eighteen months sober today. and definitely less anxious, both about specific bits of my life and generally. finding calmer waters at this stage of sobriety for which I am heartily thankful. feeling able to venture new things without pausing to think of all the things that could go wrong – but not being too attached to the outcome, either.

I blogged recently that I find it difficult to internalise my achievements. to that effect – and primarily for my own benefit – I’ll itemise here what I’ve achieved over the last eighteen months. by the way, I hesitated over this concept for this post. initially because I didn’t want to be seen as bragging, but I think the overarching reason is that I desperately don’t want to overwhelm anyone reading this in the early stages of sobriety. so if that is you, please note that I did not achieve all these things by day sodding seventeen. eighteen months is a long time. but if you think this might not be what you need to read or if you’ve already heard all this before then please please do skip to the bit at the end where I tell you what my present to myself will be πŸ˜‰

achievements in months 0 to 3:

  • made the effort to reach outside myself for a solution to my problem, and found Unpickled’s blog, and hence Belle’s.
  • committed to Belle’sΒ 100 day challenge
  • told my (not unsupportive but totally uncomprehending) husband that I was stopping drinking ‘for a while, as an experiment’
  • started writing this blog and commenting on other blogs
  • emailed Belle regularly during those days
  • as celebration of my first week sober signed up for my first ever half marathon
  • made direct contact with other sober warriors and found untold warmth, wisdom and acceptance
  • began talking in very vague terms about my not drinking to my family and friends
  • succeeded in staying sober for 100 days and committed toΒ the 180 day challenge

achievements in months 3 to 6:

achievements in months 6 to 12:

  • ran another half marathon
  • screwed my courage up and met other sober bloggers in real life. a huge huge breakthrough from shame for me, can’t recommend it highly enough
  • took on new responsibilities at work, well outside my comfort zone. asked others for help where necessary and dealt kindly with myself while doing so
  • talked in more detail about my not drinking to my husband, children and two close real life friends
  • succeeded in staying sober for 365 days and committed to life-long sobriety (oh wow I had a little happy shiver writing that!)

achievements in months 12 to 18:

  • ran my third half marathon and booked into another, bigger one for later in the year
  • another sober meetup, including meeting BELLE AAAAAARGHHH (she was utter bliss but I was TERRIFIED!)
  • underwent a 12 week course of therapy (which I’d sworn blind for months I didn’t need)
  • began learning meditation using the Headspace app (ditto). still going strong with it
  • organised a sober weekend away which was just THE BEST FUN EVER
  • talked about why I stopped drinkingΒ to a close family member whom I never imagined I could tell

it’s helpful to me, seeing it as one list, like that. and who knows what will happen next?! it’ll be fun to find out! going on the last few months it will be something that I currently would swear blind that I could never get into. so, it’ll be morris dancing by canal boat around the Norfolk Broads, then πŸ˜‰

as I now head towards the two year marker I am still looking around me for guidance on every new stage. if you’d like a comprehensive overview of the recovery process from someone with now over ten years sobriety, I highly recommend this very long piece by Patrick at spiritualriver, 51 things you should know about addiction recovery. Patrick is a proponent of an holistic approach to recovery and has some interesting opinions – for example that the three most effective strategies in recovery are gratitude, exercise and reaching out to help others. I’d be most interested if there’s anything he says that strikes a chord with you.

and finally yes, it’s time to shop for something to mark eighteen months sober! and those terribly nice people at Dartington Crystal have kindly designed me a beautiful cobalt blue crystal vase marked with a primrose pattern. how thoughtful of them! one is winging its way to me as we speak.

today it’s rainy, grey and blustery outside, but inside my heart it is like this:

thank you all, as ever, from the bottom of my bluebirds and rainbow filled heart, for your ongoing support, friendship and inspiration. let’s see what happens next! Prim xx

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