As I celebrated 8 years of sobriety recently, I was mindfully reflecting on what it all means to me. The theme that kept coming to the forefront of my mind was that this lifestyle just works for me. Every day I feel that I’m living a life that feels genuine down to my core.
Living in my truth has been a journey of epic proportions.
For the longest time when I was drinking and using cocaine, I tried to tell myself it was the norm. Everyone, including the cool kids whom I had gladly joined forces with, was doing it.
I told myself that binging and sunrise crusading was all part of being social and having a good time. That feeling my feelings was something I was suppose to run from with a vengeance. Because who wants to really feel what it’s like to be a human?
I had come to terms with feeling like my anxiety and subsequent depression was a small price to pay for being a full-time party girl.
All the while, this voice inside me kept gently reminding me and nudging me to stretch for something different. I knew, deep down, that the way I was living didn’t truly feel right, at least not in the sober hours when my mind wasn’t jaded.
Everything was superficially fine and dandy as I added tally marks to the number of eight balls and vodka bottles I had consumed. I was living in a dazed reality where numbing out my sadness and unhappiness seemed like the best antidote for a broken heart and a timid existence.
Because when I was high and drunk I felt alive. Or so I thought at least.
And in those moments when the come down was extra real, I would proceed to tell myself how much of a loser I was and that we, this party girl inside my body which didn’t seem connected to my head, were not going to do this again.
However, after having slept off this repeated empty promise, I would quickly forget the painful truth of the addiction I was coping with as I went to score my next bag of tricks.
I think so many people who want to get sober or make a change in their life, struggle with this:
The feeling that you know you need to change, but you try to talk yourself out of this truth.
We try to rationalize the behaviors and habits that repeatedly let us know we are living outside of our truth.
There was a very long period of time where I kept trying to live in a way that I knew was not in alignment with what my heart was really saying. This sense of dishonestly lived inside all those times I was hung over, coming down and disheartened that I had done the very things I said I wouldn’t – over and over and over.
I didn’t want to accept that I couldn’t moderate.
That my version of “normal” was, in fact, not so normal.
That I couldn’t go to a happy hour and not have that hour turn into an all night escapade.
That living with anxiety inside of depression came with a rather massive price tag after all.
Because when you are not living in your truth, life is so much harder. It just is.
As soon as I decided to start listening to the voice inside me telling me there was a better way, a better life – I stepped into sobriety and the real journey began.
I realized I had been cruising along on autopilot, saying yes to my escape mechanisms and dealing with the consequent shame and guilt of my blatant unawareness.
I was so diligently living my life in the party circuit that I had become oblivious to what was actually going on around me. I didn’t know how to be present or in the moment because I was too busy trying to get as far away from it as possible.
I once thought that sobriety meant the end of my social life. The end to feeling alive or being spontaneous. The end to fitting in or being cool.
What I’ve found inside of sobriety, though, is quite the opposite of what my naïve assumptions were trying to convince me of.
I’ve found that I enjoy my sleep and the fact that I never have hangovers. My skin and bank account have never looked better. I don’t feel shameful for what I said or did while the alcohol was flowing through my veins and I also don’t miss the shame of the comedown. I never have to call my friends the next day to find out what embarrassing things I did or how I went into my selfish cocaine mission modes of “she’s just being Carly.”
I still go out to dance and listen to my beloved electronic music, but now the music is all I need to feel to enjoy myself. I’ve been able to help others and pass along what I’ve learned on this sober journey as people look to me as a credible resource nowadays instead of a just reliable party buddy. I’m no longer afraid of looking myself in the mirror and I don’t feel the need to run from my emotions anymore.
And to be honest, I sometimes find myself wondering why sobriety isn’t more of the norm for everyone. Making the jump at first was admittedly scary, but the benefits of being sober far outweigh staying stuck in a life that didn’t feel good to me. Because let’s face it, when you’re living a lie that is the uncoolest of the uncool.
I believe this message holds true for many of us in the sober community who are living out our truths. There are so many of us rising up to show others that being sober is an awesome lifestyle and that you don’t have to live it alone.
We have started a new band of cool kids who face life on the realest terms. Living in my truth has taught me that Sober Is The New Cool. Join us, won’t you?
In honor of 8 years of sobriety and one of my most shared posts ever, I created these Limited Edition Sober Is The New Cool tanks. They will only be on sale for about another week and there aren’t that many left. If you want to join the cool kids of the sober community, you can get yours HERE. As always, namaste.