Living a Sober Life is not a death sentence
I hear many newcomers to sobriety express fears that living a sober life means that the fun and joy in their lives is now going to become a thing of the past. While most will quickly admit that the “fun” was short lived, soon leading to some brand of misery, it’s not uncommon to feel like we’re going to lose much of what we termed “fun” in early sobriety. In my experience, and for most who I’ve seen embrace recovery, life just started to get fun when I found my path to recovery.
In the past week, clients of our Sober Living in Lexington MA, Tharros House, have been rock climbing, hiking in the blue mountains, bowling, grilling some great steaks and seafood, learning to cook their own pizza’s, and much more. But it’s not just the activity that is the fun, it’s the community and fellowship that is often at the center of a good time in sobriety. Imagine that you get to have fun feeling completely comfortable and accepted for who you are, without having to adjust your mood or behavior with a substance!
I recently heard someone who was having great difficulty with the idea that they would get married one day and that they would not be able to participate in their own wedding reception. What a reminder this was to me about the fears that my life was going to slip away while I changed into a boring, sober man. Nothing could have been further from the truth! Attending and hosting events, parties, and dinners is not a thing of the past. You get to choose what you want in your sober life. You are the designer of your life, and in my experience, what I found that I enjoyed wasn’t what I had been doing for so many years! An event like a wedding can seem like it will be very different without the champagne toast; it is different: you find a different glass to use for the toast, and you gain the ability to engage with others, remember your conversations, and act the way you want to act. Imagine waking up the day after your wedding and being able to hold your head high when seeing your guests at breakfast or brunch!
Sober and Single
Another common fear that I hear is regarding relationships. So many of us used substances to help reduce the anxiety around our relationships. I’ve been asked: How can I date someone if I’m sober? The secret for me was first learning to become comfortable with who I am. Dating, while often desired in early recovery, is usually best approached after some period of real recovery foundation. I’ve seen many people with 6 months to a year of sobriety engage in successful relationships which offered them more than they ever thought possible. The first several months in recovery are often an opportunity to learn more about who we really are. With those who have taken the opportunity to be single while living sober for the first year, I’ve seen the best relationships show up. In my experience, relationships got far better in sobriety. Women respected me more when I had learned about myself and committed to my sober lifestyle.
Whatever your fears about a sober life, remember that the process of recovery is much more than learning how to live substance free. Recovery is an awakening to who you are. You get to live a life you design and while changing beliefs and behaviors isn’t easy, the rewards are far greater than I imagined they could be.
If you’re curious about the kinds of activities that you might be interested in doing when living a sober life, we suggest taking a look at Phoenix Multisport, a great organization for those choosing a sober lifestyle. See what’s happening with Phoenix in the Boston area here: http://www.phoenixmultisport.org/index.php?&chapter_id=57