When it comes to alcohol, sometimes it feels like we can never win.
On the surface, it seems so simple, doesn’t it?
Don’t. Pour. That. Stuff. Down. Your. Gob.
What makes it even harder is that sobriety can feel like one giant, tiring race.
(And that’s not just because everyone seems to ditch the booze and start a running habit instead)
But when it seems like you’re being left behind in the marathon for alcohol freedom, there IS a way to give yourself an unfair advantage...
On Your Marks...
Why does sobriety feel like a race? Well...
It can be bloody exhausting...
It takes the right mindset, and a bit of preparation to get started…
We can sometimes fall at the first hurdle (I know I have)...
Everything can fall apart in an instant...
And it’s always possible to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Picture, if you will, sobriety being like everyone running along a pathway. Sure, some people might have started days, weeks or even years before you did...but we’re all in the same race.
And now imagine that there is a ditch on either side of that pathway.
It doesn’t matter whether you started the race yesterday, or 5,000 days ago...all of us are the same distance from that ditch.
If we stumble, then it’s back to the start line we go.
So if you’ll allow me to murder this metaphor a little more…
In the early days of the race, you might have been more likely to trip and fall into that ditch.
Perhaps your technique wasn't right.
Maybe your preparations weren’t so good.
Or you might just be a self-sabotaging little bugger called Freddie Bennett and tie your own shoelaces together because you didn’t feel you 'deserved' to be in this race in the first place.
But in any case, you probably improve over time. Being in this race feels a bit more ‘normal’ and you find yourself running further and further into the distance.
However, whenever you look down, that sour-smelling, cloudy, alcohol-filled ditch is still below you, running parallel to your path.
And now is the time to pick up your pace, because I’m about to share the secret to running the race of your life.
Now obviously, this race isn’t a competition.
You can’t leapfrog the field and jump from day 100 to day 365 without putting in the miles.
(I DO know a self-styled ‘inspirational wellbeing guru’ who miraculously celebrated 1 year AF on the same day as he launched his ‘change your life in 90 days’ course….although pictures on this Facebook timeline tell a very different story, but that’s a tale for another day.)
Or to be precise, this is a competition...but it’s only against yourself.
For it is only by understanding ourselves that we can gain a competitive edge.
Let’s look at it another way, and return to the running metaphor.
When you watch any race, you see two types of people:
The runners who are having the time of their lives, savouring every moment, smiling and waving to the crowd as they cherish every single second.
There are the runners who are grimacing and groaning, pain etched across their faces, in so much physical pain that you want to run up to them and check that they did indeed pay for this privilege...or whether someone forced them into this competition at gunpoint.
And this isn’t about fitness.
In case you don’t like running (and I don’t blame you), you could shift this scene to any activity.
You could be in your local book group and find the people who are loving the discovery of a new story...and sat next them will be someone with a face like a smacked arse because the novel of the week didn’t contain as much breathless soft-porn as the latest Jilly Cooper masterpiece.
There’s nothing wrong with either of these people. They are just experiencing the same race (or racey novel) in different ways:
The easy way...or the hard way.
Running Your Race
I’ve been in this sobriety race for almost 900 days.
And I’ve found myself running it the hard way plenty of times.
I can tell you, it’s no bloody fun when everyone
around you is having a chirpy-chipper, best bloody day of their sober bloody life.
And you’re feeling worn down, grumpy and stuck in the mud…
And that stinking, boozy ditch starts to look pretty appealing.
But you do have a choice.
You can suffer and drag your feet and moan and groan.
Or you can lift your head up high.
Look at how far you’ve come.
See that amazing sober life in the distance.
Ignore the thousands of people who are still sat on the sofa, drink in hand, refusing to join the race because they don’t have the courage to do what YOU are doing.
And if you need an extra spring in your step…
Remember you have the best cheerleading squad in the world, here at Over the Influence. And we’re urging you forward. We're with you, every step of the way.
Because we all struggle sometimes.
It can feel relentless. We can all lose motivation and get out of breath.
And that’s when it’s time to draw upon the energy of the crowd.
Because we are always here for you…
And because you are right here, reading this, right now.
That already makes you a winner.
So go and win another day of sobriety today.