Coping Through The Blah, Ugly Days Without A Drink

How To Avoid "White-Knuckling It" When Trying To Stay Sober

Since becoming sober, I have found my old zest for life, while stumbling upon a renewed appreciation for its wonder. After spending so many years alone, shut off from the world, and pickling in a vodka bottle, I had forgotten its allure. I had forgotten how awe-inspiring an ordinary day can be, once the haze of a bottle was removed from my routine. 

Now, that being said, some days are easier than others. It's very difficult to constantly maintain a positive outlook on life, can we just be honest? It's helpful, oh yes, but I have yet to reach the level where I can operate daily without fear, anxiety, or worry. I would like to share about the rough days, the ones where I feel blah and uninspired, the ones where I stave off the bottle. You know, the ugly ones that never make it to the ol' FB.

They're much more common for me than it may seem, and I suspect it's because I'm newly sober and nearing my 1-year mark. I reckon my brain is still quite busy re-regulating itself after over a decade of hardcore abuse. It is on these days that I feel stagnant, stuck in space with loud static stinging my ears. No matter how far I've come nor how many great moves I'm making, I can't help but feel, at times, dull. Bored with it all. Which inevitably leads to a snowball effect of fear, anxiety, and worry. Am I doing something wrong? Why am I feeling this way? Shouldn't I be more grateful? Is it only a matter of time before I drink?

Sensing an emotional spiral, this is where I being to use my tools. I take a deep breath, ground myself, settle my mind, and work through one thought at a time. Since there's not a vodka bottle around, I'm not doing anything wrong. I'm feeling this way because I'm experiencing life without numbing, diluting, or altering it; I'm experiencing the highs, the lows, and the in-betweens. It is foreign to me, and I have a tendency to react with fear. I mustn't, however, for it nearly always leads to trouble.

As for me being more grateful, I need to flip this question and ask why I'm shaming myself? Is it because I'm scared of the thoughts I'm having, and my knee-jerk reaction is still stuck on using demeaning and energy-draining tactics? There it is, Charlie. Now, see, you're grateful you figured that out and checked two boxes. Phew.

So. The biggest issue. Is it only a matter of time before I drink? Well, that's entirely up to me. If I chose to continue to work through my tough days, acknowledging their core issues and growing stronger for it, then no, I don't suppose I'd drink. As long as I stay aware of my emotions, and use my tools to keep them wrangled, I don't suppose I'd drink. No, as long as I keep putting one foot in front of the other, as long as I stay true to myself, I don't suppose I'd drink. No, I don't want to drink. I've used that tool too many times and I've broken it. Thankfully.

It's not easy to stay in line with this type of thinking, but it's absolutely necessary, for me. I cannot allow myself to tumble into a negative headspace, engaging in self-sabotaging and dark emotions or I'll end up right back in the bottle. And, believe me, nobody wants that. So, I use my CBT, my mindfulness, my friggin mind, and I work through the day. At the end of the night, I lay down and say "thank you, please help" and I could not be more grateful that I stayed sober. See, everything comes full circle.

Try this, it's better than "white-knuckling it" and pacing your place in a tizzy, frenzied with the thought of drinking or using. I mean, I only did that for, like, 8 years, so maybe trust me on this one. Listen to some music, dance, and enjoy yourself! It'll help you stay sober!

Have fun, y'all!


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