My last drink was on 23rd May 2016, today I am 1000 days sober.
To put that into context, in that time the world has gained 361481000 babies, celebrated 20 fashion weeks and Ted has napped for around 17,000 hours.
It got me thinking about what I have gained in the last 1000 days, what has giving up this one thing in my life, the thing that was the most important to me, the thing that ruled and controlled me for so many years, what has giving up this one thing helped me gain? The list is a long one, so grab a cuppa and if you are intrigued about what a sober life can give you – read on.
Self love and respect.
Something I never had when I was drinking.
In sobriety I have learnt to love and respect my body, my mind and my soul.
I no longer put myself in situations I am not comfortable with, socially, in work, in my personal life; I like myself too much to put myself through something that makes me feel uneasy or bad, physically and emotionally.
When I was drinking I had nothing vaguely resembling self-respect or dignity. I didn’t care what happened to me, externally or internally. I stayed in abusive relationships, got myself into all sorts of scrapes on nights out, took cr*p from people I really didn’t need to, all because I just didnt like myself and somehow felt that I deserved it.
I wouldnt treat my worst enemy the way I treated myself back then. The journey of sobriety has helped me to love myself unconditionally – even when I mess up, everyone deserves happiness. But it can be difficult to find the self love to allow yourself that happiness.
The ability to pause
Yep – hitting the pause button is one of the most useful tools I have gained in the last 1000 days. I was one of those stressies, the ones that get annoyed with people walking slowly in rush hour, the ones that get all angry and irate at trains being too full and queues being too long (because obviously although I hated myself entirely I also thought I was too special to queue and too important to commute with the rest of London – ahhh the paradox of addicts).
Now if I feel myself getting annoyed over something small – which does happen, not as often these days, but it does happen, usually when I’ve just realised the chicken I wanted to cook went off 2 days ago, or I’ve just sat through a 2 hour-long meeting with no outcome, or I’ve been on hold to my bank for 30 mins (literally all of this has happened within the last 48 hours), but I don’t react. I breathe. Because it’s just life.
I am not special, I still need to live life on life’s terms, I am not on hold to the bank because the universe hates me and I may aswell be dead, the chicken didn’t change its use by date just to spite me. All these things are just life, and I am part of that, and it’s bloody great isn’t it!?
Not just romantic relationships but friendships, and relationships with my family, my work colleagues. I can be present today, I can follow through on what I say I am going to, I am reliable, (but I’m not a doormat see: self-respect). The relationships I have today are mutual, they’re real and true.
I’m lucky to have amazing people in my life, people that have stood by me for years and new people I have met in recovery, I know they wouldn’t be there if I was still sucking on the straw of alcoholism. In fact I wouldn’t be here writing this if I were still sucking that straw. But I am, and those people I love so dearly are reading this and for that I am forever grateful. (I’m not crying – YOU’RE crying.)
I rediscovered so many things I used to love when I was a younger, nature, animals (especially cats named Ted), dancing, fashion, trying new things, moving, being outdoors, being upside down (seriously – if you’re feeling a little bit shitty try hanging down off the back of your sofa/bed – it gives you a good boost), having fun, sweets, being tickled, laughing, making other people laugh.
All of this I lost in my drinking years, I am so pleased I have it all back.
My sense of taste and smell
Being off my box for so many years totally lost the ability to taste and smell. I didn’t realise I lovst it until I had it back.
I used to spray perfume like my life depended on it to cover the smell of the vodka/wine/whisky/gin, whatever I had chosen to drink that day, but I never really ‘smelt’ it. Now I am so sensitive to smells and tastes – the smell of my shampoo still makes me smile, even if it is that medicated stuff for an itchy scalp…
I have an app that tells me how many drinks I haven’t drunk in 1000 days (based on my average amount – apparently I have not drunk 5,0023) and how much this means I have saved…. apparently £20,622. Now I don’t exactly know what I’ve done with that money but I can tell you it’s not gone on booze, taxis (after the booze) bags/phones/jewelery I’ve lost on day and nights on the booze or food that I don’t remember eating.
It must have gone somewhere, somewhere good I am sure because it definitely not gone into my bank account and stayed there…
Yep, that’s right, I am probably the only person in the world who gives up the drink and puts on weight. But I have and I’m cool with that. I didn’t eat when I was drinking, I was either too drunk to eat, too hung over to eat or just forgot. I couldn’t really hold a knife and fork toward the end of my drinking so eating was a bit of a chore and a pretty messy affair.
But now I love my food, and trying new cuisines – I would rather be heavier and happier than ever the way I was before.
A bit of a spiritual one this, but I have gained clairty and perspective. I feel like I know what’s important, what’s important to me in my life. I try not to stress the small stuff anymore, and I focus on the day, the present. It helps me keep things simple and not projgect. Someone once told me the acronym KISS; Keep It Simple Stupid (actually they didn’t exactly tell me – they shouted it at me across the desk of my first job but same same), I didnt get it then. But I get it now.
I like to KISS every day.
This is just a taste of what can be gained through sobriety – a really small taste. I hope it’s reached anyone who is sober curious or struggling, if you are worried about what you will loose by giving up alcohol I promise it is nothing in comparison to all you could gain.
Love Katie xxx