One aspect of my sobriety journey is meditation. I’ve played around the fringes but on reflection, never GOT IT. So today I took the plunge, heading off to a local modern Buddhist centre for a day long meditation retreat. I was petrified! But I should not have been… it was a profound, grounding experience that hit home hard. I’ll go back. In the meantime, I wanted to share some key messages. Please recognise there are my interpretations from today in relating to my sobriety journey and may or may not align with others’ perspectives.
Get my mind in the moment
- Before I stopped drinking, my mind was not always in the moment. It was searching for the next drink, wondering about work, checking social media… anywhere but focussed on the people/plac/moment I was in. I didn’t always appreciate or enjoy where I was. So I turned to alcohol to relieve stress.
- What alcohol was actually doing was exacerbating feeling of stress, sadness and of low self esteem. And so the vicious cycle continued.
Happiness comes from within
- After stopping drinking, I now do my utmost to have my mind in the moment. I don’t check my phone relentlessly. I am trying hard to not dwell on the past, present or the future. Small steps like turning off all notifications on my phone has brought about a newfound freedom! Today, it dawned on me that externalities from the outside world (moving house/changing job/turning to alcohol/chocolate or whatever) will not help improve my happiness, reduce stress or remove discomfort.
- Rather that expecting externalities to deliver happiness on a silver platter, I now realise that happiness starts from within. I need to take responsibility for my own happiness… so I kicked this off by quitting drinking 92 days ago. My self esteem is growing, my sense of contentment is developing.
Face fears front on! Booze won’t sort out the hard bits of life.
- No longer will I run scared or dull the hard bits in life with booze.
- No longer will I search unrealistically for happiness solely from externalities, it must start from within.
- No longer will I engage in negative self talk, lowering my confidence further still.
Special messages from today
- Let’s invite people, places and practices into our lives that are supportive, positive and bring out the best in us.
- Let’s be proud of who we are, let’s be present, let’s take control. Without alcohol, I believe these concepts become more real as the days/weeks/months go by.
- Let’s not grasp onto the past or wonder when life will get better. From this moment, we can start to make changes that will bring out happiness in our lives.
The person we were yesterday is not the person we are today, nor does it define who we will be tomorrow.
All in all, today was a wonderful experience and it’s a privilege to share it with you.
On the drive home, a storm appeared to be brewing angrily at sea. So I pulled over to take some quick pics. To me, the storm seemed to sum up today’s learnings in an odd kind of way. You see, the storm represents the hard bits in life. Storms come in, they can be wild and rough… but eventually they dissipate and the sun comes out. Before I stopped drinking, I would turn to wine to keep me dry and out of the storm. But really, I was standing miserable, wet and bedraggled in the rain. I now see that the wine did absolutely nothing to protect me from the elements. What was I thinking! These days, storms will continue to come our way. But rather than turning to alcohol to weather the storm, we understand that this too shall pass. So instead of grabbing the wine we get our rain coats on, umbrellas out, and dance in the rain until the sun comes out.