New territory for me. 3 whole months living alcohol free. Now officially the longest I have gone without booze in 45 years. I will pat myself on the back and say well done.
“Well done Jim.”
It’s good to be proud when one achieves something but it’s also smart to remind myself that it’s still relatively early days but already there are significant changes that make me optimistic. I’ve negotiated some difficult social situations; pubs, meals out, visiting friends etc. I have ridden the anxiety of not having a drink at weekends ( my particular area of greatest struggle) and I’m slowly seeing that there is life and fun away from booze.
So all good and yet I know, 100%, that I would not have reached this particular milestone if I had not started blogging. Writing things down has really helped me crystallize my thoughts and helped me articulate why I’m choosing to do this. But it’s not that that has been the real help, it’s the other bloggers sharing their stories on their blogs and taking time to offer support and encouragement with their comments. I have pointed this out before but who cares, I’ll say it again, the support from the sobriety focused blogging community is phenomenal. It’s unconditional and effective, oh and unlike most things in life, it’s free!
Now when people start giving out thanks there’s a danger of leaving someone out but I’d rather take that risk than not mention just a few of the people that have genuinely helped me. Anyone reading this and thinking “I need some inspiration and support” could do themselves a favour and read some of the following blogger’s stories. I’ve actually dipped into many blogs over the past 4 months but the ones you gravitate to are the ones where there is resonance, where there is some meeting of minds. This is the great thing with blogging, the variety, you find the people that you can relate to and that will be different for different people.
Where do I start? I know. Wendy at untipsyteacher . Years of sobriety under her belt, a fellow teacher Wendy is just pure positivity and support for others. She’s done it, been there and shows that giving up booze is not the end it’s the beginning. The other blog which I remember from a couple of years ago is Addy’s at alcoholicdaze. Addy is like a mother figure for me. She tells it like it is. She has seen where full blown addiction leads and shares her story so that others can change before it is too late. Her story and her loss always stuck in my mind. It made a difference. Then we come to Nelson. Not everyone succeeds with sobriety and it’s particularly difficult the more advanced the dependency. Nelson reminds us that it is tough, it can be a struggle. Nelson shares that struggle and I’m sure he knows that one day he will get there and his fellow bloggers will always be there for him. In this community there is no failure, just “pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start all over again.”
Lime twister at moderatelysober has just completed one year sober and for me those stories of achieving longer periods AF are inspirational. There’s always the struggle but also the successes. The same with functioningguzzler, who manages to convey positivity no matter what life throws at her.
Now if Addy is my mother figure, Wendy my eccentric, lovable aunty, then Dwight at fadedjeans is the wise compassionate granddaddy (of course a metaphor and not a reference to Dwight’s age😉). He constantly supports others and drops in little pearls of wisdom. Lovely stuff.
Completing the family would be Anne at nomorebeer2019. Sorry Anne but you’ll have to be cast as my daughter figure. I feel very close to Anne because we started our journeys at the same time and being competitive there was no way I was going to let her win this giving up alcohol game. Anne articulated many of the feelings I also went through but she started her journey against a really difficult emotional backdrop. Suddenly my minor obstacles seemed inconsequential.
Then there’s Nadine at sobrietytree. I can’t put Nadine into a neat Jim category so I’m not going to try. What I will say is she started before me but made it feel like we were starting together. Nadine showed me that it’s OK to open up, express ALL the emotions, that sobriety is also about acknowledging what has been lost as well as gained. Her’s is a nuanced picture.
Another blogger I must mention is drgettingsober. Her blog is important to me as I too work in a helping profession and she has the humility to express her struggles. She demonstrates to me that helping others doesn’t mean you don’t sometimes need help and support yourself. We are in this together and mutual support is the name of the game.
Finally I want to mention a couple of newbies, Clairei47 and Lia at nomorenomore. Lia I remember from a previous blogging adventure. She really helped me decide to give up from reading and communicating with her and the favour has been returned by her deciding to quit recently and I’m now able to offer some support back. Similarly Claire is now at two weeks and gaining so much I think from the support of many of the people I have already mentioned.
So there we are. I’ve only mentioned a few of the many bloggers that have helped and inspired me to get to 3 months. This blogging community is real, it’s authentic and it works. Like others I have sometimes gone “off blog” and communicated directly with one or two people and that brings a whole new level of support and virtual friendship.
Please forgive me if I’ve not mentioned the many other blogs that I’ve looked at and been inspired by but this post is already too long and I’ve got breakfast to prepare. So please take this as a thank you to all bloggers who take the time to share and to support others. Bloggers are a great bunch. Long may it continue.