by Maria Koropecky, Spiritual Wellness Coach
Many people don’t know this about me because I don’t talk about it much, but on August 28, 2018, I celebrated my “Soberthday,” my 2-year anniversary of being sober. Yay!
We all have our reasons to start living sober. It’s a scary proposition to change a habit because habits can be stronger than steel.
For me, it was about my health. I read somewhere that “wine is not a health food” and somehow that was enough to get me thinking. I told myself that at my age, as I’m heading into peri-menopause, I might make things easier for myself if I didn’t complicate my hormonal mix with alcohol.
That was probably a wise decision on my part, but I’ve also learned that there’s way more to living sober than I initially thought. Sober living is also a spiritual quest.
I used to love drinking wine. That was my go-to beverage. There was something about crisp white wines on sunny days and warming red wines on rainy days that kept me going year round.
I liked the romance of drinking wine and the socializing and the dinner parties. I liked the deep conversations that came after a few glasses of “truth serum.” I liked turning off the worrying and the anxiety for a few hours.
But I didn’t like the hangovers and the headaches and the mood swings and the foggy brain and feeling tired all of the time. I didn’t like not being able to drive my car home after a night out or carrying extra body weight or saying mean things to people.
And drinking’s expensive! I shutter to think about all of the money I spent on bottles and bottles over years and years, and on top of that, all of the time I had wasted sitting around and drinking and then recovering the next day.
I’m glad those days are behind me.
That’s not to say that suddenly my life became a breeze once I gave up the hooch. Not at all. In a sense, my life actually became harder.
These last few years have been difficult — not because of feeling deprived though — not drinking is relatively easy for me — I haven’t really had any wine cravings to speak of.
And I’ve had my share of opportunities to drink in the last two years. I’ve been to weddings and funerals and even on my worst days…
- like when a celebrity cancelled a massage appointment within 2 minutes of me starting the session,
- having my heart broken,
- my cat dying,
- financial stress,
- not getting hired after job interviews,
- more rejection,
- more disappointments,
- betrayals from so-called friends,
- bad weather,
- all of the recent, crazy world events, etc., etc., etc.,
I didn’t really have to fight the urge to pour myself a glass of wine to help numb the pain or to cope. Somehow it didn’t occur to me to drown my sorrows with wine anymore.
My life has gotten harder because I am now on a spiritual path that is requiring more from me. My new choices are bringing all of the things that I had been covering up and avoiding to the surface of my life and now I have to face them head on so I can finally let them go.
I think the Serenity Prayer, as recited in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, eloquently touches on the relationship between spiritual truths and sobriety and that’s why it’s so enduring and powerful:
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
The Serenity Prayer acknowledges the spiritual truths of acceptance, courage, wisdom, being present, trust, and surrendering to a higher power, and these, among others, are the principles that I am learning to embrace in this new, healthier chapter of my life.
A spiritual life is not necessarily easy (though it can be). Unfortunately, most people, including me, have to struggle through suffering for awhile before we can enjoy our blessings.
The beauty is, there’s a wonderful life waiting for us on the other side of the obstacle course. We just have to keep going.
“You let time pass. That’s the cure. You survive the days. You float like a rabid ghost through the weeks. You cry and wallow and lament and scratch your way back up through the months. And then one day you find yourself alone on a bench in the sun and you close your eyes and lean your head back and you realize you’re okay.”
~ Cheryl Strayed, Brave Enough
If you’ve tried to make healthier choices for yourself, like living sober, but are struggling and suffering on your journey, and aren’t sitting on that “bench in the sun” yet and think it would be easier to give up and go back to your old ways, take a breath and keep climbing your mountain anyway.
“Hold on for one more day,” as the Wilson-Phillips song goes.
Ironically, suffering is life’s way of giving you an opportunity to break the chains from your past so you can move forward. Don’t suffer just to suffer. We are not meant to suffer in this life.
But if you are going to suffer, don’t let it go to waste. Use the suffering to propel you into a better, kinder, more compassionate version of yourself. Let the suffering and the sobriety be part of your spiritual awakening.
Would you like to have some spiritual guidance on this topic? Consider signing up for a Free Crystal Mapping Session with Spa Therapist and Spiritual Wellness Coach, Maria Koropecky. Subscribe to this Ammolite Wellness Coaching blog and book your free Crystal Mapping Session today.