The Easy Path Does Not Exist
You ever hear the phrase “Nothing good comes easy.”? Well this post here is to back that sh*t up. We are all different. We all have different wants, needs & goals. Some things will come easier than others and that just depends on the person. As I write this today, I am feeling very inspired! Let me give you a little back story on where this inspo came from. So, I’ve had this blog out for about 7 months and I finally got some nitty gritty real feedback from someone I am lucky enough to call a great friend. This person gave me some of my opportunities that I can implement to tell my story a little better and really come out of my shell as to who I am as a person. As we coach and we inspire, we always need to be good students as well. This is a time where I was a soaked everything in and became the good student I needed to be. Here’s a little what she said “You always just say you did it cold turkey and then end it there. But that’s not it. Tell them how to tell people you are done drinking. How at first it sucked and you were emotional about responses that were hurtful and then how you grew into the mentality of not caring what they say. How you fought the urge to give in on the hardest days.” Well I took this feedback to heart because my good friend is destroying it in life and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without her influence and support. Side note: your crew can make or break you. Literally. Check out this post that discusses this very thing: https://www.addictionofchoice.com/post/real-life-unfollows
How to quit
Well, I actually did quit cold turkey. But my friend was right. There is so much more to it than THAT. Let’s start with the quitting part and relate that to YOUR specific life. I understand everyone reading this does not have a drinking problem or an addiction and I love that! So, think of “the quitting piece” as what is keeping you from greatness. QUIT THAT SH*T! Alcohol was the end all be all for me. It held me back from everything. Some other examples of what can hold you back: saying yes to everything and everyone, food or diet, your job you hate, being comfortable etc. Let’s all make a commitment to be a quitter today. Quit complaining. Quit accepting mediocrity. Quit accepting your damn excuses. So back to the story (still inspired FYI #jacked), I quit cold turkey and had no idea what to do. All my friends drank, my family drank (except my mom – love you! <3) and all my extra curricular involved booze, sometimes even work. I had to completely change my lifestyle, my brain, my people, my environment, everything! I gradually got vocal about it. I started with my family, close coworkers, my bosses etc. and once I had some time under my belt, I shouted it out to the Instagram universe and facebook!! Below is this shout out and first pic I posted that I, Sam Gegen, was going to live a sober life. Here is one of the toughest parts to deal with: People and their temptation and then negative backlash. This to me, was the HARDEST part of getting sober. Change f***ing scares the shi*t out of people. Other people’s growth scares the sh*t out of people as well. They don’t like it and change is hard. You have to, have to, HAVE TO STOP caring about these opinions and what other people think. It’s your life and not the naysayers. If you run your life based on others opinions, you lose. Most of the comments I received on my first sober pic were amazing! However, I got a few “wow, let me know when you are done being boring” or “yea right it won’t last” and last but not least “you’re a f***ing loser.” How do you handle this when you are single, have very little friends who are supportive and stay at home because at this stage in the sober game you are afraid to even be around alcohol (trust me, that part gets better with time)!? Let me tell you how you handle it.
How to be okay with pissing people off & adapting to your new life
Listen to me. And listen hard. My sobriety was about me and my life. It was not about anyone else. You need to be a little selfish with your goals and your happiness. I needed it and if someone couldn’t support that I wanted NOTHING to do with them. And that’s okay. The true friends, family and people in your life will support your goal. If they don’t, it’s time to eliminate them from your new life and outgrow them. “OMG Sam, that sounds so harsh!” I mean does it? You’re looking for support and guidance – why wouldn’t those that love you support you? Have a nice friendly conversation with them and tell them why this is important to you. I promise, if they are supportive, they will have your back and you will be pleasantly surprised. In the meantime, for the ones that stick around, set some boundaries. If you aren’t drinking, tell them to not invite you to drinking events and start planning sober activities. If the goal is to exercise and get in shape, plan a healthy cooking class or group workout rather than a dinner date at a restaurant. If you do upset people or piss them off, you are doing something right because you are finally being authentic. Ex. If you tell your best drinking buddy you are done drinking, they will probably not respond positively – fair warning so be prepared. You have to practice discipline, planning and put in the work. Once you get to your new lifestyle and create the habits of your new normal, you won’t think about it as much, it just becomes second nature. Give yourself some time, embrace a little loneliness and submerse yourself in your new life. This, my friends and queens, is just short term.
Managing the emotional response
It’s easy to get emotional. Especially through people trolling social media. That is why I waited to post about it after I was over 6 months sober. I wouldn’t have been able to handle the scrutiny until I was mentally stronger to do so. Words to the wise, to hear some of those tough comments, you are never really prepared for it. Let me give you some quick advice as to how to get through the emotional piece. When someone gets angry, upset or sad with you, it tends to come from insecurity and is a form of projection. I remember very vividly several times the people that had a problem with me getting sober were people that were known to have issues with alcohol as well. The first few times they tried to take me down I was sad and upset. Now, flash forward over 3 years later, I have empathy towards them. I want to help if they are struggling but also you can’t help anyone that doesn’t want to help themselves. Use this as a rule of thumb, if you have a bad ass goal or you want to be a quitter (as in quitting the negative behavior or bad habit) and someone is less than supportive of you, they may be scared of your growth, triggered because they may have an internal issue with It themselves or simply don’t want you to change and stop doing the thing that brought you closer together. Do not let it derail you. Be around people you have things in common with that fit your future. If you don’t have any of these people, go out and meet them.
Staying the course and not giving up
Right now, it’s easy for me to not give up. All I have to think about is the progress I’ve made in every aspect of my life and I am not willing to take a step backwards. I’ve found new people to be around that never knew ‘Drunk Sam’ and ya know what else!? The bad ass friends and family that were supportive of me are still in my life! That is your reminder, that the good and the ones that add value to your life will stand by your side. Period. They will even likely grow with you. They are the keepers! I haven’t had a time recently where I wanted to give up or thought about grabbing that drink but have had plenty of times in the past where the thought crossed my mind. I handled that by journaling, texting a loved one or friend, or digging deep into my soul. When you are wanting to make a huge change, having a strong support system is critical. Something that has helped me is to always look back as to why I started. Why do I want this? Then I would take myself back to depressed, hungover, unhappy Sam and that was enough to skip over the urge and desire to relapse. You constantly have to talk yourself up and say “Sam, you’re a bad ass. You got this. Continue to move forward.”
Your life is beautiful. Your life is for the taking. You have the ability to create whatever life you want. Say these words, believe them and let’s do this.
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