When you’re new to sobriety, breaking into a world that is different from what you know, it can feel scary. You may not know who to talk to, or even how to talk about the way you are feeling and what is going on for you. You might feel afraid of putting yourself out there, nervous of the reaction you might get.
I remember having a friend over for a cup of tea one Saturday afternoon. It was quite rare for me to do something like that, but I was at a point where I knew things had to change, pushing myself out of my comfort zone. The thing that sticks in my mind most of all is not the fact we had a lovely afternoon, but rather the fact that I actually felt jealous of her for not needing to drink, and envious of the fact she could drink tea in the evening. Obviously, I didn’t know how she felt, it was just my observation, but I did know that I wanted to feel like that too. I wanted to feel normal for want of a better word, I just had no idea of how to get there. I didn’t know how to change, and I felt stuck.
I remember buying myself nice water bottles, thinking that if I had something pretty, I wouldn’t miss the alcohol so much in the evening, but it never worked. I found it incredibly hard to adjust the way I thought about alcohol, and although I knew it was making me ill, and affecting my mental health, I didn’t know how to kick it for good. Living without wine was a terrifying thought. In the day I’d carry my water bottle everywhere with me, thinking that if I could keep on top of my thirst then I wouldn’t think about drinking. It didn’t fix it, but it did help. In the evenings, I had a teapot, and we made making tea a bit of a ritual. Again, it didn’t fix me, but it helped.
I think the hardest thing was being alone in my thinking. I wasn’t on my own physically, because I’ve got an amazing husband and family who have stood by me through everything. The difficulty is, it’s hard for even the most well meaning of people to understand when they haven’t been there. It’s all the little things that are impossible to explain, because you don’t really even know yourself. I didn’t have a sober community at the beginning, and I wish I had, but in honesty, there weren’t many face to face groups that I felt comfortable going to, and the online community wasn’t so accessible.
Things change though, and I slowly I began to find a community of people like me. I was stunned to realise that I wasn’t the only one, that there are actually so many people in a similar situation to me. It was incredibly reassuring because I wasn’t on my own with my thoughts anymore. Sharing my story, and hearing the stories of others took away the power and the shame that I had been feeling. I can’t erase the past, but I’ve seen other people move past it, and in turn, I’ve learned to move on. I suddenly felt like I was part of something, and having the companionship, understanding and support of other people, regardless of where we all were in our journeys really helped. I don’t think it matters if you’re on day one or one thousand, we all need support, and finding my tribe has been amazing.
If you’re in recovery, don’t muddle through on your own. Reach out, make friends, get support and when you’re feeling better, give support to those who need it too. It’s empowering to be part of a movement, and one where you get to take back control of your life is pretty rewarding, so come and join us. We’d love to meet you!
Take care of yourselves,