I am going to address two of the search terms from early this morning – how to surrender to sobriety and joyous emotions. The reason I chose these two is because once you do get sober, you experience joyous emotions. I want to be very clear that my joyous emotions are possible only through my sobriety. I proved otherwise for 26 years of drinking.
The “how to surrender to sobriety” sounds like a plea to me. Sounds like someone is recognizing their need to start sobriety, and cannot get to surrender, can’t go there. I surrendered after spending several months in deep and debilitating grief over an unrequited love. So, my surrender was very difficult and when I finally asked for help, I was desperate. I was begging for help. You don’t have to get to that point.
On the other hand, my surrender to decide to attend a support group to help to stop drinking came with grace. The friend I was living with said to me that she had been to this group before and did I want to join her? I just quietly said yes, without even thinking. This part was easy. It was getting to the decision to quit, finally quit, that was difficult, that brought me to my knees emotionally. Let’s look at that for a minute.
I kept on and on with my drinking because I knew of no other way to deal with my pain over the unrequited love, over childhood issues. I was afraid if I quit, I would wither away to nothingness, that it would zap what little energy I had left. The reality was, starting in sobriety actually gave me more energy, I found, because I was not so badly hung over every morning, that I had to eat greasy or spicy foods to control it.
I couldn’t even name my pain, I was that far gone in the ability to know what I was feeling. The thing is, as I said, I was afraid to give up the only way I knew of to deal with the pain. What I didn’t know was, the longer I kept drinking, the longer I prolonged the ability to feel joyous emotions. I prolonged the ability to get through and past my grief over the unrequited love, the anger over my childhood. It was a vicious circle.
Let me just say that, in the end, I adore and cherish my sobriety and if I had one regret, it would be that I didn’t do it sooner. If I had, I could have spent less years in emotional misery from childhood issues. That’s because, with the aid of the support group, I was able to get to the point of dealing with the childhood issues and thus, healing from them.
If you were to ask me, I would tell you that sobriety is so well worth it. Yes, it sucks at first and sometimes for a few years. But in the end, when you clear out all the past debris, when you can visit the past only to make it possible to move forward in the present, you reach a space where you find peace and freedom. And joy. Tremendous joy and excitement about the things around you, especially the people.
Then there’s wonder. In sobriety. You see everything and everyone with great awe and wonder, as you focus on one moment to the next, taking it all in. Along comes grace, that space where you somewhat float along, where the ability to roll with everything that is going on descends upon you like a cloak. And, of course, there is peace, a deep knowingness that all is well, that all is going as planned.
I wish you well on your journey to sobriety and hope that you can approach surrender to it with grace and wonder, instead of with the attitude of giving up in defeat. Yes, you are defeated by alcohol, but that doesn’t mean YOU’RE defeated as a person. You have treasure trove of things to discover about yourself and others. Happy discovery.