Today, I am two years alcohol-free! How does it feel? Well, I woke from my bed in the best mood and have been busting out random dance moves interspersed with prize-fighter-style fist pumping all morning. I guess you could say I’m feeling pretty good!
I didn’t feel this way last year. In fact, I was pretty bummed about my one-year soberversary. Friends of mine who have also quit drinking shared that they often experience similar mixed feelings. I suppose it’s normal for anniversaries of all kinds to trigger emotions from the past.
So, what’s different about this year?
I have some ideas.
How leaving social media helped my sobriety
Before I get into it, I want to talk a bit about the word sobriety. For complete transparency, I’ll share that I still use cannabis. If by your own definition, that means I’m not actually sober, I’m okay with it. I have more to say about how using cannabis — and caffeine, for that matter — doesn’t affect me like alcohol. But that’s a blog post for another time.
The many layers of addiction
Every sober person I know has their own unique story with themes that overlap mine. We all have one thing in common — alcohol wasn’t our only addiction. In my case, alcohol wasn’t even the primary addiction.
In Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions (affiliate link), Russell Brand talks about the many different behaviors and substances people form addictions to. Examples include:
- Sex and pornography
Personally, I’ve always said The Internet was my first addiction. I said this long before I admitted I was powerless over alcohol and wanted to stop.
Thinking back to the days of dial-up connections, I’d stay up until 2 am so I could monopolize my family’s phone line while they slept. This may sound normal for a teenager, but I assure you it wasn’t healthy. My sleep, nutrition, work, social life, and mental health suffered tremendously.
Aside from old-school chat rooms and message boards, other addictions/obsessions I’ve personally experienced include:
- Disordered eating
That last one… that’s another blog post on its own. I’m working on developing a healthy relationship with running.
My Internet addiction spilled over to social media
I don’t know exactly how this happened, but it makes sense. There are common threads. I never bothered to watch The Social Dilemma because by then, I’d already realized Facebook and Instagram were slippery slopes for me to play on.
Even back in 2015, research was already published showing the adverse effects these platforms have on mental health — especially the mental health of young women with body image issues.
Yeah, I read that shit. And I continued using them. For years.
I knew it was bad for me. I wanted to stop.
I would stop for a little while.
I’d start again, telling myself I’d use it in moderation.
I’d set rules. Healthy boundaries.
Then, I’d break those rules. Backslide. Binge. Hate myself.
Does this sound familiar?
This is the pattern we addicts want freedom from.
How I feel now that I’m off the sauce
I didn’t even leave social media with the intention of freeing myself from this pattern. It’s something I’m only seeing now that I’ve been off it for several months.
And that’s one of the greatest blessings of sobriety — clarity. Like, crystal.
Now, I feel like I’ve finally tuned into a clear radio signal after trying to listen through layers of static for years.
All the inner workings of my mind — thoughts, ideas, decisions, desires — come through unhindered. When I make a decision now, I know I’m listening to my inner guide, not the influence of alcohol or other people’s opinions.
Still, I think addiction is more complicated than that
When I was journaling this morning (journaling is another tool that helped me get and stay sober), I pondered why I might feel so much freer and more optimistic about my two-year anniversary than my first. Being off Instagram was only one of many reasons I came up with.
- Deeply and completely loving, accepting, and forgiving myself after repeating that phrase countless times during daily EFT tapping sessions
- Refusing to outsource my joy — last year, I got mad at my husband for not making a big deal out of my soberversary. He felt bad and bought me flowers. Now I know I can buy my own damn flowers and never need to rely on others to give me what I believe I deserve!
- Finding delicious non-alcoholic beers, wines, and cocktail mixes — I should do a post on these, too!
- Connecting with more and more badass sober folks who are living the kinds of lives I want to emulate! I love you! Xoxoxo
One of my biggest takeaways from writing this is I want to create more blog posts about addiction and recovery, haha! Please let me know if this topic hits home with you. As always, I hope you found this post helpful.
Cover photo via Pexels.