Do You Hate Being Sober?

Everyone hates being sober at one time or another, so you are not alone. I hate being sober sometimes but the consequences of the alternative are not an option for me anymore. The truth is, these days I only resent my sobriety when I’m triggered. For example, when I was in Europe traveling I had a few rough moments. I was emotional, without my recovery lifestyle, and worse, without sleep. With enough jet lag and moodiness, I wanted a drink. But, to soothe my rattled nerves, not to party. A drink will always look good in moments of stress and emotional upheaval. I think that’s fair to say for most people. That’s today, though. It wasn’t always like this. I hated sobriety after my first trip to rehab when I had to be drug tested every few weeks to remain at Johns Hopkins and graduate on time. A lot of my party friends wouldn’t hang out with me anymore and I felt lonely and like a freak. That was only one example of a life and friends I had to detach from to create a sober life.

It’s never easy to change your lifestyle, make new friends, find new things to do and be passionate about, create a healthy working life, etc. Especially while managing early sobriety. Sobriety can feel like a punishment for many people. If you were a drug user like me, you may have drug cravings for a long time. You can be forced to give up friends and or boyfriends you really liked. You may have had to give up a lifestyle the way I had to stay out of clubs after I got sober. Turns out I wasn’t just there for the music. None of that means you can’t make moves to make your life more enjoyable. I did a lot of work trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted so I could live my best life and be happy. So far so good so I’m going to share what worked best because I no longer hate being sober and that’s the game changer.

Clarity Helps

Why do you hate being sober? And, don’t just say because it sucks. Write it out. Do you feel lonely? Are you depressed? Do you not have enough to do because you haven’t found replacement activities? Was your social life enmeshed with drug activities and now you’re all dressed up with nowhere to go? For me, being sober highlighted some tough issues like I wanted to find a partner. That caused some discomfort because I had to look at the fact that I did feel lonely. I needed new hobbies, new physical activities, new friends, and new passions. Instead of looking at it like a mountain that can never be scaled, look at all the opportunities to try new things and meet new people. We’re open-minded now, remember?

Make A Solutions Plan

Once you know what the problem is, it’s time to think about solutions. You’re not going back to your old life, so get serious about the future. It’s going to be tough at first, but what isn’t? Anything worth having you have to work for, so get to work. If you’re lonely, it’s time to meet people. Here’s how to make sober friends. If you need help with mental health because you have anxiety, depression, OCD, sadness, mood swings, or whatever else please find professional help. Let someone who knows what to do guide you out of whatever darkness or paralysis you find yourself in. I use the word paralysis because that’s what used to happen to me. Sometimes I wouldn’t know what to do and I couldn’t do anything–even leave the house some days. A professional will be able to work with you and see what solutions will make you feel better.

Make A Passions Plan

There was a time before alcoholism or addiction when you loved something and it gave you joy. What was it? Sports, instruments, crafts, cooking, art, helping people, helping animals–now is the time to go back to the things that once brought you happiness or try new things. I had to find a lot of new things and I did. I’m a practicing Buddhist, I go to Yoga and do sculpt classes, I have three dogs, am a member of a social club, am in three recovery groups, I’m in a relationship, and I have work I like to do and creative projects on the side. I filled my life with good things so I wouldn’t be drawn back to filling it with bad things. This took work and years but it can be done. It has to be done if you want to stop hating being sober. Your recovery life doesn’t have to look like mine to work but it does have to make you happy, joyous, and free. That’s the requirement.

Make A People Animal Plan

Unless you want to be alone and feel good like that, you may want to consider a strategic plan for connecting with other people, and animals if you’re into that. I believe recovery includes opening up our hearts to other people and creatures. Our job here is to pass on what we’ve learned to others coming after us. I know my purpose is also to help animals. If you feel a little pang in your heart as you read this, you know what I’m talking about. It’s meaningful for us to connect and love other people and animals. It’s also important to let other people and animals love us. When I was in my healing phase I got a dog and as my then-mentor said, he’s helping open up your heart chakra. My second dog, the Yulin rescue, was a project because of his separation anxiety. But working with him and watching his progress made me love him even more. I don’t think anyone has ever loved me as much as my rescue dog does. It’s a nice feeling.

Set Realistic Goals

Once you know what you’re struggling with, and have some ideas of how to deal with it, give yourself a realistic timeline. When someone starts therapy, it often takes six months to a year to see the differences in your life. That doesn’t mean you won’t see some improvements immediately, just be realistic. It takes time to rebuild a life filled with satisfying things and people. There will be setbacks. Some people won’t work out, some activities won’t work out. But, this is about the journey and once you know what doesn’t work you’re closer to finding what does! Don’t get discouraged. This is the fun part.

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Lindsey Glass

Lindsey Glass is the co-founder of Reach Out Recovery. Her 2016 ASAM Media Award winning documentary, The Secret World Of Recovery, has helped to lift the stigma from addiction and recovery and is used in recovery programs nationwide to show what life is like on the other side of addiction. Lindsey's teen prevention documentary, The Silent Majority, was distributed to PBS stations nationwide by American Public Television in 2014-15. Lindsey has written dozens of popular articles on recovery. She is a recovery advocate and frequent keynote speaker. Lindsey is the author of 100 Tips for Growing Up, My 20 Years of Recovery, 2019. Before focusing on recovery, Lindsey was a TV and screenwriter. She has worked in publishing, web development, and marketing.

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