NINE BENEFITS OF LIVING SOBER; FROM A NEWLY BRANDED TEETOTALER

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It all began ten months ago when I decided I would no longer drink alcohol ever again. 

More time for the sweet things in life since evolving to a sober lifestyle - like travel, meditation, painting + yoga!

 

I'm writing to you now because if I don't start this I won't ever start it at all. I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to making sure I have marketed and branded and done all the things.  But this can't wait.  It's got to be a content focus here, or what the hell is the point? The finer details will have to evolve. It's unedited and stream of consciousness so let's go with that vibe because for now I have a message for the citizens of the world, and I really hope it reaches you.  I know this sounds all apocalyptic and cryptic and a little woo woo - but I assure you that I am of sound mind.  There is simply an evolution that has occurred in my psyche, my mind, my emotional body and my physical self that I want to share. It will happen to you, and you can know now that you aren't alone, that you aren't crazy, that there well and truly is an evolution of our human bodies, minds and souls at work currently.  Here is some background on my story. Not the full story, but a bit of it. I will eventually get into all of it but for now, I have over ten months of sobriety and I feel it in my bones that the time is right to tell my stories and share my success strategies.


For some years of my 45 on this planet, I've lived rather unconsciously. I would do the things.  I would procrastinate, and fall down.  Get back up and try again.  Make another mistake or two, fall down.  Get back up.  My coping strategies included smoking a shit-ton of cigarettes and then subsequently, slowly, sneakily, drinking a shit-ton of wine. In my twenties I was a free-spirit, drinking on Friday night's with my friends.  A lot of drinking, but it was weekends and it was under "control". The thirties saw me take a break from drinking for a few years, I rarely imbibed.  I was a new mom and was training to run a half marathon.  I was fit, healthy and happy.  I took the odd drink, but hardly ever.  It wasn't until I opened my own business ten years ago, that the habit of the nightly wine took hold of me.  Because stress.  Because I deserved it.  I believed in the stress and and the deserving and so on and on it went so very slowly, so very steadily.  So progressively, as happens with most people who drink.  I was trapped in a cycle and it was not letting go of me.

A glass here, a glass there.  A glass for the chef in the kitchen, a cup to unwind after work.  Maybe the odd "it's five o'clock somewhere" goblet to clinksie with whoever else was feeling like they too, "deserved this". But this habit always put me behind on the things.  Always behind the eight ball.  Always the same thing day in and day out.  Tired by mid-afternoon, then waiting and watching the clock for the kids to go to bed so I could crack open a bottle of Pinot Grigio.  But my nest was suffering,  my soul was weary,  my mind was a whirlwind of guilt, regret and "what-if's".

The biggest "what-if" was this; What if I quit drinking? What if I did and I felt great in the morning? What if I could leave the booze behind me and wake up early in the morning and be super fucking productive and feel awesome?  What if I could become the best version of myself possible? What if I could quit and never give it a second thought ever again?

My nagging ego usually tamped down those thoughts like putting out a small fire - stomping on the idea until it was a few little embers and a wisp of smoke. You can't quit drinking.  You will miss it.  You will have nothing in common with anyone anymore.  You won't have any damn FUN!  So each new day I succumbed to the bottle- and by the end of my ass-dragging daily routine it was Groundhog Day all over again.  Cookie-cutter days of dragging my feet, being tired, wishing it was five o'clock and then being full of remorse and regrets over this behaviour I kept consciously choosing. A never ending bullshit cycle of feeling crappy about myself, and feeling less than I could be.

Not all of my days were drunken days.  But I drank every day.  Either one glass or three.  Weekends were extra special because I could drink as much as I wanted.  I never stopped to ask myself why, I just did it.  It was slow, and steady and built up over the years.  It was now something I never spoke about, it was a socially acceptable drug and everyone was using including me.  I followed social media groups with funny names about "Needing Wine" and "Drinking Vodka" etc.  TV commercials for flights that included "Champagne Service" are the norm in our society.  Any plans made with friends and family included the end goal to "enjoy some nice wine".  You get it.  A lot of us get it.  We are there.  Or were there.  

I am not there anymore.  I don't drink anymore.  I took my last drink on May 10,2015.  I consciously made a decision that I didn't want alcohol in my life any longer.   It was an awakened and sacred choice.  I chose to live a brand new life on May 10, 2015. I will save that full story for another day. But I will tell you this - I began to feel bursting energy that I hadn't felt in years, for one thing.  Let me break down for you the following list of benefits that quitting drinking alchohol has given me. 



Nine Benefits You Will Experience When You Choose An Alcohol-Free Existence

 

1. Presence. 
You will have a renewed sense of being given more time.
I have gained time.  My days stretch out long and wide and I have time to do the things now.  No longer the hourglass with grains rapidly funneling through it - I have so many AHA moments and moments of pause, gratitude and awareness.  Awareness is a whole other benefit. Meditation was one of the top things that helped my sobriety journey.  I will explore this topic with you soon.

2. Reverence.
You will SEE.  You will now see and fall in love with the things you used to miss. 
I used to miss things. I missed a ton of important moments in my life when I was an alcohol drinker.  Since I no longer worry about the booze, it's freed up my consciousness to really hone in on the beauty, love and light in my life.  I see my kids.  I hear them.  Our hearts are in sync.  We really resonate with each other as humans on an energetic level - something I missed when I was a daily imbiber.  I hold everything in the deepest reverence now.  I am fascinated and interested in a million different spectacular wonders.  Life is incredible here and I am saddened to have missed so much.  I vow to not miss anything moving forward. We will do gratitude journals together here. Bookmark me and come back to see what artful and creative things we have to be grateful for.

3.Dreams.
You will enjoy the most beautiful, colourful + vivid dreams.
You know when you pass out half baked from two glasses (or more) of Pinot? You will be having the best sleep of your life once you move beyond sobriety.  You will fall into natural sleep rhythms, and retrain your body and mind to get the rest it needs, when it needs it.  It will feel luxurious to fall asleep when your body wants and not when you try to control it to, after a couple too many drinks.  The energy it creates is staggering.  Which is the next benefit. I can't wait to explore the subject of consciousness here with you, because it was a driving factor in my sobriety. That's another post altogether.

4. Energy.
Once you remove yourself from the "drink-sleep-struggle-drink" cycle, you will realize that the reasons you thought you drank before, don't exist. You solved your problems when you put down the glass.
You have lots of energy now.  The drain you felt before was due to your liver working overtime to process all the toxic waste from alcohol consumption, in addition to the over 500 tasks it already does for you on a daily basis. You will have more energy to digest the nutrient dense food that you are now desiring for the first time in ages (another benefit, coming up!). The breakdown of nutrients will now be sent to where it is needed most, to muscle and tissue formation, and to insulate your nerves with the B12 your liver was scoffing to help metabolize the alcohol.  Now that B12 can do for you what it should;  it helps with hormone regulation and heals the skin, it can help you sleep better, it increases your energy and fights depression.  Well what CAN'T B12 do?  It's true that even folks who do not identify as "alcoholics" and consume alcohol on the regular are subject to the detrimental effects of a lack of B12, such as nutritional deficiencies. By choosing an alcohol free lifestyle you are now in a position to get the things done.  The things left undone previously caused you mental stress, and then caused you to choose a drink to solve that problem.  It solved nothing, right? Let's discuss this topic further in a future post.

5. Money + Travel.
You now have extra money since you aren't spending your entire disposable income on alcohol. A trip to the Middle East or to a remote sunny island is yours. Maybe you want to pay off some bills? The cycle of stress can be broken successfully now that you don't drink, you can form a plan to get back on track with your life.
There are islands and countries to visit.  And if you are like me, you are not flush with unlimited funds in the bank.  Trips cost serious cheddar.  So now that you are sober, you can afford to spend the money you would have spent on alcohol and put it towards bills, savings or a trip.  The world is a big place, and when you see it with presence, reverence and energy...it will be the ultimate reward for taking those brave and awkward steps towards your new evolution of sobriety.  Just think - you can relax and enjoy your travels not worrying about what time the bars close or if there is a mini bar in the hotel room.  You are now free. In upcoming posts I will talk about travel a little more. 
 

6. Time.
I don't believe in time as a rule, we should have a convo about that sometime.  But for the purposes of this list, let me just say that if you want to work towards your goals and dreams and alcohol was getting in the way before and taking up too much of your time, you just bought it back.  Time is on your side again.
When we are children the school days drag on forever...that clock ticked backwards sometimes, didn't it? And summer holidays were an eternity.  Well youth is wasted on the young as they say.  And then we grow up and get wasted ourselves and time flies! There is never enough, etc etc.  Time is a bitch, and I'd personally like to kick her in the shins and run the other way! You are sober now, or thinking of being sober, so know that time will love you again. You will  love having more time to do the things you are most grateful for now, like meditation, sports, cooking, reading, singing, dancing and socializing with your friends over coffee.  Oh yes, there will be coffee. Time to wonder if the fluoride in the tap water is calcifying the hamsters pineal gland too, or just yours.  Do hamsters have pineal glands? We have time to dive into this now, LOL! Regular posts on how to have fun sober will be a regular feature on Honeybee Living.

7. Health + Nutrition.
Your gorgeous soul will be so glad to see you again.  Your skin will glow.  Your next physical will show improvements on every count.  Your physical self will seem like it is brand new.  Because it is!  
There is nothing as wonderful as rediscovering who you really are. Underneath the layers of identity that we build up for ourselves, there is the core essence of our being. You have a truly divine nature and sobriety gives you the opportunity to really excavate that and bring it forth into the world. We need your authenticity.  We need your bright light. You may find your diet changing, and you will be making healthy choices in your food and hydration.  Smoothie recipes to do! Salads to whip up! Your cells have been toxic and abused for so long that now they will be begging you for adequate nutrition and you will be more than happy to provide that for them.  Keep in mind that this will stick - you will be so conscious of what you put in your body now that you aren't punishing yourself. Nutrition is something we will explore here in great depth...because this terrain is new and the fuel to evolve is also going to need to be new to us. Other exciting new habits to cultivate include kundalini yoga (a life saver for me), meditation, and a daily fitness routine. More about those things soon :)

8. Sleep Quality.
Sleep is so important.  When we drank, we neglected this aspect of our lives. We either got too little sleep or we slept in too late to compensate for the hours kept drinking. Insomnia is an issue for some as well.  When we give up the booze, we no longer pass out cold and may have difficulty falling and staying asleep. Sobriety gives us the ability to create new sleep routines and nurture this aspect of our health. Insomnia played a huge role in my alcohol drinking.  I started drinking in order to sleep properly.  But then I couldn't sleep unless I drank.  More on that story in a separate post.
Stick to a new plan with your sleep and it will come back on track in no time.  There are some who suffer longer with disturbed sleep after becoming newly sober, this is tricky and can take awhile to correct. Here are some suggestions that will help you lull yourself into that deep, REM sleep your body requires each night. 
-relax with no electronics for at least an hour before you plan to sleep
-a good melatonin supplement from the drug store can help- this is a key hormone required for falling asleep
-eating after 7pm is not a good idea, let your digestion rest and if you feel hungry have a glass of water or caffeine free herbal tea
-meditate
 I will talk about sleep in another post, it's worth exloring what works and what doesn't.  We all need sleep and this is a big issue for some people.

9.Oneness. 
There is no separation between you and everyone else, and there never was.  We drank to feel connected, but in truth we always were.
You will need to find new friends.  Some of your old friends will be inspired and love you for your passionate evolution, others will drift away.  It's not up to you to do anything but commit to your new life.  You can ease the transition to a new tribe by finding like-minded souls to surround yourself with (positive + supportive energy you need) at meetings (AA or NA, or meet ups, or other social media groups, yoga class, etc.) Meditation is also key, and to quote the internets "Meditation is the new happy hour." This has helped me HUGE. I know you will fall in love with this once you give it an honest go.  Commit to learning some type of deep breathing or meditation. It's a game changer.  It alleviates anxiety, quells depression, helps you focus and makes you GORGEOUS. 
Each of us a candle, with our own important light shining together. We are one. No separation.

This is it for my inaugural post.  I hope you enjoyed it. 
I do not have all the answers for addiction, I am winging it myself. I have strategies and routines that worked wonders for me that I can share here. I am no guru - only to myself.  The road to happiness is one paved with conscious choice. I'm thrilled that I was able to quit drinking and live the life I knew I could live.  I plan to riff here on this little blog at least weekly, maybe more if the mood strikes.  If you like the writing (or not) or wish to be in touch with me to comment, complain, cheer me on or ask a question - reach out via:

DM on Instagram at honeybeeliving (Please Follow!)
Facebook message or comment at Honeybee Living (Please LIKE!)
 
Links for the addicts, the sober-by-choice and those in recovery - because we all need inspiration + help + guidance + support :
Canadian Center For Addiction and Mental Health
Alcoholics Anonymous

Will set up a page of resources, sober bloggers, addiction websites, inspirational sober folks, etc. Stay tuned okay?

 
Thanks for reading xo

One last nugget.  Listen to this. 
I love your soul.
xo Gillian