Below is a recent post to one of LifeRing’s email groups, written by a member expressing her great pleasure at reaching 7 months of continuous sobriety. It contains much wisdom that I wanted to share. It speaks both to those new to recovery and to veterans. — Craig Whalley

7 months soberHello all.  Altho I don’t post often, I read every day. But I did want to mention some things I’ve noticed in myself now that I’ve been sober for a little over seven months…

*Boy, do the cravings tone down after those first 90 days (just like folks said). Now, I seldom ever think about drinking, whether at home alone (my old favorite) or out at dinner or wherever.

*Recognizing the “Addict” voice as separate from the real, sober self is a great help. It can be so sneaky and comes at you in different ways when it thinks you are not looking. These thoughts are not cravings, (READ MORE…) they are more like rationalizations about why it’s ok for you to drink. I tell that “A” voice, “If you think I’m getting on that Crazy Train — no way!”

*Anxiety is way down these days. I think the constant generalized anxiety I experienced was created by the drinking — by the guilt, fear, shame, fatigue, blackouts, and all the rest. In its place now is a measure of calmness that I truly treasure. My occasional anxiety these days is over real stuff — a road rage person on my bumper, for example.

*Guilt — be gone! I can’t actually separate guilt from anxiety, but I feel so relieved to be in the process of forgiving myself for becoming addicted to alcohol. My addictions counselor has been a lifesaver in understanding this process.

*I sure like people more, now that I’m not carrying my Big Secret. Altho I’m still my introverted self, I do enjoy people more and have learned to seek their company and not isolate (therapist again).

*Being present. This one is hard to explain — but I feel more “there”….more “present,” especially when talking to people close to me. I think I’m understanding and “hearing” them better. It all seems more real to me & their reactions are positive. The same applies to working in my garden, cooking, doing artwork. Where the heck have I been? Must have been in a pale fog all those years without knowing it.

*Music is back in my life. This is so strange, but I am no longer afraid of music. It used to make me so emotional (and I’m not talking Country Western songs!) that I avoided listening. Now I enjoy it once again, even sing sometimes.

*Body Mindfulness. During a meditation class I took early in my sobriety, I was introduced to “movement meditation” and, boy, did my body give me a talking to! It complained about how it had been abandoned and ignored, so it was hurting me to remind me to take better care. So I have!  Joined a nice, local, no-Lycra gym and take gentle exercise classes which have been great.

*Weight. Since I’d put on plenty of alcohol weight over the years, I expected it to all fall off once I quit. Uh, wrong! So finally, I joined Weight Watchers and have lost about 35 lbs to date, with more to come, slow & steady.

All these things have happened slowly, kind of crept up on me without my noticing. However, now that I see them, wanted to share the good stuff with any other newcomers who may be reading quietly at home (like I did for a couple of years before taking the plunge!). Although undeniably tough at first, it gets easier fast, and is SO worth it.