Lucy’s Two Year Sober Anniversary Reflection
If someone had told me this time two years ago, that by removing alcohol from my life I would embark on the most gorgeous journey I could ever imagine, I would have thought that they were mad. So please know that if after you read this blog you think I am deranged, I won’t hold it against you.
But it’s true. As I sit here writing this, a few days before my two year sober anniversary, I have so many incredible things I want to share about how quitting alcohol was just the very first step to what has become the opening of a door that lead me down the path to coming home to myself and discovering that life is so full of magic when you know where to look.
Let’s start back at the beginning of my unravelling; the very first time I drank alcohol. 13 or 14 years old, I can’t remember exactly but I do remember swigging Sambuca straight from the bottle I had snuck from my parents liquor trolley with my childhood best friend. It tasted awful, but gave me a feeling of physical and immediate comfort that I hadn’t experienced before. An enveloping, warm hug. And from there, the journey of my alcohol story filled with blackouts, bruises, self-sabotage and no off-switch began which you can read more about here. I should never have been an alcohol drinker. It never worked for me.
As the years went by, I got on with life, built a career in marketing, got married and had kids. Alcohol was always around, sabotaging me left right and centre. I have so many moments in time that I look back on and wonder how they would have unfolded if alcohol wasn’t in the equation. Drinking got me into a lot of embarrassing and shameful situations. The anxiety that comes with over-drinking held me back from achieving goals and really stepping in to my full potential. It also helped me to drown out my reality so I could pretend I was happy, make poor decisions but then again drown out the uncertainty and guilt by consuming more liquid temporary contentment - essentially pressing a pause button on my life and not progressing as a human being. What kind of way is that to live?
So on December 31st 2018, I made a call to seriously sort myself out, initially to take a month off drinking which soon turned in to permanent sobriety. I pulled out a journal and set some intentions for 2019 including to quit alcohol and cigarettes, to begin to take care of myself using some basic self care techniques (mediation, exercise & nutrition) and then I put my head down, my bum up and got stuck in to recreating myself. Day by day, baby step followed by baby step.
It wasn't easy. There were so many moments where the emotions and tears came gurgling up, and not having my liquid comfort to support me meant I faced a lot of my shadows in the early months. I quickly worked out that every time I went through this motion and told my wine witch to get lost and sat with my feelings instead of drinking them away, I grew as a person. This is essential to uplevelling. Facing what hurts us and working out why, and how we can heal, learn and grow from our pain, without numbing it.
I began to read about other people's drinking stories, sobriety memoirs, books about overcoming alcohol addiction and self-help/development books. Jen and I have compiled a list of our favourite quit-lit here. I became obsessed. I couldn't believe there was a huge online community of people who were going through the same thing as me. It was extremely comforting and reassuring to discover that I wasn't alone in my struggle and in fact, this was something that a huge proportion of people battle in their lifetime.
The more I learned about alcohol, the more I knew I could never go back to it. Also the more I ventured into the self-development space, the more I knew I belonged there. At high school I had wanted to be a Psychologist and studied Psych for one year after school however my self-sabotage prevented me from finishing the degree and I instead studied a Business Degree. Dissecting rats with a hangxiety is no easy feat. Fast forward 15 years and in my alcohol free clarity, this familiar yearning to help other humans like me to feel better started to come back to me. I remember about six months into my sobriety waking up one morning and just knowing that my next step was to become a Life Coach. I completed a wonderful Life Coaching course that I had found out about from one of my new sober friends, which is where I was lucky enough to meet Jen and where Thrivalist was born.
One of the most incredible experiences of sobriety for me has been finding magic in life again. Through daily meditation I built a strong bond with my higher-self (essentially my intuition). Alcohol destroyed this connection, I lost all trust in myself and my intuition and certainly never felt connected to my own higher power when I was drinking. I can now call on her at any time to guide me, which is pretty special and powerful.
My self-care regime gradually evolved and became my new lifestyle. I began to focus on being mindful of myself and others and to practice gratitude for everything in my life. I began to laser in on all of the beauty around me and what I realised is that when I did this, the goodness began to multiply. The more beauty and goodness I see in my world and am actively grateful for, the more I feel, see and experience. This is how I have manifested my wonderful life. Allowed for synchronicities and magic to deliver so much goodness into my world including meeting Jen, building Thrivalist, my own coaching business, so many wonderful sober friendships, financial security, leaving my unhappy marriage and experiencing and feeling a daily sense of joy that I have genuinely never felt before. And not joy from anything external or any other person. A joy that is just inside me for no other reason other than just because.
Sadly, not everyone finds this magic in sobriety. Many people quit drinking and feel a sense of losing something rather than having my experience of feeling like I have gained so much. I wholeheartedly believe this comes down to those people missing one or more of these three vital components when they quit drinking. Firstly, deeply wanting this change for yourself. Not because someone else is asking or telling you to, but because you know you need to. Secondly being 100% ready, committed and willing to make some big, hard at times but necessary life changes. It’s not an easy process so daily commitment to your decision is imperative. And finally, doing ALL of the work (not cutting corners or slacking off). When it comes to this final step, there are so many different tools and techniques that have been compiled and shared through different schools of thought, programs, courses and books. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to sobriety, so it's important to try as many techniques as you can until you find what works for you. And don’t quit when it gets hard. When it's challenging, it normally means that you’re uplevelling.
My decision to stop drinking alcohol quickly evolved into a journey of recreating my own world around exactly who I wanted to be. Day by day, layer by layer, habit by habit, until my lifestyle, career and eventually the woman I saw and now see in the mirror today became the Lucy I had visualized, manifested and for so long, thought I could never become. This journey doesn't seem to end either; the better it gets, the better it keeps getting.
So, if you are reading this and thinking that you are ready to change your life but don't know where to start, try visualising the person you really truly want to become, and then write a small list of the things that need to change to start on you on your journey. Commit to your change, then chip away and allow your progress to deepen and expand as you evolve to a whole new level. Just one small step today could be a complete transformation in a relatively small time. If I can do it, so can you.