Sober Living, Throwback Thursday

Thursdays are for…Throwbacks: A Single Sober Day

All-day I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of a throwback to one of my hedonistic, alcohol-fuelled exploits that served as motivation for exploring sobriety. Believe me, there are many. But in the end, it wasn’t a drunk time that kept coming to me; it was a single sober day…

I was living in Milurda, a rural farm town in Australia trying to get enough agricultural days together to qualify for my second-year visa. At that time in my life, I was drinking daily and taking drugs like they were candy. I was 22 (how was this four years ago!?) and I knew I should have been on top of the world while living my wild Australian adventure, but a lot of the time I felt a deep unsettling sadness. It’s only in hindsight I can see how much this was related to my very heavy substance use.

Anyway, one day there was a big boxing fight being screened at one of the local bars and everyone from the hostel was getting ready to go. I don’t know what made me decide not to go, but I didn’t. It was probably the only time I willingly opted out of a drinking session while travelling. Looking back, I think my higher self was granted a momentary breakthrough and told me I needed to pause, or I was seriously going to crash and burn. So, I did. I waved goodbye to everyone and for the first time in a long time, I sat in silence and meditated. I soaked up the peacefulness and let it soothe me. Then, I went to sit in the sun and wrote down all my jumbled thoughts, feeling a little lighter with each sentence. I read back on things I’d previously written too, letting my words sink in.

When everyone returned, buzzed from the fight and the alcohol, I felt connected and calm in a way that had eluded me for so long at that point. I’d found a quiet, sober moment and it felt wonderful, even if I didn’t fully grasp why at the time. I don’t know if I drank later that evening, but I’d put good money on it I did.

Today, I can picture myself so clearly sat on that bench in the hostel alone, it’s crazy. I feel like reaching out to that lost girl, so far away from home and hugging her. It was a moment I chose sobriety and found happiness. It didn’t stick at the time, but it must have made an impression because here I am now.

I loved Australia I know how bloody lucky I am to have lived there for two wonderful years with my wonderful friends, but I have no doubt in my mind that alcohol was stealing my happiness during that time. I saw so many beautiful things like baby whale playing in the ocean and sunsets over the blue mountains, but I often struggled to really feel anything during those moments. Now I can see it’s because I was using alcohol in a way that kept me disconnected from my inner spirit and the wonders that were all around me.

Life is too short for me to let alcohol steal any more of my joy.