5 Life Lessons in 5 Years of Sobriety

This is a true life story of one woman’s struggle with alcohol addiction.

A little over 5 years ago, I decided to stop drinking. In all honesty, it was the only decision left to make.

I had tried everything to manage my drinking: limiting the number of drinks I had per night, drinking a glass of water in between every glass of wine, cutting out all hard liquor. But all of my efforts were futile: at the core, I was a blackout drinker. Once I had a drink, there was no turning back.

After years of alcohol induced pain, conflict and drama (both for myself and for the people unfortunate enough to call themselves my loved ones during my foray into insanity), I was finally ready to admit that I had a problem and needed to quit.

And so I did. Overcoming addiction was one of the hardest things that I have ever done, but I am proud to say that I haven’t taken a drink (or used a drug) in over 5 years. And as a result, my life is completely different.

When I stopped drinking, I knew that my life was going to change, but I had no idea how MUCH it would change or the journey that I was about to embark on.

While I have learned a lot in the past 5 years, I want to share 5 life lessons that I have come to know as absolute truth in 5 years of sobriety:

Pain Is The Pathway to Growth

This was the first lesson that I learned in sobriety and, 5 years later, remains one of the most important. At the end of my drinking, my life was consumed with pain, and that pain is ultimately what enabled me to change my life for the better.

At the end, I was in so much pain that literally the ONLY option was to do something about it. The pain was so unbearable that it forced me to look around, evaluate my situation and figure out a way to grow from it and fix it.

As I’ve progressed through my life in sobriety, this lesson has come up again and again. When I am dealing with a painful situation, I use it as a tool to help me grow as a person. The most profound changes that have occurred over the last 5 years have all stemmed from incredibly painful situations.

You Can’t Control Everything

I, like most alcoholics I know, have always been somewhat of a control freak. If life was a play, I thought I had to be the director – making sure that the people, places and things in my life all acted accordingly to my script.

Unfortunately, rarely does life cooperate. In reality, I have little control over external things in my life. What I’ve learned is that the only thing that I truly have control over is myself. At first, this drove me nuts. I had a hard time letting go of my need to control, and when life didn’t go according to MY plan, I quickly became upset, frustrated or angry.

But now, I actually find it liberating. No matter what is going on in my life, the only thing I need to concern myself with is myself: my decisions, my reactions and my behavior. As long as I behave in a way that I am at peace with, anything that happens outside of that is up to the universe.

Anxiety Helps NO ONE

In addition to being a control freak, I am also a natural worrier. Before I got stopped drinking (and for a long time in my sobriety), I spent an obscene amount of time stressing about things that had happened or worrying about things that might happen. But guess what? All of that worrying? It didn’t change anything, past or future. I finally was able to see that my constant worrying was keeping me from being able to truly enjoy the PRESENT, which is the only thing that really matters. While I still worry sometimes, letting go of the excessive worrying that used to dominate my thoughts has allowed me much more freedom and happiness in my life.

You Can’t Do It By Yourself

And you aren’t meant to.

When I first got sober, I was determined to fix my life by myself. I thought I didn’t need any help – I had gotten myself into this mess, and I could get myself out. Slowly, I learned that not only could I not do it by myself, but that I didn’t want to.

Allowing myself to depend on others, whether it's family or sober supports from my 12 step meetings and ask for help when I need it has been an invaluable lesson for me. Being open with others has created another layer to all the relationships in my life, and I feel closer to the people that I love because of it.

You Can’t Love Anyone Until You Love Yourself

For a long time in my sobriety, I was desperate to be in a relationship. I couldn’t understand why I was having such a hard time finding the right kind of mate. I tried so hard, but every “relationship” that I had ended up being disastrous.

What I eventually realized was that I was looking for love in all the wrong places. I was looking for someone to fill a void inside of me that only I could fill. I wasn’t going to be able to love anyone the way that I wanted to until I could first love myself.

So I was single for a long time. And in that time, I learned how to love myself, how to take care of myself, how to listen to myself, how to fulfill my own needs. It was not an easy road, but I cultivated the relationship and treated myself the way that I had always wanted someone else to treat me. And it changed me in profound ways.

Eventually, I did meet someone. And he is everything that I have ever wanted in a partner. But the only reason that I was able to allow him to love me and for me to love him in return was that I already loved myself.

I’ve learned a lot of life lessons over the past five years, perhaps the most important thing that I’ve learned is that there will always be more to learn.

Overcoming addiction is a lesson that never ends. Every single day, I am learning – about who I want to be, where I want to go, what I want out of life. Sobriety has given me the opportunity to continue to learn and evolve as a person. And that’s an opportunity I don’t plan to take for granted.

Seeking Treatment

The important thing in all of this is that you seek help for your drug addiction. Do not let fear keep you from the life you have always wanted. You do not need to fight this disease alone and any and all concerns that you have can be addressed as you move through the process of recovery. So call the professionals at Evolutions Treatment Center today, at 1-866-771-7091. We are standing by to help you finally overcome your addiction.