3 Years Sober - So many invaluable life lessons learned.
Do you ever want something and think to yourself there is NO WAY that I can do that! Or you envy someone else because they have something you want? See a happy couple in a happy relationship – Bull shit. See a colleague lose 50 pounds – impossible. See a classmate become a business owner of their own brand – pure luck. All of these trial and tribulations are marathons, not sprints. We are only seeing the end result and not everything that it took to get there. No one snaps their fingers and has any or all of these things. It requires work, sacrifice and perseverance. The ‘happy couple’ went through individual lonely nights, struggles, terrible blind dates and being ghosted to finally find each other after years or looking. The colleague that lost 50 pounds gets up every day at 5 am to walk 45 minutes on the treadmill and constantly turning coworkers down for happy hours and lunches because they have their eyes on their goal. And the business owner worked a full-time job and then came home to work until they went to bed and sacrificed every weekend and every evening, they have to get their business running 7 years after they first thought of the innovative idea. Good things take time. Good things take commitment and consistency. Great things take sacrifice. We tend to only view people and their accomplishments on the surface level. It’s hard to consider the depth of how these accomplishments were built and the sacrifices that come along with them. It’s now 2020 and everyone sees the world as an amazon prime type of place if you will. We want sh*t and it must come now. If it doesn’t, we give up. I encourage you to start viewing goals, success and life as a marathon, not a sprint. Sprinting is so bad for you! You stress over the process. You stress over not getting the results quickly and then tend to lose all sustainability of the small results that you did get. Then what happens? Frustration kicks in and then you quit. Take a breaattthhhheeeeee. Trust in the process and build in the right behaviors. This was something I learned throughout my sobriety journey.
Just to reference above with the picture below. I love this picture! It speaks volumes. People only tend to see the surface level of others through social media and other interactions. I won't say anymore on that but will let the picture do the talking.
I recently celebrated 3 years of sobriety! I was beyond thrilled with this accomplishment and before I posted about it, I wanted to reflect and soak it all in. I thought about where I started, the journey it took to get here and everyone I gained (or left behind). It has been quite the experience that has taught me a lot and I wouldn’t change any of it. Giving up alcohol has helped me gain everything in life I could ask for. The road was not easy. The struggle was real and now I’m here to tell you all about it. Social media and posts can be misleading. You only tend to see posts about the successful results and outcomes. What really builds success and character are the failures, the struggles, the pain and the loneliness. All the things that SUCK are great for us. All of life’s frustrations that aren’t ideal teach us the lessons that turn us into bad ass people determined to succeed. You may think I’m crazy but stay with me and I’ll explain. This post isn’t about sobriety. It’s about what I’ve learned through struggle and sacrifice. You don’t have to have a drinking problem to struggle, we all struggle and we can all overcome and learn so much from that!
Some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned and want to share are:
· Do the things that suck
· Accept your imperfections
· Own your past mistakes
· Stop apologizing
“My recovery must come first so that everything I love in life, does not have to come last.”
Do the things that suck
I have so many examples of doing things that are awful and not so fun that have produced positive results or a positive mindset shift than I can even count! Easy example is not getting a great night sleep or enough sleep but still getting up to go to the gym. After I work out, I have so much more energy and am in a better mood than if I would have skipped the gym. This I have proven with myself time and time again. My sales team can tell if I skip the gym because I’m more irritable and crankier – sorry team! <3 Knowing this I muster through workouts even when I’m tired or not feeling into it because I know the end result will turn out better than the alternative. Since this is more of a reflection piece of being over 3 years sober, let me relate it back to that journey. When I decided to give up alcohol for good, I went into complete isolation. I didn’t know how to function normally in social settings or do anything without alcohol because I was so accustomed to it for so long and a relapse wasn’t an option. I worked a ton and worked out. That’s it. I didn’t communicate with anyone really except for some family and mostly kept it to myself. How could you not become extremely lonely? I hung out with me, myself and I for months and months going through some self-discovery. I know this is extreme but it was completely necessary. I also knew in the big scheme of things this was short-term and would make me strong AF. Don’t be afraid to be alone with yourself, you learn a lot.
Accept the imperfections
I’ve always been a perfectionist. I would have launched this blog much sooner but was striving for perfection! Then I realized, I needed to stop and that it doesn’t exist. Give yourself a damn break. I used to freak out if something in my daily routine or at work or whatever doesn’t go according to the plan I have place in my head. It wasn’t until I had my AHA! moment that I was like this is stupid. Things will come up; things will go wrong, don’t let it ruin your day and don’t let emotions of these situations control you. Easier said than done, right!? It takes practice but I’ve found that this is something achievable. This is something I practice in all areas. When I fall off my diet, I accept it as a reward and then get right back to it. When I have a not so great meeting or coaching at work, I learn from it and know what to do differently the next time. No one is perfect. If you are self-aware and learn from your mistakes, you can coach yourself up to do better next time. Give yourself lenience and some wiggle room! Embrace the failures a little more openly and know that failures big or small leads to success.
Own the past mistakes
Every single person makes mistakes. I’ve made a ton of them! The best thing you can do is own them, learn from them and move on from them. When I first got sober, one of these mistakes was thinking that if I was quitting drinking, EVERYONE should quit drinking or that they all had a drinking problem. How absurd! I tried to force my sobriety on others. It came across as a know it all and utter judgement. Looking back, I feel bad about how I may have presented myself but I was also still in the works of figuring it all out. Now after over 3 years sober, I look at it completely different. As I have already stated, my relationship with alcohol is my issue and my issue alone. I won’t judge, diagnose or suggest to anyone they need to get sober or change something in their lifestyle because that is their call, their diagnosis and their choice. However, I am here to help anyone and everyone. So, if someone does approach me about it, I will absolutely support what they need but I will not go out of my way to insinuate or cast judgement. I see young people and others get freshly sober and go down this same path as it’s pretty common but it’s something you learn to handle differently through time and maturity. If you take ownership of your life and your mistakes, that will push you in the right direction. I promise.
Stop it. Please stop it now. First, this is YOUR life. I’m not telling you to be a jack ass but if you don’t want to do something, eat something or drink something – just kindly say no. And if someone is rude be a jackass – there is nothing wrong with boundaries. Best advice is to keep calm and take the kind, polite route. This is something I learned to do for a while now but as time progressed I approach it differently. I used to be aggressive with the no’s because to an extent it would offend me. Example, someone may offer me a drink and I would be like ‘Um no I’m sober and quit” and often felt disrespected. Now I simply say “No thanks, I’m good.” Why the shift? Because first, my relationship with alcohol is no one’s issue but Sam’s. Second, not everyone knows or should know my journey or that I’m sober. That is a ridiculous expectation! With time in sobriety and longevity, I’ve felt myself chill out a little bit more. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still super type A but I will celebrate this small win. If you know me in real life, you’re probably rolling your eyes at the CHILL part LOL!!! But also, you know I’ve grown some motha lickin’ patience :)
The lessons and growth I’ve had through my 3+ year sobriety journey is invaluable. To reference what I said at the beginning of this post, this journey was and will be a marathon. I had to go through some sprints to get there but I’m in this for the long haul. This journey has been so impactful to me and my growth. It’s taught me to be more compassionate to others as you never know what they are going through. It’s taught me to seek first to understand. And it’s taught me to live my life unapologetically and do what’s best for my mental and physical health. I’ve learned that by making those choices, the people that love me and the people that fit best with my future stay around or come into my life. I’ve learned to be more patient and let people and opportunities sprinkle into my new lifestyle as I continue to better myself and build a future that brings happiness. After over 3 years of sobriety, I can finally say I am happy, I am loved and I am worthy of all the things I at one point didn’t think I deserve.
Grateful. Blessed. Optimistic. Humbled.
What do you want to hear? Health hacks? Financial advice? Sober stories and lessons? Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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