Why I Had to Get Sober & How It Changed My Life
This year, I celebrated three years of sobriety.
Can I just say wow!?!
On one hand, I can't believe it's been this long and I'm so proud I've made it this far. On the other, life before sobriety is a distant memory; it feels like a completely different lifetime ago.
I'd like to share my story with you - what it was like before I got sober, what happened, and how my life has completely different since the day I took my last drink.
While I'm not necessarily an advocate for getting sober, I am an advocate for making decisions that will significantly improve your life.
For me, getting clean three years ago was the biggest turning point in my life and set me on the path of creating everything I currently have.
With that, here's my story - why I had to get sober, and how it changed everything:
It was Thanksgiving Day and internally, I was suffering. I missed my family. I was angry at my family. The emotions were just under the surface but they had been simmering there for awhile.
At a party with friends I can remember anxiously waiting for the first beer to arrive. I wanted it NOW! I felt uncomfortable and wanted to escape the state I was in.
And once I got that first drink there was no stopping my run. The memories I'm left with are hazy, but the shame I woke up with told me it was anything but good.
Dread. Despair. Embarrassment. Shame.
It wasn't the first time I woke up in this state.
However, this particular morning was different. November 25, 2011. It carried a resemblance of many mornings I'd experienced in the past, but it also carried something new: Ugly truths that I could no longer ignore.
For the first time, I knew that I couldn't control my drinking.
I knew that as long as I continued to drink, I would wake up feeling like this. And I knew that I couldn't live with myself if it happened again.
I had to get out.
The problem was: the thought of getting sober was completely terrifying!
Who am I if I don't drink!? How will I have fun if I don't drink!?
My identity was so wrapped up in partying, I literally had no idea who I would be if I gave this up. I also knew I couldn't continue doing it. I was at the biggest crossroads of my life.
Luckily, that morning I could hear a message inside of me that was faint, fearless and strong. It said, "Shelly, if you quit now you'll be more powerful than you've ever been before. Life hasn't even started for you yet."
This message came from deep in my soul. The moment I heard it, I knew it was true.
So grasping onto that belief, I started my journey out of addiction, one day at a time, one foot in front of the other, step by step by step.
I've read that when people hit their bottom they experience an awakening - or a shattering of reality as they once knew it. It's like you wake up in your bed and you look out the window but it's not your neighborhood that you see - it's Oz. It looks familiar, but everything has changed. This phenomenon is very difficult to explain, but it's exactly what happened to me.
That morning, my vision of myself and my life completely changed. I broke through a new layer of consciousness. I finally chose myself in the biggest way I possibly could.
Everything looked different from that day forward.
Today, I can proudly say (with tears in my eyes) that I'm still sober. How do I do it? One way:
I connect to the love within me (higher power, truth, soul, spirit and yes... God).
I know God can be a touchy concept, but to me it's simply the energy of love within us all.
In my experience, God isn't something outside of me that's dictating my fate. God is me - the highest version of me. When I connect to this source by practicing the principles of love, I'm aligned with God... and my life is damn good.
My spiritual practice keeps me sober because it's the best high there is (no really… it is). What I've learned from this journey is that anytime I was seeking something outside of myself to feel good, what I really wanted was to feel love. That's what we're seeking all the time.
Anytime I drank or used drugs, I did it to "get high;" that is, to experience a heightened sense of being (or to disconnect from myself fully). This was a way I could escape my ego - feelings like boredom, lack and despair - and try to feel love again.
The problem was, the high was only temporary and came with a ton of consequences (because I was ignoring my problems, rather than dealing with them)!
A spiritual connection, on the other hand, transcends the fear altogether. It's some good s#*t.
Today I can honestly say that my life is amazing, and it keeps getting better. My vision through sober eyes and a clear heart has opened me up to the beauty of the world. I'm humbled... and grateful... and completely blown away.
I encourage you to make decisions that will set you on your right path. Put one foot in front of the other, take it one day at a time. Trust your inner guidance - your soul knows the way.
Be the person you know you're meant to be, and you will create everything you desire.
Please leave a comment below telling us about one time you felt an awakening, an ah-ha moment or a feeling of transcendence. We would love to hear from you.