If you have been following me for any amount of time, you know I have been flirting with the idea that sobriety can be easy. I started talking about it way back in my first blog, 101 Days of sobriety when I first started writing about my journey. Back then, I broached it cautiously, but I didn't spend much time on it because it has not always been well received. As time went on, I began flirting with the idea more and more. At one point, I actually wrote a short series of blogs titled Easy Sobriety. I will admit I wasn't ready to make such profound proclamations at that point. My excitement for the idea was quickly met with a backlash of criticism from those who had not experienced easy sobriety in their own journeys. The backlash was hard for me to hear, and I will be honest in saying it stalled my enthusiasm for the idea for a short period. Nevertheless, I continue walking my sober path, and I continue to experience easiness in my sobriety. Consequently, I cannot help but want to stand strong in my beliefs, and therefore, it is time to put up or shut up.
I believe sobriety can be easy, and I believe it is a choice. I believe the reason it can be so difficult for so many is that the choice means dealing with all the things we have buried under the guise of alcohol. It means believing sobriety can be easy. It means knowing alcohol is not our friend. It means knowing and understanding the lies promoted by the society of alcohol. It means being comfortable sitting with the discomfort associated with life and living alcohol-free. It means living life intentionally. All of these things carry enormous weight when we are not ready to carry the burden of living well. Whatever the reason we started drinking, using, or escaping through behavior is, we made the choice to start and we can equally make the choice to stop. It's just going to take some intentional work on our part, this time.
The work we have to do has little to do with our addiction and more to do with ourselves. Our addiction is only a symptom. Programs stating you will always be an alcoholic, addict, or ill are only bandaids. Leave a bandaid on and what happens? The wound never really heals. Remove the bandaid and what happens? Healing begins until the wound returns back to normal. The wound heals. So too can you. It's time to rip off the bandaid and begin the process of true healing. True healing occurs through the process of changing some of our core beliefs. Each core belief feeds off the one before it and adds to the one after it, but I believe the order in which to approach them may be different for everyone. This is simply a guide to point you in the direction of easy sobriety through changing your core beliefs.
The Core Beliefs
In this series, I am going to lay out what I believe to be a path toward Easy Sobriety. I will touch on each of the core beliefs I believe are necessary for true healing and successful sobriety. I say touch on, for now, because this is part of my own journey. I am embarking on a journey with the intention of outlining a self-sponsored path for people to follow in order to find their own easy sobriety. It is a work in progress, but it has already worked for me and I believe it can work for others too. As always, if you have found your path and it is working for you, more power to you and congratulations! I am writing this for those who are new to quitting an addiction. I am writing this for those who are tired of feeling powerless. I am writing this for those who do not want to live under the constraints of lifelong labels such as alcoholics, addicts, or disease. I am writing this for those who believe they can or want to be healed from their addiction.
Core Belief 1 - Sobriety can be Easy
I believe in this idea so much that I state it as core belief number one because, without it, I think the struggle is inevitable. If you believe your path to sobriety is going to be as difficult as I hear most people proclaim, I promise you it will be that difficult. I do not say this to diminish the struggle people have already experienced, especially when those struggles have proven successful. I am saying this as a plea to adopt the possibility it does not have to be so difficult. I am saying this as an acknowledgment of the preconceived notions of sobriety we have heard for as long as we have been aware of our desire to quit our addiction. I am saying this to plant the seed, no matter how small, that there are other paths. It does not have to be difficult, but you have to believe it is possible in order for that seed to sprout roots and begin to grow.
Core Belief 2 - Alcohol is not my friend
The next and almost equally as important core belief we have to change is the idea that alcohol is our friend. If you follow any sobriety groups online, you have seen the disproportionate number of posts stating how people miss their addiction. If you believe alcohol is or was your friend, you will miss it and therefore struggle to let it go. If you lose someone you love, the grief you feel will get easier, but your grief will never truly disappear. The same is true with addiction. You have to acknowledge and believe your addiction is not and was never your friend. It is a poisonous and toxic substance or behavior that has done nothing but wreak havoc on your life and the lives of everyone around you. Once you believe this to be true, you will no longer grieve the loss of your addiction. You will celebrate it.
Core Belief 3 - Alcohol is a Lie
I list this as number three, but it really was the catalyst for my easy sobriety. While reading Annie Grace's book, This Naked Mind, I quickly found myself obsessed and infuriated with the lies alcohol has told and promised us over the years. It became my focus while walking down my path. I allowed myself the ability to be aware of the lies around me every day. I sought them out and acknowledged the ones right in front of me. The more I looked, the more I found lies, and the more lies I found the more disenchanted I found myself with alcohol. It didn't take long before I realized I had been a pawn in a game orchestrated by the society of alcohol. I had been duped. Once I came to this realization, I wanted nothing more to do with alcohol, ever again. I changed my role of pawn to the role of rebel against the society of alcohol, and I won.
Core Belief 4 - I can Sit with Discomfort
Equal in disproportionate comments, only to the idea that alcohol is our friend, is the idea that we drink to drown out the feelings of discomfort associated with living alcohol-free. There is a myriad of different feelings and reasons we have turned to an addiction to numb our feelings in the past. First and foremost are the cravings we have created by using the addiction to numb our feelings in the first place. Along with cravings, discomfort comes in all shapes and sizes in everyday life. There is discomfort associated with work, family, finances, and the community we live in. There is discomfort associated with making mistakes, bad decisions, failed attempts, loss, and an endless number of other events we encounter throughout our lives. No matter where the discomfort comes from, we have to realize we have the power to not only sit with the discomfort without the use of our addiction to numb our feelings but by sitting with the discomfort we effectively deal with the root cause quicker and with better results. Learning how to sit with discomfort is a true game-changer in the idea of easy sobriety.
Core Belief 5 - I Live with Intention
The single greatest benefit I have found in sobriety is the desire, courage, and willingness to live with intention. I am not saying I do it every day as well as I would like, I believe I have a long way to go, but I do make intentions and reach for them every day. The reason I am able to do this is that I have found strength, courage, and worth in myself I never knew existed while engaging in my addictions. I continue to learn new things about who I am and what I want, and I am using that knowledge to propel myself forward every day. I am no longer willing to settle for less than I deserve, and I believe I deserve everything I want. Not only do I know this, but I also know how to achieve it because I am living well and with intention. I have learned a life free from intention is not living, it is enduring.
There it is, the first draft of my path for easy sobriety. Over the next five weeks, I will break down each of these five Core Beliefs individually and look for ways to make them stronger. You may ask why I am willing to put this out there before I have fully investigated and explored my own thoughts, but that is actually the point. I want this plan to be fluid and open to change. I want to incorporate thoughts and criticisms from those willing to open themselves up to different ways of thinking. I want to see where my thoughts break down and how to build them back up. I want this path for easy sobriety to be as foundationally sound as possible. I know in my heart easy sobriety is possible, let's explore just how possible it is, together.