I am going to be kicking off the S.O.S. (Secrets of Sobriety) Summit with my experience and lessons learned in sobriety. As I stated earlier, my name is J.W. Collier from Sober Militia Podcast and Blog and XstopWriting.com. I am the author of the #1 International Best Seller “Alcohol-Free Straight Up with a Twist.” I write a sober blog as well as record a weekly podcast for Sober Militia.
Before I tell you about the work I am currently doing in the sober community, I want to take a moment to talk a little bit about how I got here. One of the things I have noticed, and don’t really care for in the sober community is the undying need to talk about all of the horrific things we did while in active addiction. While I understand there is some importance in acknowledging these things, I prefer to concentrate more on the positive and the steps moving forward, rather than looking backward. So, I will not spend much time talking about all the stupid shit I have done, as entertaining as that might be. Instead, I want to talk a little bit about the moment I began my successful sober journey.
When the date arrived, I was not quite ready to take the final step.
My partner and I decided to quit drinking together. We had had enough of the hangovers, lost memories, and overall poor health and quality of life. We set a date to quit, January 5th. We knew we wouldn’t make it through the holidays. When the date arrived, I was not quite ready to take the final step. I had quit nicotine a couple of months prior and it was excruciating. I gained 20 pounds, and I was a moody jerk. My partner can attest to that. On our quit date, I decided to tell my partner I couldn’t do it and why. She understood and was very supportive, though she went ahead and stuck with her plan of quitting drinking.
For two weeks, she read quitlit while I tried to figure out my plan for quitting drinking too. She was reading Annie Grace’s book, “This Naked Mind,” and kept trying to communicate with me about the things she was learning. I didn’t really want anything to do with it because I was not in the same headspace as her. Nevertheless, she kept pushing her new knowledge on me and I kept pretending like it wasn’t sinking in. I was beginning to feel bad about not supporting her. I remember vividly the day I decided it was time to finally take the fateful step to quit drinking.
I was immediately drawn to what Annie had to say about alcohol and more specifically,
our relationship with alcohol
We were snowboarding on Crystal Mountain. During our lunch break, we sat in a bar to warm up and eat some food. I ordered a beer, she ordered a soda water. I ordered another beer, she said nothing. At that moment, I thought to myself, “I am such an asshole.” I vowed that night to quit, and I set a new quit date. Before my quit date arrived, I decided to give Annie’s book a chance. I purchased it and took it with me on the snowboarding trip that coincided with my quit date. I was immediately drawn to what Annie had to say about alcohol and more specifically, our relationship with alcohol. I read her book every day and I was amazed at the things I was learning not only about alcohol but also about myself.
At this point, I want to remind you about the immense struggle I was having with quitting nicotine. It’s important because it ties into why I have coined the idea that Easy Sobriety is not only possible but plausible. Bare with me.
Writing every day helped me focus on my path and kept me accountable
On Day 1 of sobriety, I decided to write a blog about my sober journey. I had been wanting to get back to writing for many years, but I never found the motivation to do so. This seemed the perfect reason to begin writing again. I vowed to write a blog every day for the first 30 days, and I did. What I did not expect, was the life-changing events that would take place following my decision to begin documenting my journey. Writing every day helped me focus on my path and kept me accountable. Not only that, but it also helped me grow every day as a person. The more I grew, the more I wanted to know about the sober community and more specifically the people within that community. What I found, shocked me to my core.
What I found, was people were not experiencing sobriety in the same way as me. You see, pretty early on in my sobriety, I found my experience to be quite easy. The word easy does not go over well in the sober community. Nevertheless, it has been my experience, and I attribute this to several things, which I will talk about in a minute. The moment I realized there was a great disparity between my sober experience and the sober experience of many others, I had to try and understand why. It became my calling, my destiny, my Ikigai or purpose. From that day forward, this has been my motivation to keep writing, blogging, podcasting, interviewing, and coordinating things like this SOS Summit. I want to help others have the same experience as I did in their sobriety.
If you say it will be hard, it will be hard. But, if you say it will be easy, it can be easy
There are many things that can contribute to easy sobriety, but I want to focus on one or two for the purposes of this talk. The first is perception. If you have followed me for any amount of time, you have heard me say this, “If you say it will be hard, it will be hard. But, if you say it will be easy, it can be easy.” It was easy for me and here is the biggest reason why. My partner and I did not delve into the sober community before quitting. In fact, we didn’t really talk to anyone else other than each other about sobriety. We simply knew we needed to make a change and took steps to enact the change we wanted.
We did not go into our sobriety and recovery with any preconceived notions of what our experience should be. I’m going to say that again. We DID NOT go into our sobriety and recovery with any preconceived notions of what our experience should be.
As a result, I believe we did not experience the same struggles as many others did who approached their sobriety with the preconceived notion that it is going to suck. If you say it is going to suck, it is going to suck. Unfortunately, this negative perception of sobriety makes up the majority of discourse available to the newly sober curious person. In order for sobriety to be easy, you first, need to believe it to be possible. Then, you need to change not only the negative verbiage you use about sobriety but also about yourself. We cannot succeed at anything if we do not believe we are capable. Once we give ourselves permission, however, we can do anything.
I had completely forgotten about the struggles I was having with nicotine
Now, back to my struggles with nicotine. I remember the day it happened. I was about thirty days into my sobriety when I realized something. With all the writing, reading, and learning I was doing in regard to my personal relationship with alcohol, I had completely forgotten about the struggles I was having with nicotine. They vanished and I have not thought about it again since.
How can this be? I changed my perception. I realized by quitting alcohol so successfully and easily, I could do anything I want. One of the things I wanted was to give up nicotine easily and from that point forward I did. Case closed. If you are interested in learning more about my views regarding easy sobriety, follow me on Instagram and Twitter: @xstopwriting and here on Facebook: @thesobermilitia. I also have a private sober group on Facebook called: Sober Militia - Alcohol-Free, Recovery, and Support.
Another thing I wanted was to write a book, and I did that too. “Alcohol-Free Straight Up with a Twist” is a book about my journey through the first 101-days of my sobriety. It includes the first 101 blogs I wrote in recovery as well as other insights, resources, and experiences I feel will help you on your sober journey. One of my most proud moments occurred when Annie Grace, author of the book that initiated my sobriety, reviewed Alcohol-Free Straight Up with a Twist and gave it a positive review.
It felt like a perfect circle
Annie Grace said, “Everyone who begins a journey to stop drinking needs to feel less alone, and J.W.’s honest and vulnerable sharing and beautiful insights shine a brilliant light that illuminates the path for others.”
It felt like a perfect circle. I am currently writing my follow-up book to Alcohol-Free Straight Up with a Twist, which will be called: Easy Sobriety. Stay tuned for a launch date.
I hope you will take a look at my new book, “Alcohol-Free Straight Up with a Twist.” It can be found on Amazon as an ebook, paperback, and hardcover. I will be launching the audiobook after this summer. You can learn more about me and what I am doing at xstopwriting.com.
To watch the entire S.O.S. Summit video with all the guest speakers, go HERE.