So, next Saturday the 10th July, I turn 40. FORTY. how did that even happen??
I have toyed with many ideas on what to do for my birthday, I thought about a big party, but Covid quashed that before my concerns about drinking did. Then I thought about going out dancing… oh how I miss dancing. But again Covid said no. Boo.
So what do I do when sober and wanting to have fun, but sticking with current restrictions?
Being sober doesn’t mean you lose the desire to want to take elements of previous nights out and enjoy them. It doesn’t mean that you lose the desire to dance or socialise, it doesn’t mean that you have to suddenly reside yourself to being a hermit and never leave the sanctuary of your sober cocoon you’ve created for yourself ever again.
That’s not living your life, that’s avoiding it.
The worst part is how other people think you should be, how you should socialise and what you can and can’t tolerate.
The fact is, I don’t know what my tolerances are to being in a social pub or club environment, with everyone drinking around me, I’ve not been in that situation fully yet… but I do know that I’m stronger than my addiction. I do know that I’ve worked so damn hard on myself to get and remain sober and that is my priority, BUT, I still crave to have fun. I still want to get dressed up, go to dance and laugh just like everyone else… I also know I CAN do it sober.
I am actually more fun sober… but other people don’t always understand that. Which is the hardest thing. Having others put restrictions on where they are willing to celebrate with you, and in what environment is SO tough. As an addict you constantly evaluate yourself and how you feel, you evaluate your past behaviours and the impact it had on others and you tend to put others ideas and opinions on your sobriety and your tolerances above your own inner knowing.
STOP DOING THAT.
If friends or family feel uncomfortable being in situations with you that they believe will be a trigger, that is their right to not be there.
But it is your right as a person to decide where and how you want you want to celebrate. find friends who trust you enough to join you without encouraging you to drink or who spend the evening worrying and making that the complete topic of conversation. These people exist in your life. Just don’t expect it to be every person you know and love. We hurt lots of people when in active addiction and we lose trust, we don’t need to keep apologising, but we need to respect others boundaries. Remove expectation of how you think others should feel. It makes it so much simpler.
So, I digress. I’m going to be spending my birthday having meals out, I’m also having an ‘in house‘ dance with my bestest friend as we can’t go anywhere else to do it, I’ll be visiting museums with my children and I’ll be creating new sober experiences for myself. Doing the things I want to do, with those willing to join me without my sobriety being an issue.
Don’t hang up your party shoes just yet. Just be honest with yourself, have an exit plan if it gets too much, use your sober tools when or if you get the thoughts… play it forward using facts of your past behaviour patterns, take yourself away for a breather, pray, tell someone you trust that you’re having a moment… and allow yourself to leave if you can’t overcome the desire to drink.
But remember at your core you are an ever changing being.
Who you were is not who you are now. Past behaviours do not define you, they are what you did- not who you are. We all have the power to change. We all have the power to decide we don’t want to be a certain way. And it’s truly just a case of deciding then making that decision a priority.
Go out, have fun. Choose to start living again because if you shape your future based on your past you never evolve.
Who do you choose to be??
Make a list of the things you’d like to express upon the world. Then go for it balls out. Unapologetically and with those brand new sober eyes you’ve worked hard on getting.
I choose to be honest, caring, loving, fun, happy and sober. I work every day to meet those requirements of myself, some days are better than others but that’s life. Im learning. I don’t berate myself it’s pointless. And when it comes down to it, my opinion of myself is more important than anyone else’s.
Recovery is more than putting down the drink. It’s recreating yourself in a way that’s new and improved and sometimes it’s only through our challenges that we know how that person should look. Mistakes are just that … a miss take. You’ve missed the point of something or taken something in a way that wasn’t correct. It’s not failure. Failure is when you give up and make your mistakes who you are. Don’t do that.
Make good choices. Choose yourself.