Surrendering to our addiction is one of the bravest, strongest, and courageous things that one can do and it takes work! I want to share with you some personal steps that I had chosen to take immediately upon surrendering that had given me some immediate relief and brought me back “home”.
Remove yourself from toxic friends & family
It is now time to focus on YOU and what you need to do for yourself is drop anything and anyone that is holding you back from moving forward and making a better life for yourself. More than likely you have friends or maybe even family that you drank with, enabled you, don’t believe in you, or perhaps just want to keep a drinking partner. You may feel you are strong enough to handle being around them still, but this defeats the purpose entirely for you are surrendering for your own personal growth. This is a time to focus on your needs, not the needs of others. Firmly set your boundaries, some people may think this is selfish but it is your right to not give a damn. It is imperative that you surround yourself with like-minded people, whether that be in AA (the program worked tremendously well for me the third time around because I was finally ready), a treatment center, online support groups etc. Wherever you can find them, surround yourself with people that want to see you succeed in recovery. Now I know you may be thinking it’s going to be lonely as hell, but it is better off to be without your drinking buddies, enablers and so on if you want to succeed in creating a positive lifestyle on a whole new level. Relieve yourself from the peer pressure, the negativity, and the temptation from toxic places. Love yourself enough to do this, and if they love you, they will be there when you are strong enough to be around them. You may be surprised, a lot of people I never talked to again almost 8 years later. You are going to be seeing people for who they really are now.
Let your past GO!
Now that you have stepped back from the negative people, it’s time to stop chasing shadows of the past and start working on NOW. What is done is done. It doesn’t matter how you got here or how ugly the past is, you cannot change it. One of the most powerful things you can do to get your life back is to accept what is and start focusing on solutions. You may have lost quite a bit during your drinking career, possibly everything including your home, family, driving privileges, or a relationship. This is hard, trust me I know. We all tend to have the mindset of “I wish I would have...” or “What if I hadn’t of done this....” or “If I only hadn’t of done that...” but the time has passed and those moments do not come back. Alcoholism has beaten you up long enough. Take control by finally living in the present, it is better to face what is your reality sooner than later for it will only set you back if you keep revisiting what is lost. You have surrendered, focus on everything you have to gain! Every human on earth has endured pain, caused pain, lost something or someone they love in some shape or form, that is a condition of life, but now you have the opportunity to make conscious decisions, to make amends, to forgive yourself and step into a whole new way of living right and right now. Pain is our teacher, pain teaches us how to love harder, appreciate more and to have compassion for others. You have just been awakened and humbled. Anything you have lost you can get back in time and it will be better gaining it in sobriety.
Work on loving yourself again
The most important thing you lost to alcoholism was yourself. We are not here to live in shame and regret. You may want to slumber in your pity party for some time, but the sooner you leave that mindset the better. Working on change starts with starting to love yourself again and the fastest way to start doing that is by forgiving yourself. So you have made some mistakes and maybe some pretty damn big ones, but again, what’s done is done. You only did what you knew how at the time. It is time to set yourself free from the past, to start believing in yourself and to stop giving other’s people’s opinions or judgement of you rent in your head. This is not a time to place blame on anyone, including yourself. You are here, you have made it this far, you have the control now. Every moment, every hour, every day you remain sober is a victory. No matter where you go, no matter whose path you may cross, hold your shoulders back and you head held high. It’s time to start believing in yourself even when no one else does. It’s time to love yourself.
Natalie Rountree is our newest guest blogger on Sober Grid. After 15 years of drinking, Natalie is proud to be sober since May 8th, 2008. After reaching a turning point, Natalie found a spiritual enlightenment that has given her a life full of abundance, serenity, peace and joy. Read more of her work or contact her about speaking engagements at soberlivingsoulfulliving.com.