What would you do if you were going to be successful at being sober, no matter what? How would your thinking change if you were going to be successful. If you had to. If this was your last Day 1?
We want to be efficient – quit drinking with the least amount of effort, the fewest tools, the smallest amounts of support. But since we’re over-thinkers, our thinking is circular, sloppy, round and round, wasteful of precious brain space.
“Your life is like a video game. You can see potential bombs, things advancing, that could blow up and throw you off course. Your job is to navigate them. You don’t walk right into a bomb and hope for the best. You don’t test yourself by repeatedly doing difficult or stressful things” (page 88).
I’m a person who resists taking vacations; I wait too long to set them up, feel like they take too much planning. But then once I’m looking forward to the planned vacation, I’m happy. Once I’m cleaning off my desk before we go, I’m happy. Once I’m up late finishing the last things, doing the last laundry, I’m content. At the train station, buying the falafel red cabbage feta wrap to eat on the trip, I’m excited. It’s underway. The vacation has begun. I never regret being on vacation. Sometimes the food is grim (the bakery with the ants) and sometimes it’s fantastic (the seafood stew with star anise). Sometimes it’s sunny and we walk and see new things. Other times it’s rainy and we walk and see new things.
If you’re a person who resists being sober, you wait too long to start, feeling like it’ll be too hard, you’re not ready, there’s too much else to do. But once you start, you’re happy. Once you’re reaching out and listening to audios, you’re more content. Once you realize that you don’t have to do this alone, you’re relieved. It’s underway. The sober thing has begun. You never regret being sober. Sometimes the days are crappy (crying, irritated, frustrated) and sometimes the days are fantastic (glorious, pink cloudy, proud of yourself). Some days are easy and you wake up feeling relieved that you’re sober. Other days it’s crappy and you wake up feeling relieved that you’re sober.
And so if you know you’re a person who waits too long, you can begin now. You’ll be relieved once you’re underway.
“If Day 0 is the shittiest of days—still drinking, wishing you weren’t, following sober people online, wanting what they have—then what’s the best day? There are many. Let’s start with an obvious one. Day 1 is a very good day. It’s the day that things are finally underway, it’s the day you decide that this shit has to change. You don’t know what to expect. You know that parts are going to be gigantically crappy. But you know that you can’t live on Day 0 anymore” (the book again, shameless commercial link, page 38).
Thanks Sarah – well put. It is a gamble…and we know how it’s going to end. We’re gonna lose – whether it’s saying or doing something stupid, or just bringing back those feelings of guilt and shame. So much better to play it safe and know that we’re in charge of things (as much as humanly possible) – than let the booze be in charge. When you think about it like that, who in their right mind would want to let someone or something else be in charge?
Thank you so much for this post. I did 6 months sober last year on hello sunday morning. After 6 months I started think ‘i’m not like THOSE people’ and went off on my jolly way… didn’t drink for a few more months but then a few glasses, became a bottle became a circle of violence towards myself (guilt, shame, remorse, empty promises I failed to keep.) I have NEVER felt better than during those 6 months- I felt a safety I remembered from childhood… Nothing BAD was going to happen to me through drinking or saying something or doing something. I have a 3.5 year old daughter and yesterday i picked her up from a playdate drunk. Let’s call that my ROCK BOTTOM as that is NOT me. I’m a great mom, organised and fun and full of life…. not death. Drinking 1 to me is equivalent to throwing all my cards on the table and betting my life in a game that I know I won’t win. Looking forward to following you. Kind regards, Sarah