8 Things I've Learned in 8 Months Sober

1.  I am not healed.  

You would think that being sober for eight months would offer a solid lifestyle.  But, in my 7th month, I experienced many cravings.  The cravings are different now.  I crave when my body is not cooperating.  I crave when I cannot sleep.  I crave when I get sad.  I crave when I am exposed to mind altering substances.  

2.  It is important to be honest with your doctors about your addictive tendencies. 

I used to always be up for the painkillers or the anxiety relievers.  But, now, I am honest with myself.  Being honest with myself means being honest with my doctors that I should not be prescribed things like Xanax that have the propensity to be over-used. I do not need hydrocodone.  I do not need drugs actually.  I am not sick.  I am not in physical pain.  I am normal.  I never knew this.  I always thought there was something the matter with me. 

3.  AA might not be for me. 

I walked out of an AA meeting because the speaker decided to give us a "smoke break" about 25 minutes into the meeting.  I used to be a smoker.  I struggle to not smoke and the AA meetings in my area seem to promote smoking.  It is hard to walk out of meeting through the cloud of smoke, but I am getting stronger with resisting the urge.  I know in my heart that I do not want to be a smoker.  AA needs a lot of updating, in my opinion-especially when it comes to smoking and the use of prescription drugs being ok. 

4.  There are a lot of women in their late 20s to mid 40s that have fallen into an alcohol trap. 

I am saying trap instead of addiction, because not everyone wants to identify as an addict.  I hear from a lot of women that are just not happy with how much their lives revolve around drinking.  People are starting to think about their well-being and alcohol is becoming a factor in this thinking.  Lifestyle is changing for a lot of people in my age group.  And, that is not bad.

5.  It is ok to NOT be anonymous. 

I am not embarrassed that I do not drink anymore.  I am telling people the truth and it feels like a weight is lifted.  I mean, no one needs the whole truth, because that would be a long sordid story.  But, the truth is, I don't drink anymore because I had a problem with alcohol.  It is my choice.  And, it is ok.  I'm still me, alcohol-free. 

6.  Any bad day sober is better than my best day drunk.

I get feelings.  I get sad.  I am flawed.  I envy.  I cry.  I feel a million different ways all day long.  But, I've realized that even feeling bad and sadness is better than squashing the feelings with alcohol.  You use feelings to learn and grow.  You use guilt to be a better person.  You use happiness to know love.  You use your feelings to be a real person.  High five, Geppetto. 

7.  I'm scared.

I had a reader tell me that she is 36 and sometimes sits in bed reading her book at 9 o'clock and thinks, "is this all my life is now?"    I have that feeling, too.  I feel like my life has changed completely.  My life completely revolved around alcohol.  I didn't have 1 day in the past 15 years that I did not drink.  Actually, I did have a 30 day stint a few years ago.  But, that is all.  It has been a tough transition and it continues to be tough.  I think it might always be because alcohol is so socially ingrained.  I am looking for other things to enjoy.  I am being patient with myself.  I am exploring and soon I will find my tribe.  The women with a wild side-that don't drink.  

8.  I curse a lot. But, I love me, just as I am...

I really do.  I use my profanities like they are a coping skill.  I need to be more mindful of the company I am in, but sod it.  I am a fucking lady.  I am more comfortable in my own skin.  That is all that matters.  You don't like it?  Well, bless your heart.  

8th MonthAPRIL