To The Person Who's Deciding To Get Sober
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To The Person Who's Deciding To Get Sober — I See You And I'm Proud Of You

I see you. I hear you. I am proud of you.

To The Person Who's Deciding To Get Sober — I See You And I'm Proud Of You

However you got to this point in your journey doesn't matter — what matters is that you are here now. Since you are here now, this is my message to you full of some of those things that nobody tells you when you get sober. I needed to know them and maybe you do, too.

You will have to redefine what "fun" is.

For the first few weeks or months after getting sober, you may not know what to do. You're used to getting drunk and high and whatever else you've done in order to feel anything (or nothing at all) during your daily ventures. When you take the drinks and the drugs out of the equation, you may be at a loss — this is normal. The things you used to like to do such as party, go out to bars, or even just hang out with certain friends may not be of interest to you any longer and if they are you may realize they are triggering and dangerous to you getting clean. It's essential in recovery to rediscover yourself and your interests. It's not easy. You may have to try different hobbies before finding one that sticks. However boredom is dangerous in recovery, so even if you have to try crocheting for the second time or meditation or watching cooking videos on youtube that you'll never try — do that.

A lot of your friends aren't really your friends.

Here's a little advice from someone who's been there, those people getting high about you aren't your friends. Those people you pick up from aren't your friends. Actively using is a lifestyle that will kill you.

The drugs don't love you. And nobody supporting you continuing to use doesn't love you either. But all of it will take you away from the people that do. Anyone who truly cares about you and your wellbeing will respect your choice to get clean. When you get clean you'll realize that some of these friends you have nothing in similar with besides the drug/s of choice and that's OK! You will make new friends and you will become your own friend too.

Learn and respect your own triggers.

A trigger is any topic that makes us uncomfortable. What triggers me may be different then what triggers you. When we can identify what bothers us, we can take action to protect our sobriety. Obviously, we can't avoid all of the situations that may emotionally trigger us, but we can take actionable steps to take care of ourselves. Setting these boundaries for even your own self and your interactions is important because oftentimes during our active addiction we do not establish proper healthy boundaries.

The bad dreams will stop.

I remember when I first got clean, walking into my substance abuse counselors office with the most frustrated look on my face like "YOU DIDN'T TELL ME ABOUT THESE DREAMS" as if a warning would have sufficed. Some nights would have these horrific, panic-inducing nightmares that would cause me to wake up crying my eyes out. On the nights I did not have these dreams I would have dreams of using again. I'd wake up wondering why I couldn't even get rest without feeling as if I was losing the only thing I knew. But to be honest, I was. Using dreams and bad dreams at the beginning of getting clean is normal. You may dream of these things because your substance use was such a huge part of your life. Even though you've managed to find your way sobriety, you haven't wiped out the memory of using from your mind. They are still there and they are still a part of you. These dreams will go away. You will dream about things other than picking up. You will think about things other than picking up. I promise.

It's OK to grieve.

One of the biggest things I had to come to terms with when deciding to get clean, was that my life would never be like it was before I started using. I got clean very young which meant I had to acknowledge at my 21 birthday I would be sober as heck, that at my bachelorette party one day I would be sober as well and that I would never use again. It was things like this that were so hard to acknowledge. I felt like I was breaking up with drugs and alcohol. You know how after a breakup you sit there wondering "what could have been?" you may feel similar about getting clean and leaving drugs behind. I did not want to be one of those sober people. I was so afraid to be that, that I avoided getting clean. For people with a substance use problem, the drug of choice can be like a partner who's always there, who's always reliable. But you gotta break it off, you gotta walk away. It's OK to be sad about it, but know that staying isn't serving you any longer.

The worst day you can have sober will always be better then a day spent getting high or drunk.

In the early stages of recovery, you may remember events during active addiction as being much better than they actually were. In time you will see these events from a different perspective but for the time being, remind yourself that whatever it is you think you miss was not as good as you remember it. That short-lived pleasure, that short-lived release, that short-lived numbness is not the same as happiness and you cannot confuse the two. You will find endless opportunities within sobriety that you would have never been blessed with if you did not get clean. You will find happiness, contentment, comfort, stability and you will find you. There's a whole other world out there that you don't know about when you're high. You have to live to see that other world. You have to live to see another day. You have to live for you.

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