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This is Me

Does anyone else chuckle when Shaz, Freddie and Ben quote The Greatest Showman in their podcast?

Towards the end of my in-depth soul-searching tour between 2015-2018, “This is Me” was released, and it was on repeat in my head/car/house. I totally GET the reference to sobriety; it was almost like my daily mantra.

My sobriety was a big part of a larger midlife re-evaluation where I had a good hard look at everything – career, friends, my hectic diary, parenting, drinking, etc. I read books on simple living, minimalism, simplicity parenting, burnout of busy mums, overscheduled kids, and living intentionally.

I knew deep down that booze was getting in my way, and I craved an authentic, simple life. I had read a quote about ‘creating a life you don’t need to escape from’ – and I wanted in.

However, when I thought about “This is Me” and being sober – there was a worrying undercurrent that kept popping up…

Who am I?

Who would I be if I didn’t drink?

Would people like me?

Would they still invite me to places?

My biggest, most terrifying fear was that I would become boring and would end up on the outside and lonely.

Turns out, after 3 years of continuous sobriety, my authentic self has had permission and space to bubble back up to the surface. I’ve got to know myself all over again, and allowed what was already there to shine through.

I noticed that the longer I was sober, the more I realised that I was far better off without alcohol. Therefore, if I lost friends/invites over it, it didn’t really matter.

In early sobriety, I feel like a teenager again (and I still kind of do). I had fresh eyes, learning about the world and my place in it all over again.

I liked the idea of a different, brighter future – a future that was authentic to me. A life where I made the intentional choices, and I was not dragged down by societal expectations.

Kind of scary that I had to get to my 40’s to sort this out! But I am still learning this and that will never stop, nor would I want it to.

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown said that authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen”. This definition speaks to sobriety.

Despite living in a world soaked with alcohol, we are treading a different path. We are willing to look at ourselves and our behaviours with honesty so we can fight for a brighter and more authentic version of ourselves.

Every day we stay sober, we give ourselves the opportunities for better choices. The choice to be present with our kids, our friends, the choice to sit with our feelings even if they are confronting, the choice to put ourselves first, the choice to say yes to events and gatherings that mean something to you, the choice to say no (gosh I am more confident with this now I am sober).

Even when it’s hard, being sober means we continuously put ourselves first. We choose time and time again to be the version of ourselves that is not numbed, foggy, or distracted by substance.

This is me so far, 2021

Instead of trying to juggle drinking and a life of wellness, I can now just enjoy activities that nourish me without hangovers. I've discovered I was a bit of an introvert after all. I cherish quiet 1:1 time with good friends, bushwalks and being outdoors, crafts, nights at home, baths, yoga retreats, listening to music, reading, loving nature, running, yoga, receiving massages, camping, dinners that have a curfew, and being a mum who is present.

“This is Me” has a calmness in her life, less erratic highs and lows, and more everyday contentment. I am ok that this may not be what others around me value.

This is me - and this is enough.

We’d love to hear what “This is Me” means to you.

What was missing pre-sobriety?

What has bubbled to the surface?

What do you wish for?

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