May 5, 2020 is my 5 year sober anniversary. When I first started this journey, I wasn’t sure I’d stick with it. I honestly was in the clouds about my drinking, and I wasn’t sure I even needed to be sober. Sobriety has allowed me to do a lot of great things, and in all honesty, it has also seemed to contribute to some unpleasant things. The good, however, far outweighs the bad.
In the last 5 years I have:
- Gotten a better job
- Bought a house
- Been a better spouse
- Been a great cat mom
- Felt a sense of freedom from alcohol
- Felt physically well
- Felt emotionally well more often than not
I have had struggles through my sobriety, however if I dig into any of them it’s obvious the solution alcohol would provide wouldn’t really be the best thing.
Through my sobriety I have:
- Missed work social events to protect my sobriety (although I will admit that this is better than over-drinking, acting like a fool, and losing my job)
- Felt paralyzed by social anxiety at any and all events (admittedly, I likely wouldn’t make the best friends if I could only do so when drunk)
Last year I celebrated my sobriety by writing the names of everyone who helped me along the way on popsicle sticks and put them in a shot glass I painted. This year I’m going to do something that I have trouble with, but through years of therapy I can recognize as important. I’m going to thank myself for staying sober, and recognize all of the hard work I put into it. All of the people who helped me were only able to do so because I sought out their help in the first place. I listened to what they said, and I put into practice the things that resonated with me.
But I was the one to put in the work:
- I went to therapy every week.
- I was honest in therapy and talked frankly about where I was with my sobriety.
- I showed up for all of my (frequent) psychiatric appointments.
- I asked my psychiatrist for Naltrexone when I knew there would be a lot of drinking opportunities on a business trip.
- I used coping skills when anxiety or depression made me want to drink.
- During cravings,I thought about how it would really play out if I went to a bar or liquor store.
- I called someone in my support system when I felt I needed support or to be held accountable.
- I frequently reminded myself what life was actually like when I was drinking.
- I constantly worked to improve my own mental well being.
- I made the decision daily to not drink.
At 5 years sober, I think it’s a good time for me to recommit to sobriety. My life and the life of those I live with (human and feline) are better with me sober. I know the popular 12-step way to think of this is one day at a time, but while I acknowledge that one day at a time is important, I also want to allow myself the confidence and optimism to imagine another 5 years of sobriety.
I wrote about my previous anniversaries as well. You can read them at: