When you first get getting sober, you are in the fight of your life everyday to remain alcohol free.
You make a thousand decisions a day, just to stay on this side of sober.
You fight your own mind.
You are forced to learn new coping skills.
You move way out of your comfort zone.
It’s excruciating work.
For people that have been able to come out on the other side of addiction, it is what they are, and will always be, The. Most. Proud. Of.
Anyone who has been through it knows the amount of courage it takes to fight your own demons.
Your sobriety is top of mind for you at all times.
It is not however, something others will praise you for.
It has been disappointing for me to see my hard work go mostly unacknowledged.
Unless you go to AA for your chips, there are no gold stars given for sobriety.
Your drinking may have been the center of conversation, but your sobriety is not.
Your drinking might have been the hot topic of talk behind your back.
Now that you quit, there may be little to say about your alcohol free life.
You probably received lots of attention for your bad drinking behavior.
As they say, even bad press is press.
Even negative attention is attention.
You may hear crickets for feedback when you successfully complete your personal milestones.
I got sober.
30 days, 60 days, 90 days, 1 year!
No one noticed. No one celebrated. No one congratulated me.
There were no parades, no announcements, no messages, no calls, no cards, no shouting from the rooftops, no tears of pride, from anyone.
I have received very limited, if any, positive recognition for my grand efforts and daily choices to overcome addiction.
In fact, my sobriety seemed to make people feel even more uncomfortable than my drinking did.
The drinking was known and familiar.
Sober life is not.
Achieving 2+ years of sobriety is the hardest work I have ever done.
For a long time, I wanted praise.
I wanted encouragement.
I wanted acknowledgement.
I wanted approval.
The best thing happens in getting sober though.
You stop relying on the feedback of others to make you feel good.
You start to examine your people pleasing ways.
You see how that kept you in your drinking loop.
You start to give yourself praise.
You start to no longer need the whole world to agree with you.
You don’t need outward acknowledgement or celebration.
In getting sober, you learn to belong to yourself.
This is one of the greatest gifts of sobriety.
Your opinion of yourself becomes the single most important opinion.
You forgive everyone in your life for their imperfect humanness, and you give yourself gold stars.