Being new to sobriety, I find myself experiencing a lot of “firsts” without alcohol. It has been a step-by-step process, doing things for the first time without alcohol.
For example – the first time I had steak without the wine. It had gotten so that the steak was just an excuse to have the strongest wine I could get to go with the steak.
I love to walk in my woods. But it had gotten to the point that I walked in them mainly so I could drink the alcohol stashes I had out there.
Then there was the first time I went to a family gathering without being fortified with alcohol first. I hate those gatherings, because I never really fit in with my family, even as a young girl. Eventually, I could not face them without drinking first, and hiding some to drink while there.
Grocery shopping is another thing I did alone so that I could buy all the alcohol I wanted and hide it before I got into the house. Just after I stopped drinking in August, I got deathly ill and it was a long time before I could drive myself. I remember going grocery shopping alone not long ago, and freaking out when I passed the alcohol section. It was like looking at a rattlesnake!
So, about how to do those firsts without alcohol. I have made myself focus on the moment of the first. The first steak without wine, I made myself focus on the smell, the texture, the taste, the beauty of the steak. I love iced tea, so I made myself think about the taste of the tea with the steak and how it actually let me enjoy the taste of the steak better than the wine did!
The first walk in the woods without alcohol was a little scary. Not because of the woods – I have never been afraid of the forest. What I found that I feared was the exquisite sounds, colors, smells that I now experienced for the first time in years! It was almost overwhelming! So I focused on just a foot in front of me. Just that tree. Just that one bird. Just the next step on the path.
And the first family gathering? I wore something that pleased me. I put on my favorite fragrance. At the gathering, I focused on one person at a time and let myself really see them and really listen to what they were saying. I refused to let myself dwell on past feelings. I stayed only in the moment. Each moment. I took a lot of photographs to stay busy and to watch family members interact with one another.
Grocery shopping has become a joy now, as I peruse all the aisles and enjoy choosing products. I still feel a little weird going by the alcohol aisle – so I make sure to look the other way and focus on some product or display and truly SEE it and process it – not the alcohol display.
I guess what I am saying, bottom line, is ALLOW the first to happen. Breathe deeply and focus on each moment of the first. Remember, as you experience a first without alcohol, what that activity was like when you were drinking – how it turned out, how self-centered or angry or whatever you were when you did it drunk.
With each first, I am seeing what I was missing when drinking through it. I am now grateful to actually be in the moment without the drunken haze that hid so much from myself.
Share the first without someone who knows that it is a first for you. Tell someone before you do it, and process it afterwards. My sponsor has been great, as has my husband and adult daughter for me to do this with.