From time to time, social media brings up memories from my past as if to remind me of the person I used to be. It pulls up photos that may look fun and exciting, likely taken inside a bar with friends, but it doesn’t show what I was truly feeling inside.
Now that I’m sober and clean, I feel liberated to unveil all the negative emotions I once hid behind the fake smile and cold drink.
When alcohol was involved in my life every night, I was constantly dealing with feelings of regret. Whether it was spending money that I didn’t have and being unable to pay bills afterwards or waking up next to a complete stranger, regret was something that haunted me every time I chose to drink. Today, it’s rare that I ever feel regret anymore because I know that the decisions that I am making now in my life are the best ones for myself and my family.
2. Lack of Empathy
We often don’t care who we hurt, offend or attack when we’ve been drinking. My lack of empathy came from the idea that it was too hard to repair a situation that had already been destroyed or I knew I was going to make that same decision again the next day, so why bother trying to change things? Now that I’m sober, I understand the true meaning of empathy and the fact that understanding where people are coming from and how my decisions affect the people around me will make me a better person all around.
During my drinking and drugging days, I was constantly in a state of paranoia. I was afraid I was going to get pulled over for drinking and driving; afraid to get caught buying drugs; afraid to get caught acting like a fool in public. Living in a state of paranoia is no way to live at all and thankfully, without alcohol, I no longer have to live like this.
One of the biggest reasons I continued to use alcohol so heavily and consistently was because I felt there was an emptiness in my life that I was trying to fill. As many of us in recovery know, alcohol not only continues to leave that void empty, but it often makes it worse. No matter how hard I tried and tried, even if I had an enjoyable evening on the town, my problems never disappeared and I ended up feeling worse the next day. Filling an empty void in your life must be done by character work, positive changes and surrounding yourself with goals and people who can benefit you.
I would be lying if I said I never had an enjoyable evening while I was drinking, but the feelings that preceded and surrounded these long evenings never dissipated until I made a conscious choice to get sober. There are certainly days where I wake up questioning my decisions and wondering if I am doing the right things for myself and my family, but I know that as long as I choose to stay sober, I’ll be able to recognize the right choices from the wrong ones.