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to me this online recovery community is an underground river that flows with wisdom, insight and humour. I have been reading some bloggers since my first day sober and really value their viewpoint from the path up ahead of me.

one such blogger is Mrs D, who has recently passed the five years sober mark. reading her realistic, effervescent writing is like opening the windows on a spring morning and letting sunshine and fresh air into a stuffy room.

this post of hers, Life in the raw, has been a huge help to me in the past few weeks, in giving me some much needed perspective. she says:

When we get to the point of change after a long period of heavy drinking we feel weak, wretched, and miserable. Our self-esteem is damaged, our self-worth is low. We stop drinking and it’s hard bloody work at first. We are so focussed on the LACK of booze in our lives. It’s hard having all that empty space where before we regularly experienced the warm, artificial ‘high’ of alcohol in our systems. We miss the drug. We grind through. Then we start to feel better, sleep better, look better, we hit a high – a pink cloud! Life is great! Our eyes get opened to what our drinking has done to our whole experience of life. We feel incredibly strong and grateful. It’s not hard resisting booze.

Then something emotional happens (because life is like that), we crash off our pink cloud and things get tough again. Physical cravings might come back. Emotional cravings come back (we feel left out, boring, emotional), we grind through, eventually we lift up again, we feel great!, then something emotional happens, things get tough again, we grind through, eventually we lift up again, we feel great!, then something emotional happens, things get tough again, we grind through, eventually we lift up again, we feel great!, then something emotional happens, things get tough again, we grind through, eventually we lift up again, we feel great!, then something emotional happens, things get tough again, we grind through, eventually we lift up again, we feel great!, then something emotional happens, things get tough again, we grind through….

Get the picture?

Welcome to life in the raw. It is up and down and up and down. This is actually what human existence is like. Who knew? I certainly didn’t until I got sober. I had no understanding of the natural ebbs and flows of life. How could I when I interrupted that natural flow of my emotional state constantly with the drug of alcohol.

The good news is the longer you are sober the natural ebbs and flows get easier to manage because;

1) the longer you go without drinking the less extreme your mood fluctuations are
2) you start to understand yourself and your moods better
3) you stop thinking that alcohol is the answer to the low phase
4) you start to develop better coping mechanisms for the low phases
5) you work out natural, effective, authentic ways to lift yourself out of a low phase
6) you worry less about the low phases because you know they will pass
7) you accept that ups and downs are normal and that everyone has them
8) you feel much more connected and at peace with yourself, other humans and life in general

I’m generalising here and obviously this is based on my perspective and experience and there will be people who don’t agree with all of this. But I wanted to type out a summary of what I understand a sober life to involve.

Life in the raw – it’s totally the life for me.

and for me, Mrs D – and for me! rising up here, this morning. 

today’s quote is from W.E.B. Du Bois, an American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author and editor. his biography on Wikipedia also makes inspiring reading.

W.E.B. Du Bois in 1918.

 

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