How Sobriety Benefits Relationships

Hello, all! Happy morning to each of you and I hope this is an excellent day for you! The search term I liked has to do with the effect that sobriety has on relationships, and I will address that today.

In sobriety, one of the biggest benefits is the ability to get honest with yourself and with others. In this case, honesty refers to letting others know who you really are by sharing your true feelings in a kind way. Yet, even more importantly, honesty refers to looking at your behavior and owning it when it is less than stellar, i.e., when it is negative.

The ability to own your negative behavior will take you far in relationships. Instead of blaming another for things that got uncomfortable or went bad, you will learn to see what role you played in the event, and will be able to apologize for anything you did that was unkind or mean-spirited.

This is where conducting a self-appraisal is crucial. When you are in a relationship, whether it is romanic or not, I invite you to learn to keep an eye on your behavior and when you start the ball rolling in an argument, for example, or you do something that hurts the other, then take the higher road. Accept responsibility for your behavior and apologize.

Sobriety allows you to apologize without groveling or getting defensive, but merely, to humbly admit to your less-than-positive deed and to apologize for it. I can’t tell you how freeing it is to admit to your negative behavior. It sounds like it would be horrible to do, yet, it is liberating.  And it makes for many fewer arguments.

If you like what I say in this blog or others, I invite you to check out my coaching services under the “Services” tab here on my website. I offer free 30-minute discovery sessions for us to discuss what issues you are struggling with, and to relay how we could continue to work together. Simply call me at 415-883-8325.

Being honest as I have described it is the biggest benefit I see to how sobriety benefits relationships. What do you see as the biggest benefit that sobriety has on them? I invite you to leave a comment and let us know.

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The Benefits of Sobriety

Good morning to each of you. I neglected to post yesterday; it was another day that got off and running and I was running all day. These types of days are becoming more and more prevalent. That’s a good thing…  This morning’s search term that I am so fond of was “what are the good things you get from sobriety?” Ah, a topic that is near and dear to my heart.

When I think that I was severely hung over every day for seven years, and somewhat less severely for the preceding 20, it is a wonder that was not a deterrent for my excessive and massive consumption of alcohol! But it wasn’t. So, the most obvious and initial positive effect of sobriety is the lack of hang-overs. It’s glorious to wake up and be clear, no headache. Try it. It’s wonderful!

But the most positive effect from sobriety that you will enjoy is the healing of wounds, healing of emotional pain. This alone makes sobriety well worth it.

While working through those wounds, it will feel like sobriety is not worth it, that you were better off when you were drinking. But consider, sticking through the rough times in sobriety can reap you a reward so indescribably wonderful, I urge you to keep at it. When difficult emotions surface, which they will, think about how your sobriety will reap a big pay off soon.

Be with your emotions; let them flow through you. Allow them to be felt, which will allow them to move through you more quickly. Take note of the joy interspersed among the tough feelings, and look forward to the point when that joy returns, for it will.

When you discover emotional sobriety, you will know it in an instant. You will feel a tremendous calm settle over you. You will have a deep knowingness of peace and understanding of yourself and others. You will know you have arrived in a new dimension.

So, is sobriety worth it? Yes, without a doubt. Leave a message and share your experiences with the wonderful feeling of sobriety. We’d love to hear from you!

 

 

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Is Sobriety Worth It?

Good morning to each of you and welcome to the start of a new day! I am once again drawn to the search term, “is sobriety worth it?”

Let me simply answer that question. The answer is yes, sobriety is absolutely worth it. That has been my experience, at any rate, and the experience of countless others in sobriety.

You may fear letting go of your good friend alcohol. You may wonder what in the world you ail use for entertainment, for relief from your hurts, your emotional pain. But consider, if you’re reading this, alcohol is no longer serving you, it is probably causing havoc in your life and you are searching for other ways to find relief.

If you are generating hell in your life and it is related to alcohol or drugs, you will find sobriety most appealing. Without alcohol or drugs, you will not have hangovers, a major benefit right from the start. As you sobriety progresses, you will discover things to do to entertain yourself – listen to music, read, visit with friends and family, exercise, write in a journal, and the list goes on.

Perhaps the thing that makes sobriety most worth it is the healing that will occur when you start to look at your emotional pain with clearer eyes. You will learn to be responsible for your own feelings instead of blaming others for your pain. Your feelings of pity for yourself will disappear, and you will find interest, genuine interest, in those around you.

The healing from the past that you experience is precious, simply precious, and you do not want to miss this benefit of sobriety.  You will find a new peace, a new freedom, and you will revel in these feelings.

What is it that you fear most from sobriety? How do you think sobriety can help you? Leave a comment and let us know.

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What Is It Like to Be Sober When You’re Hurting?

Good morning to each of you, and the day is long past dawn. It is bright and clear in the northern San Francisco Bay Area, and I am loving this weather!

Yesterday, I spoke of what it was like to be sober and I talked about all the positives. What about when it gets tough? You see, it does get tough. It’s not all a picnic. So, that’s what I want to talk about today… what to do when being sober is tough.

The thing about being sober is, you begin to feel your feelings. For years, perhaps, you have numbed them out, and suddenly your numbing agent is gone. The length of time for the difficult emotions to emerge will vary in the time it takes for them to appear and in intensity, depending on the depth of your pain.

For me, I was on a pink cloud, feeling wonderful, for about 6 months before the difficult emotions really hit me, and I mean REALLY hit me. Although, during that 6 months, I was still grieving the loss of an unrequited love, the thing which had led me to my bottom in the first place, when all I could do for several months was drink and cry. So, I was dealing with those feelings of rejection and even thoough I felt grand being sober, those feelings were hovering in the background.

I’m referring to the feelings that were buried deep inside, the ones of rejection from when I was a child, the feelings of worthlessness, shame, and despair that I carried throughout my childhood and then for most of my adulthood until I was 48, which was when I got sober. It was a bottomless well, a deep crevice and I felt like I had fallen off of a cliff many days.

How did I deal with it, you may ask, so you know how to deal with it when those feelings, or similar ones, come upon you? First and foremost, I resolved never to drink, although there were times in the course of my sobriety when I would yell, “Being sober is not better than when I was drinking!” Nonetheless, I kept holding on to my sobriety, I kept sober, and discovered that being sober was absolutely worth it! How did I do that?

I went to 4 or 5 support group meetings a a day for the first one and a half years of being sober. Every morning, I started my day with a brisk walk, followed by writing in a journal with my left, non-doiminant hand. I printed, actually. All sorts of deep feeliings flowed onto the page and I was able to have them to look at, to experience them. My writing helped me work through those feelings.

Plus, I talked to people a lot about those feelings that came up. And then, I read spiritual books voraciously. Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s The Invitation, The Dance, and The Call, Iyanla VanZant’s Until Today, Yesterday I Cried, and One Day My Soul Just Opened Up, Melody Beattie’s books on co-dependency – I forget the titles.

Later in sobriety, when I was facing the pain caused by my child abuse, I read all of Claudia Black’s books, It Will Never Happen to Me was a big one that helped me get through my feelings.

The point is, and this post is getting long so I will end with this, allow your feelings to come up and find some way to cope with them. It is okay to distract yourself at times, with healthy activities, such as reading, exercising, writing, yet you need to face the difficult emotions and feel them. The only way past difficult emotions is to go through them. The only way out is through… Stick with it, hang in there, get counseling if needed. Ah, that’s something else I did that was paramount.

Just remember, the end result is happiness and joy, peace and freedom, like you have never experienced before. Trust me on this. Just stay sober, and don’t pick up that first drink. I wish you well on your journey.

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What Is It Like to Be Sober?

Hello, and good morning to you each! The day has dawned clear and sunny here in the northern San Francisco Bay Area. My kind of day. : ) I hope your day is filled with peace and joy.

As a follow up to yesterday’s post, I began to wonder if I’d gone too far with it, if I’d gone over the top. I worried that I divulged too much about my process, my actions of follow through with the director of the Stanford Forgiveness Project. I considered taking that information out of the post and re-publishing it.

After my panic subsided, I elected to leave Fred’s name up there, and perhaps, if you google him and his project, you will learn more about forgiveness and about the project and him. That would be a wonderful thing. Perhaps I could have even linked to him to begin with!

At any rate, I would love some comments about how the post sat with you, what your reactions were…

Let’s turn our attention in an different direction, as I talk today about what it’s like to be sober. Ah, a topic near and dear to my heart and I am happy to write about it, as the more that join in, the merrier!

It was scary as crap to think about never drinking again, and it was that fear which, for many years, kept me from getting sober. Drinking had pervaded every aspect of my waking life, and I could not conceive of being without it. What in the world would I ever do, for example, if I went to a party and didn’t have a drink? How boring would THAT be?

As it turns out, not boring at all. In fact, it was more exciting because I was present for conversations with others. That’s not to say that right away I felt comfortable at a party without alcohol; it took a few months to work up to that point. But it came fairly quickly for me.

The reality is, to be sober, to live without alcohol and drugs in your life, is cleaner, more simple, easier, more enjoyable and exhilarating, more freeing. It’s just the way I love living my life now. I don’t miss alcohol because I know where it takes me, and I don’t want to go there… to the being looped and not able to think or talk clearly. So, I elect to stay sober.

For those of you wondering what it’s like to be sober, try it out a bit, but don’t just try being without the liquor. Being sober involves a shift of perspective in how you view life and yourself. It involves seeing the world and yourself with new eyes. To get to that point, get involved with a local support group that deals with alcohol recovery. One of these can be found in your yellow pages, or online under local alcohol support groups.

If you want to experience freedom, peace like you’ve never felt before, and joy over the simplest things in life, I invite you to try getting and staying sober. You will not regret it once you clear out all the old baggage, the old “stuff.”

Being sober and the feeling it generates is the feeling I was looking for all those years that I drank. Isn’t it ironic that I finally found that feeling I so desperately sought, by being sober?

What are your concerns about getting sober? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Seven Effects of Sobriety

Good morning to each of you! May your day be filled with goodness and peace inside. Today’s search term I chose is “effects of sobriety,” because it is my 12 year birthday today. Twelve years ago today began my amazingly joyful and sometimes excruciatingly painful journey into sobriety.

And regardless of what I was experiencing, I didn’t drink – no matter what. You can do that, too. Do you want a new life, better than any you’ve ever experienced? Then stick with it – no matter what.

You will find the journey more than worthwhile. You will find it very powerful, very healing, very awesome. The journey is all of these things and more.  Some days, it is negative and extremely painful as you look at past experiences. Know that the experience and pain are being brought forth for your healing. Stick with it. Don’t drink – no matter what. It WILL get better!

So, let’s look at some of the effects of sobriety. I have spoken about these before from a different viewpoint…. today I present the end effect one might experience from sobriety.

1. You will begin to feel more self-respect when you don’t wake up all hung over, drooling puking, barely able to function as a human being. Imagine… waking up refreshed, able to get out of bed and function right away. Well, maybe after coffee. lol Seriously, waking up without a hangover did a work of good for my self-respect.

2. As you move through sobriety, you will begin to feel release from old wounds, old haunts, as you heal from the inside out. In addition to help from an alcohol support group, I needed private therapy help. I recommend this if you need it, as it will speed your recovery from old wounds much more quickly.

3. Your self-esteem and self-love will grow as you continue on this journey called sobriety. You will feel good about yourself for staying sober, and your esteem will grow as a result. The healing work you do will help you learn to love yourself; you will forgive yourself, and your self-love will grow even further.

4. You will feel true caring about the people around you. With your new-found sobriety, you will really care at a deep level for those who enter or are in your daily life. Yu will see others with compassion, see them as fallible human beings, and you will be able to forgive them their transgressions.

5. The blaming and self-pity you feel will diminish as you become more accountable for yourself and your feelings.

6. You will be able to see the world with new eyes… Gratitude for all your experiences, whether positive or negative, will fill you up and it will spill out to others.

7. And finally, you will wish to be of service to others rather than stay stuck in yourself and your woes, rather than blame others and feel self-pity.  Because of that, you will feel freedom in your soul. It will soar, as will you!

The possibilities are endless if you maintain your sobriety! My hope for each of you reading this is that you do, indeed, try sobriety, and succeed at it. Speaking from experience, 12 years of it, I can honestly say that the  journey is so well worth it. At last, I found happiness and peace. May you do the same.

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Effects of Sobriety

Good morning to all, in the wee hours of the morning! I popped awake at 3:30 am and here I am, an hour later. I hope you each have a blessed day.

There are two search terms that I am going to address today and they are the “effects of sobriety” and “why am I so hostile in my sobriety two years later?”

I have written many time about the positive effects of sobriety and I love this topic because I love my sobriety and love being able to let others know what they might experience if they get sober. I see sobriety as the greatest gift I and the Universe have ever given to me.

But first, let’s address the question of why hostility has shown up for someone. First of all, I would like to commend whomever it was that wrote that, as it indicates a true looking at themselves and their behavior. So, good for you!

That said, it takes a while for the alcohol to get out of our system and for the brain to clear. That may take a year or two for this to occur.

Then, we are often on that “pink cloud” of feeling good about ourselves and the world, and that can last for a few months to about a year. After that time, we may begin to really feel our feelings and old experiences and feelings come up. I, for example, had bad feelings come up at age 3 years of sobriety, over my violent upbringing.

Not having alcohol to numb these feelings, I had to feel them and they were of rage – huge anger – at my parents. It took a year or two to work through these feelings until I could allow them back into my life. You see, I basically was very hostile toward them and kept them at an arm’s length. That did pass as I continued to stay sober and to work through my feelings.

So, it is not uncommon for hostility to occur throughout the course of sobriety as our feeliings come up and we have nothing to numb them with.

Now, about the effects of sobriety… the first thing I noticed was the freedom from hangovers and that was glorious. Then, after a time, I discovered that the practice of looking at myself and assessing my positive and negative behaviors, and then taking responsibility for my negative behaviors, was the biggest gift I received from sobriety.

Being able to look at myself led to the start of me being responsible for myself, totally. This meant being responsible for my feelings also. So, what happened was, I stopped blaming others for my feelings and my unhappiness. I began to see those as my responsibility to manage and to find.

I stopped playing the victim, stopped being filled with self-pity. And I’ll tell you all, being able to do those things has led me to an incredible peace, freedom, and great joy of life. And it all stemmed from learning to look at myself and hold myself accountable. And THAT is the BEST effect of sobriety!

What are some of the effects you notice from sobriety, or are you struggling with finding a good effect? Leave a comment and let us know how it is going for you.

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The Effects of Sobriety

Good morning to you all. Today I am going to address the effects of sobriety. I actually started this yesterday and the day got away from me…

What I will write here is an accounting of the effects I have gained from my sobriety. There is no guarantee you will experience all of these things, but chances are high that you will, if you maintain your sobriety and continue to make improvements in your life and with yourself.

The first and foremost effect of sobriety was the lack of hangovers. For seven years, I had experienced such horrific hangovers that the next day, I could not function till 3 or 4 pm. I did that every day for seven years… So, to awaken without a hangover was glorious and only improved over time as more and more alcohol was cleared from my system.

Then, the next effect of my sobriety was the disappearance of the sharp, stabbing pain I had been feeling in the area of my liver for 1-2 years. Later blood work revealed I did not have liver damage, so I am fortunate.

With sobriety came the feeling of feelings I had numbed for 26 years, and that was painful. Even though they were extremely difficult at times, the benefits of that were numerous. I was in so much pain that I had to journal every day which got my feelings out more quickly than anything I could have done. Also, by journaling with my non-dominant hand, even deeper feelings surfaced. Try it; it works!

Another benefit from the emotional pain was I was hurting so badly, I accepted help from a psychiatrist and a therapist. They diagnosed me with major clinical depression, PTSD, and panic disorder, and recommended I take medication, which I agreed to do. That has made my world manageable and put me at the same level emotionally that someone without those diagnoses enjoys.

Also, accepting help from the therapist helped me get through the pain more quickly, as she knew where to guide me. I looked for someone well-versed in the issues faced by an alcoholic, as well as with issues faced by children of alcoholic and abusive parents (ACA). We have a specific set of obstacles to overcome, you see, accessible by getting involved in a group that deals with ACA issues.

Over time in sobriety, my relationships improved immensely. I learned not to look to others to make me happy, which took the burden off of them. I learned to look at my own behavior instead of blaming others when things did not go the way I wanted or needed.

This is the biggest, single-most reason for my peace and freedom, in addition to learning how to forgive my parents for my upbringing. It’s huge, in fact, learning to look at our behavior, our actions, the ways in which we treat others and what’s behind that treatment or behavior, goes a long, long way to improve relations with others. Finally, I learned in sobriety to apologize for my bad behavior, to be humble instead of ashamed.

All of these things are the effects, the rewards, of my sobriety. I hope, if you elect the course of living sober, that you, too, experience them. May you discover in sobriety the great peace and freedom that I have discovered.

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The Side Effects of Sobriety

Good morning, all! I chose “the side effects of sobriety” today because there have been so many for me, that I want to share about them.

The first effect of sobriety is the absence of hangovers. If you’re like me and experienced terrific hangovers every day, keeping you down until about 2 or 3 pm, then you will love this benefit of sobriety. Waking up clear is a true delight.

The second side effect of sobriety is healing of emotional wounds. For me, this took a bit of time, but the effort and wait were very much worth it. By remaining sober, the deep feelings I had numbed for years, had avoided for years, were brought forth for me to examine. At first it was very difficult, but over time, they softened and even got better as I did the emotional work to heal.

What do I mean when I talk about doing the emotional work to heal? I’m referring first to being present for the feelings that arise, allowing them to “be” within, without running, without numbing. Then there is the work with an outside, objective person to help dispel the ill-effects of various feelings gained along the way.

For example, as I grew up, I gained the feeling that I was worthless. This feeling stuck with me in adulthood and shadowed everything I did or tried to do. With external support and encouragement, I was able to realize that the words repeatedly said by my father, “you are worthless,” were a lie, not said about me. I learned that I was a very worthwhile person.

Another side effect of sobriety is the ability to look at the world around me in great detail. Everything is clearer, more noticeable to me.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of sobriety is the improvement I have had in my relations with others. I am able to come at a relationship with true caring and concern for the other, with true respect and tolerance. My vision of what they are saying to me is no longer skewed by the effects of alcohol, and I am not nearly as hostile or argumentative.

I can see others as spirited beings in sobriety, and this is something totally new for me. I delight in my dealings with others.

What are some of the side effects you have experienced in sobriety? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Surrender in Sobriety

Good morning, everyone! I hope this is a glorious day for each of you. Today’s search term I have chosen to address is “surrender in sobriety.”

When we surrender, our sobriety moves along much more smoothly. When I say surrender, I am referring to giving in to sobriety, or letting go of trying to manage our drinking. There are many points along the way where surrender will aid the pursuit of sobriety.

The first thing to surrender is the pretense that all is fine for us. To quote my book Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing and the verse Surrender of Pretense, “I am no longer able to maintain the pretense that all is fine behind my gate of false bravado and politeness. It is time to let others see the pitted and rusted metal that is me. It is time to come out from behind my gate”

Once we give up the pretense that all is fine, we need to next surrender our thought that we can manage our drinking and stay sober through our own willpower. This is a myth. People are told all the time by friends and family, “You are a strong person. Just exert your strength and you will be able to stop.” It doesn’t work that way.

We need to give up our efforts to manage our drinking, to become sober, and turn to others and a higher power for help. We need to give in to the process that occurs in sobriety. This means letting go of trying to manage and control everything, of being in charge of everything.

After giving in to our efforts to manage our drinking, we need to next surrender to a higher power in our lives that will guide us, if we allow it to do so. This higher power can be anything we want it to be: nature, God, Buddha, our favorite place to be. The point is, we stop making liquor our higher power and allow something outside of liquor and ourselves to guide us, to support us, on an on-going and continual basis.

The next thing we surrender to is a major part of the process of sobriety. This includes looking at ourselves and our behaviors, our actions, and then apologizing if it has harmed another person. We give in and realize we are not perfect, nor is our behavior. This self-appraisal is a major step to freedom and peace-of-mind. The process then includes an on-going look at our behavior, catching ourselves when we act or behave poorly. By doing this, we can right our wrong immediately; this will help tremendously to maintain our sobriety.

We now surrender to the positive things that will come our way when we have surrendered all the things I have discussed above. Sometimes we feel we are undeserving of the good that comes our way, but if we have surrendered to all the things I have discussed, then we are worthy of the good. Welcome it in.

The photo and verse above are from my book, Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing, which is an accounting of my journey of healing in sobriety. It is an excellent source of guidance for you to use through the feelings that surface in sobriety. Many claim they use it as a daily meditation guide. My book is available on this site, under the “Products” tab above. When you order my book, I sign it specifically for you. You can see examples of the pages under the “About” tab; then go to “The book.”

What are some of the things that get in your way of surrendering to sobriety? Or, have you found surrender to be easy? Please leave a comment and let us know.

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