear up because I’m so grateful to have them, all those positive thoughts and to be ALIVE.
But getting sober isn’t the end of the journey, it’s just the beginning.
I love celebrating sobriety as much as any other person, but for me it’s the achievements that stand out. It’s the new and improved version of life. It’s the new outlooks I have on, well, everything.
I know it’s not easy to change all the things I said above at the ‘drop of a hat’, but you have the power, courage, and clear mind to work at changing things, beginning things, creating things, loving things and most of all being who you want to be.
You changed the thing that controlled you over anything before, you are stronger than you think, put that into crafting your future.