No matter how far you travel down the path of sobriety, that very first day sober will always remain crisp in your memories for a number of reasons. That first moment of clarity and the decision to commit to sobriety is significant because it marks your very first steps toward changing your life.
But are there any things you’ve learned in your journey that you wish you knew on that very first day? Of course, you do- we all do. Here are 10 things I wish I knew on my first day sober.
1: My Worst Day Now is Better Than My Best Day Back Then
Sometimes it’s difficult to believe things really will get better- especially when you’re in the heart of the storm. But please, please trust me when I say it is true. Once you’re able to put some distance between you and your addiction, you learn just how much suffering was tied to that thing you thought took the pain away. Acknowledging and allowing yourself to feel even the most troubling emotions is freeing; don’t bury yourself by repression.
2: I Was Holding My Own Doors Closed
In the haze of addiction, recognizing that your own actions are standing in the way of your happiness is impossible. Blame shifting and lashing out at the unfairness of the hand you were dealt is easy, but it doesn’t help you in the long run at all. It wasn’t until long after my first day sober that I realized the reason those doors weren’t opening was because I was holding them closed. I was self-defeating, convinced I was just wasn’t meant to be happy. Now I know my own happiness is a responsibility I owe to myself.
3: ‘No’ is a Beautiful Word
When you have low self-value, saying no seems like a personal failure. We feel the need to prove ourselves worthy by agreeing to things even when know the negative consequences of our actions. The safeguarding of your sobriety relies on your ability to say ‘no’ and stick with it. Saying no to your disease when it tempts you with triggers and urges is exhilarating. Taking your control back and setting up boundaries in your recovery is empowering- I just wish I knew it sooner.
4: Getting High Together Isn’t Friendship
There used to be a lot of people in my life that I called friends. I thought we were close- until my first day sober. Then I realized the only thing that bonded us together was getting high together. When that disappeared, I realized how toxic these relationships were to me, especially when they tried to lure me back into active addiction. It took too long to start removing the negative influences in my life and reinforce my relationships with those who want what’s best for me.
5: Pain Passes Eventually
Pain is a part of life. Without pain, we could not and would not appreciate the beautiful things in life. But in the depths of addiction, pain seems endless. We run to drugs and alcohol to dull our ability to feel, not realizing that this only prolongs the suffering. We prevent our healing when we pretend the pain doesn’t exist. I just wish I had spent less time running from it and more effort in working through it. Life is so much better sober.