7 Insights from 7 Years of Sobriety
On the 1st of November 2013, I had my last alcoholic drink and cigarette. Today, it’s 7 years since that day. The circumstances behind how I stopped what had been all-consuming and decades-long lifestyle habits were nothing short of miraculous! As part of my 7-year journey in sobriety, I am sharing 7 insights based on what I have learned and experienced. I hope you find them useful:
I did not stop drinking and smoking without God’s grace. Indeed, through my own efforts, I did try and failed, often. 7 years ago, I got on my knees, prayed, surrendered and God ended my compulsion to drink and smoke. Just like that, right there and then! God is in charge and when we surrender our weaknesses to him and give thanks, things generally work out. This is what I believe. This is what works for me. This is how God has changed my life in so many ways. God makes the impossible, possible. He can do that for you too. True story.
Since I stopped drinking and smoking, I have noticed my creativity has improved dramatically! This happens in so many contexts, whether it’s creating a proposal for new business or solving personal challenges in life. It just feels like my brain and thinking work differently and I am able to easily connect the dots to solve really difficult issues in my work and life. It’s as if I am now smarter! This is the honest truth. Quitting actually makes you more creative!
One of the first things I noticed in my first year of sobriety is that sleep got much better! I sleep longer and I really rest which was not happening in the past. The other fringe benefit I got is that my dreams have became much more vivid and memorable. I started looking forward to sleep and rest in a way I could not when I still drank and smoked. Sleep has become an essential aspect of my overall wellbeing and functioning as a person. Sleep has become like a superpower I never knew I had!
When you stop drinking and smoking you have much more energy! I am able to work (and play) longer and do more things within the limited time available to me on a daily basis. I know for a fact that what I have accomplished in both my personal life as well in the workplace these last 7 years would not be possible without my increased levels of energy. The increased energy means that you just get so much more done, and done really well, in all that you do, everyday. It also makes you more ambitious to do more than you ever thought possible.
When you drink and smoke, your relationships in all spheres become damaged. This is how you relate with your spouse, children, family, friends, colleagues, etc. Such a lifestyle means that you often lack integrity and reliability within your relationships and this means that people stop trusting you and relying on you. Once I stopped, I acquired a rekindled sense of responsibility and empathy where most of my relationships are concerned. This in itself was worth so much more than another drink or cigarette could ever achieve. Life is, after all, all about relationships? Think about that.
Drinking and smoking is never great for your health. My own personal experience shows that your health improves dramatically once you stop. It took months and years for me to see the benefits but it’s inevitable. Your sense of taste improves. Breathing improves. Your ability to exercise and endure physical exertion improves. Your digestion improves. You get sick less often. The list goes on and on. It’s scientifically proven that alcohol and cigarettes generally destroy your health with all kinds of diseases and illnesses – some of which are permanent, and some that can be reversed. Isn’t it worth stopping on this basis alone?
When you drink, one of the things that suffer the most is your sense of self-confidence. Indeed, quite often, alcohol and cigarettes became a crutch of sorts for my own poor confidence. I drank and smoked to fit in and also to muster my self-confidence because I thought I couldn’t do so on my own. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Improved self-confidence is one of the things I gained which is especially important since social interactions often require me to stand my ground when everyone asks why you don’t drink or smoke as if you’re sick or something. Having self-confidence, through sobriety, puts you on solid ground for the rest of your life.