21 Days Later: What I Learned About Living in Sobriety

Image via Tumblr by lorenhope

At the end of 2017, there were so many changes that occurred in my life. I experienced a hard breakup, picked up a million little pieces from my apartment floor, moved away, and decided to pursue a full-time career in writing. Many people applauded my courage and resilience, and I felt good about my decision to relocate and pursue my passion.

Truth is, I did all of this, drunk.

There was absolutely nothing easy about uprooting my life of 10 years. To curb my depression, second-guessing, negative self-talk, and lack of confidence I masked my feelings with alcohol and parties. I avoided the career talk. I avoided the relationship talk, and quite frankly any talks about my future.

Omg, why are you being so serious? I'll be fine. Let's do shots, I could hear myself say. Click To Tweet

Don’t get me wrong. I do not believe I have an issue with drinking, but I was right on the cusp of self-concern once I realized I was drinking every night. I was in a fog and didn’t know it. I created my best, most romantic, most thoughtful content all while in the comfort of a slight buzz. Some would say, “it works for you”, but my mental health is one of the most important things in life to me.

Do I have a drinking problem? No.
Could I have a drinking problem? I think anyone could without mindfulness.

After I felt myself losing clarity, forgetting to pray, and only getting excited for days that I could party. I knew I needed to put a halt to my drinking. This was a way to realign myself with my goals and evaluate my spirit. Although drinking was a huge part of my 21-day “detox”, there were other key objectives to accomplish. I was seeking a clean lens. I needed 21 days to focus on my mind, body, and soul.

Mind

tumblr_p97hs4dYmR1uocsx1o6_400.gifImage via Tumblr by Gajo1987

My body metabolizes alcohol quite differently than most of my friends. It takes me a long time to recover from a night of drinking. No matter how much or little I drink the night before, I almost always sleep through the next day. “Such a waste of time,” I thought. I prefer enjoying the cool smell of morning dew, sitting on the porch, and reading poetry that inspires me. I wanted to approach conversations with true thoughtfulness, and not word vomit. I wanted to fall asleep at peace with my soul.

When I stopped drinking I began to feel my feelings again. I wasn’t numb to genuine human interaction anymore. I was seeing the world for exactly what it is. I’m not sure if people really know the residual effects of alcohol, but I realized that I didn’t necessarily have to be drunk to still feel amiss. If you have ever unintentionally stopped drinking you may not notice, but I was actively paying attention and evaluating my feelings and my mind. I desperately needed to feel again.

Body

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Image via Tumblr by Migas

The move was hard on my routine. I started working from home, my eating habits changed and so did my physical activity. All of that mixed with my drinking habits made me gain about 30lbs. Drinking is a social activity that encourages participation and indulgence. I caved into my cravings. Click To Tweet I started to feel self-conscious about my changing body which in turn perpetuated my drinking cycle. The minute I figured this out was when I realized there was no way I’d lose the weight without putting the drink down.

I received a bike for my birthday last year. It was something I’ve always wanted, and I was super excited to have another way to exercise and be active. Although I was initially excited about the bike, it sat in my living room for months after I got it. I decided to dedicate my mornings to riding. This was a good way to exercise, increase my endorphins, see the world, and increase my creativity. It all worked. After 21 days of cycling and gaining control of my diet, I lost 7lbs and it’s only been down from there.

Soul

tumblr_p1qvdn1tPB1shou8fo1_400.jpgImage via Tumblr by Chasingrainbowsforever

I stopped investing in my soul. I stopped praying. I was exhausted from my terrible sleeping patterns caused by drinking and a bad diet. I would fall asleep before reflecting on my day. That was a big “no-no” for me. I needed downtime to sort out my thoughts. My mind was like a desk full of papers and no filing system. Prayer helps me create folders for my thoughts. Click To Tweet Some thoughts need to go into the inspiration folder, while others go into the recycling bin and most importantly trash.

Prayer is something that has allowed me to be grateful. I thank God every day for the biggest and minimal things I encounter. The fact that I live with hot water, and I’ve always had a bed to sleep in at night don’t even begin to reach the amount of gratitude I have in my heart. I will never take it for granted. Prayer is the reason I can forgive and find love in the most trivial things. I am nothing without it. Click To Tweet

So here I am 21 days later… what I hope you will take away from my experience is that self-awareness is essential to growth and most importantly change. If you are not able to be honest with yourself and take a step back you can create irreversible damage to your mind, body, and soul.

I decided that my drinking patterns were becoming toxic. This is not to say that I’ll never pick up a drink again, but I will definitely be hyper-aware of what I’m consuming. I’m not afraid of myself, and I’ll remove anything from my life that I feel is chipping away at my spirit and self-confidence.

What are some toxic habits you realize are hindering your growth?

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