Dear Future Sober Friend
Updated: Apr 22
I know the pain. You’re hurting. You feel like there is no way out. You are in so much shame and pain that drinking or using drugs is the only way to cope with life. When you get drunk or high you just don’t care. You get lit and hide the pain, laughing with drinking buddies and friends into the early hours of the morning. You come to realize deep down this isn’t fun anymore. It’s work. You spend the following days picking up the pieces, trying to get your rest and your mind right but it’s a vicious cycle and roller coaster you inevitably hop on every single week and go for a wild, erratic ride. Is this what life’s all about? Living for the weekends and getting so f***ed up you need days to recover and bounce back going through ups and downs with depression, anxiety and a big feeling emptiness.
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Let me ask you a question – what scares you? Like what makes you SH*T your pants scared!? For me, that used to be thinking about never drinking again. That scared the hell out of me. Another thing that truly scared me was accepting my identity and being forthcoming with who I am. Hence the drinking cover up, it was a mask, a big furry beard to cover up authentic Sam. If you had the pleasure of knowing Blast-from-the-past Sam, you know exactly what I am talking about. Have you ever heard the phrase “Do something that scares you?” Well, I’m here to tell you that leads to the biggest reward. Ever.
This is my open letter on the topic of sobriety. It’s written for my sober friends, my friends thinking about getting sober, my friends who are fed up with being drunk, sick and tired and my friends who know someone they love that should probably be sober. There is so much hope. There is so much beauty in changing your life for the better. There is bliss and authenticity in living a life free of alcohol and drugs. Even if you want to have a drink from time to time because you can (I simply cannot, it’s either 0 drinks or 1000 drinks for me), living a lifestyle where a substance isn’t the focal point can lead to fulfillment and happiness.
The first thing I would like to say it’s hard. It’s so freaking hard to be sober. I have tried and failed several times. Before my final drink, I probably tried to stop drinking, moderate my drinking or think about quitting drinking at least 50+ times. It consumed my thoughts more than my actions. Most of the time it was just a thought. This sh*t is HARD. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done but my goodness it was worth it. The most amazing things in life do not come easy. They take a lot of work but I am here to tell you it’s worth it and so are you. Part of it is the society we live in, the people we hang around and the activities we are accustomed too. In my experience, here are some tips that can help you lean into this lifestyle. It’s been helpful for me and I’ll explain why. This advice is for those that want to dabble in the sober lifestyle. Now that I am coming on my fourth year of sobriety, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Find Like-Minded People
In my opinion, this is one of the biggest if not the BIGGEST piece to sobriety or any elevated lifestyle. You only have 1 life to live and I encourage everyone to be around those that are supportive and those that are positive. They should absolutely support your goals 100% and it’s very helpful if they have a similar lifestyle you have. Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a newly sober or thinking about getting sober individual, is it wise to hang out with the party animals or bar goers? Absolutely not. Not that they are bad people but if you want to change your lifestyle you cannot collide with a different world that is on the opposite side of the spectrum. Literally opposite. I’m not telling you to hop into an AA or a NA to meet people but meeting friends at the gym, the coffee shop, online or local communities with similar interests is a start. If you have to be alone or lonely for awhile and continue with these behaviors that is moving your life forward in the direction its going, the great people that fit into your life will come. Promise. Be patient.
Alter Your Environment
That’s a perfect transition to my next piece of advice is the environment you surround yourself in. It’s still somewhat painful to go back to my parent’s house because it brings up so many memories and wounds of drinking myself silly. Sneaking fireball for breakfast, getting in my dad’s closet to find the secret stash of crown royal and filling it up with water because he eventually had to mark how much was in there as I snuck it frequently. The places I used to party at and the houses I used to takes shots at drag up old memories but time does heal wounds. I love the house I have now as I bought it sober and live in it sober. It’s the first safe space I’ve had that I can live my new found lifestyle to the fullest. When you are evaluating your environment it’s important to understand the history or trauma that comes with the space. The places I hang out, the space I live in and where I spend my free time is completely different now than when I was drinking. Think about it. Evaluate. Adapt the setting.
This one is huge. Be honest with yourself and be honest with others. Alcohol addiction is really self-diagnosed. It’s okay to admit you have an issue with alcohol. For years (YEARS) I rationalized my behavior as ‘normal.’ Oh, I’m in college, drinking in the morning is totally normal. Oh, it’s such a nice day out, binge drinking during the day, totes okay. Oh, it’s a Monday and I’m still drunk from the weekend! I’ll call in sick have some bloody mary’s and sleep the day away. For me, the biggest indicator was I could not control how much I drank. It took control over me. Everyone’s problem and situation are different but once you are honest with yourself, you can begin to fix it and that is when life gets beautiful.
You must you must you must be honest with others. This is very scary but liberating. Some people will take it well and think it’s awesome. Others will not. And both responses are okay. This is the biggest form of self-love and self-discipline you can have! It will make you stronger and keep the ones around that are supportive and help you build even more authentic relationships with those you should have in your life.
My favorite line that I’m proud to say is, “No thank you. I don ‘t drink.”
This letter is not to cast judgement on those living a different lifestyle than I do. I am a firm believer that each person needs to live on the level that supports their happiness. This letter is to give hope to those that want this lifestyle or even a different lifestyle. Those that are struggling. Those that need to hear this and those that think there is no way out. I am proof, there is.
Your sober, supportive & empathetic friend,
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