Surprising Sober Revelations
What Feels Right at almost 6 Years Sober
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I checked my sober app for the first time in months and saw I surpassed the big 2,000 days a couple of months ago. And it got me thinking… what have I learned in sobriety that I never expected? What would newly sober Celeste be shocked to learn about this journey?
Because some things that come in sobriety seem obvious: health, energy, relationship healing, saving money, etc. But other things are folded into a layered cake of opportunity and potential we might never otherwise see coming. A life reexamined. Hope that escalates our own lives and creeps into our family, our neighborhood, our social media footprint, and the world around us.
And it leaves me wondering how much of these changes that have come within me stem from sobriety, motherhood or aging and maturity? Maybe they all converge like the trifecta of potential. The satisfaction of puzzle pieces seamlessly coming together that once sat on opposite sides of the table and for so long.
In Pursuit of Purpose and Passion
So without further ado… let’s start with a big one — Priorities completely shift.refers to the “Bigger Yes” and has been writing about this lately on her Substack. I can concur and I would also argue that before I quit drinking I didn’t have any “yes” to work towards that was self-motivated… let alone a bigger one.
As someone who once thought the end goal was a six figure salary and a corner office, let me be the first person to say — nothing sounds less interesting to me right now. Nothing sounds less meaningful or fulfilling. And please know, everything I’m saying comes with the caveat “for me.” Nothing sounds less meaningful or fulfilling for me.
When I quit corporate America last year, I licked my wounds briefly but now I feel more called to action than I ever have. I feel driven by purpose and passion… two things I lacked in past jobs and two things blatantly missing in my drinking days. Gone are the days where what is on my LinkedIn matters to me in the least. Now I feel more driven from the heart.
Some of this comes from privilege. I’m privileged to be in a position where I could quit my job last year and take a different direction. Many people are not in that place, nor was I just 10 to 15 years ago. But as things changed, and my opportunities to rethink how I spent my days shifted, I was afforded the opportunity to take this leap of faith and I did. And boy was it a leap; more like a cliff dive over years and years of corporate indoctrination that success is measured by business suits and office space.
Now this next one might surprise you, as I think so many people in sobriety become more spiritual in recovery. I think I have too. However, I would label myself as a “deconstructing Christian,” in communication with a Higher Power far different than the stories and descriptions of the Bible.
How do I explain this? Because I still wield an affinity for God and Jesus. I still pray to God and I still talk to Jesus, often in the car on my way somewhere. But my beliefs around who they are and what they represent has vastly shifted. The Bible stories I used to take literally have shifted to a spiritual awakening where I recognize what lays beyond this world is so much more complex than I could ever imagine.
After I first quit drinking, I challenged myself to read the Bible front to back, thinking maybe this would connect me back to the Word. But it actually did the opposite. It left me with more questions than answers, and more problems than solutions. I found myself adrift with nowhere to dock. Until I found I didn’t need a dock at all. I could simply pull up to shore on land that’s been here the whole time.
I feel more aligned with the land and the “mother” of everything — Mother Earth. My readings ofhas inspired me to find spirituality in the land. I find myself more at one with my HP when I’m outside, observing the magic of our planet’s natural wonders. When my feet are submerged in the earth, the ground feels steady even when my heart feels wobbly and scared.
I’m Still a bit of a Mess
“I thought sobriety was going to fix me!” I’m screaming into the void right now. I had a misconception that removing alcohol from my life would be the THING. The prescription and the antidote. The diagnosis and the prevention plan.
Remember in the Matrix where Neo has to choose the blue or red pill. Well, we all saw how that turned out. Neo taking the pill that showed him the truth is a lot like getting sober. It doesn’t fix anything, it just keeps you from living in la-la land any longer. It takes off the blinders. Sobriety forces you to reckon with what is, instead of drifting in artificial dopamine purgatory most, if not all, your life.
Sobriety forces you to reckon with what is, instead of drifting in artificial dopamine purgatory most — if not all — your life.
I’m not sure how convincing of a statement this would be to anyone looking for reasons to quit. Would this motivate me to want to quit when I was still so disillusioned by how alcohol seemingly served me? I think I’d be more inclined to cling to my cup of Kool Aid than ever if someone whispered in my ear, “You’re more fucked up than you think and you will find out just how much if you quit drinking.”
Whether or not this would have pushed me away in the drinking days, I will say it sustains me in sobriety. I am a truth seeker. I WANT to know more about myself. I want to understand why my brain leans towards toxic relationships, intrusive thoughts, and self-sabotage. That curiosity to learn, discover and grow? It’s empowering. It’s fascinating. Dare I say it? It’s addictive.
I have so much work to do on myself AND I have grown immensely in the last 5+ years. My emotional maturity has grown by eons, and I can feel the difference. While they say ignorance is bliss, I choose growth every damn time. I am a better human than I once was, and I have every intention of continuing that direction. My self-improvement project began the day I quit drinking and will continue for the rest of my life. So pass me some poster board and a glue stick, I’ve got more work to do.
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