5 Months Sober Today!
These monthly updates are quickly becoming my favorite posts to write! Time feels like it’s zooming by. Can you believe it’s already May? Today I’m officially 5 months sober, and I’m so excited to bring you up to speed on the past month of my journey.
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5 Months Sober – The Good Stuff
Though the CDC maintains that most people who drink excessively are not really alcoholics or alcohol dependent, I had to learn the hard way that didn’t apply to me.
Over the past month, though, lots of really good progress has been made on my sobriety journey. I’m beyond excited to share with you the gooey delicious parts of sobriety thus far!
5 Months Sober, And Slaying
See the t-shirt I’m rockin’? A couple months ago I wouldn’t have even purchased such a thing, let alone worn it in public or taken a picture in it! But today, at 5 months in? I’m sober and slaying, hunty!
Before, I would never have admitted that I had a problem with alcohol requiring me to get sober in the first place. But now, instead of the scarlet letter “A” for “Alcoholic” overwhelming my conscience, I proudly walk around with the sober “S” on my chest in celebration of the super-woman I’ve become. In fact, I’m snatching up even more sober merch because I’m excited to draw attention and get this very important conversation started wherever I can.
Yes, I do wear my “Sober AF” t-shirt to the gym. No, I’ll never change.
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Here’s a small sample of what you’ll get!
If you like the shirt, here’s where I got it on Etsy!
Cravings are totally gone
That’s right! Zero cravings. Not even one. I can’t say I’m “cured” because I don’t think I’ll ever be. But I’ve been around others drinking and never felt like I was missing out or wished I could successfully moderate. At 5 months sober, I’m glad alcohol has completely left my life, strongly prefer a life booze-free and have no desire to look back.
I’m socially comfortable
Up until now, I’ve steered clear of events where drinking is centered. I have yet to attend a party, but I’d totally accept an invite at this point.
I think it was important to abstain from potentially triggery events in the very beginning, but at 5 months sober I’m comfortably grounded in my sober identity. I’m someone who simply doesn’t drink and that’s that.
I feel more confident offering advice
When I first started this blog, I felt like a fraud. How could somebody with only 100 days under their belt have anything of value to share?
Though 5 months isn’t dramatically much more time, I acknowledge that it is still a milestone and I’m more confident in my abilities. I no longer feel like a fraud. I always considered that given enough time my sobriety would automatically be substantiated, though I felt it would take more like a year before I could wrap my mind around being a sobriety advocate. But at this point, I feel it in my bones that I’m finished. I know my methods have worked. And if I can help, support, uplift or inspire even one person, I’m good.
5 Months Sober – The Not-So-Good Stuff
While things were mostly good, there were still some unpleasant realizations. I’m a Libra, gotta stay balanced. Here’s the bad.
My pink cloud melted away and I wasn’t ready
Yesterday I wrote in detail about the pink cloud, the brief period some new to sobriety experience when everything is rosy upon first quitting drinking. Most people frown upon the pink cloud because it’s easy to get wrapped up in the over-the-top good feelings and wind up highly disturbed once reality sets in. This happened to me a little bit.
Things are still okay, but I don’t walk around perky for absolutely no reason anymore. The biggest challenge was having to cope with difficult emotions after that pink veil lifted. I’m still working on it.
I sorta kinda have some strategies together, but I have to admit I still got knocked off my platform some. If you’re new to sobriety, read the pink cloud article. It might save you some internal drama.
Sugar cravings came roaring back
In the very earliest part of sobriety, my motto was “anything but alcohol”. And like many in recovery, sugar was all the rage. Over the past couple months, I was able to control it a bit more and thought it was over, but month 5 was a beast. I would get these insatiable cravings and I gave in every single time.
At one point I would eat the big box of Mike & Ikes followed by most of a bag of Red Vines, then I’d feel bad and skip dinner completely. Really unhealthy stuff that made me feel yucky inside and out. I got it under control massively during the last few days of April and have already made significant changes, but it was hard. Shit got way too real!
I failed at a new weight loss program (aka I’m still fat)
My first 100 days of sobriety yielded some outstanding benefits, one of which was effortless weight loss.
I expected this to continue but it did not. Probably because of the point above – I ate whatever I wanted. But still. On March 19th I started a new 12-week weight training and dietary program that reduces cardio, tells you not to count calories and has you lifting increasingly heavy weights. This is completely against how I normally like to roll.
I like yoga, Zumba, running, fitness classes, tracking steps on my Fitbit (friend me if you’d like!) and also counting calories on MyFitnessPal (friend me there too)! I did this program for 6 weeks, however.
Though I lost a couple pounds (2 to be exact), I just didn’t feel good. I didn’t enjoy the program at all. I hated taking additional supplements. Also, I believe had I stuck to what I know works for my personality, tastes and lifestyle for the 6 weeks I’d have had better results.
From a sobriety standpoint, this was devastating. I assumed I’d experience fast, easy sober weight loss, but it did not. Quitting drinking is not a magic pill for weight loss – at least when you’re in your 30’s. You still gotta work for it.
5 Months Sober – Takeaways & Lessons Learned
Keeping in mind the good and the bad, there are a few key takeaways and lessons that I learned in 5 months of sobriety. Hopefully, you can take some of them with you along your path!
Keep it simple
Many times over the past month, I spun myself out of control by worrying about too much, too soon.
Yeah, the pink cloud left but I was still tripping underneath it all. And I mean with little things, too.
Like designing this blog. I had crazy ideas and was trying to do too much all at once. Only when I chose to take the tiniest of necessary steps did I gain clarity and focus, leading to improvement.
It was like that with other issues too. I found if I just took a step back, handled the basics and let the rest go, it all came together. When juggling multiple responsibilities, tasks, and goals it’s so easy to get overwhelmed.
Taking a few deep breaths, eliminating some items from your to-do list and just tackling the basics can be a huge help.
Take the good with the bad
Coming down from my pink cloud high taught me to truly accept the good and the bad. Being forced to navigate tricky family issues without the false high of early sobriety or the ability to drown them all out with liquor meant — possibly for the first time ever — really accepting that some things just suck and there’s nothing you can do about it. This month I learned that acknowledging those feeling is okay! It always passes, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling all of the feels for a time.
Self-trust is everything
Being clean, sober and clear-headed for a long stretch of time is eye-opening. I’m more comfortable wearing sobriety gear, going to drinking events while sober, giving sobriety advice and sharing my opinions in public spaces because I finally trust myself.
It was so shaky at first, but knowing where you stand at all times, and that your thoughts, feelings, actions, emotions, and judgment aren’t clouded by alcohol or hangovers is huge.
When you trust yourself, things start to come together. This is another one of sobriety’s big gifts.
5 Months Sober – What Next?
Heading into month six, I’ve got lots to look forward to!
Develop more coping strategies
I’m still experiencing some difficult emotions surrounding adoption (I shared some about this in my last journey update) and will continue to explore new healthy ways to cope.
I think it’s important to have an arsenal of strategies for when the shit hits the fan. I want to do this both for my own benefit and to share with you in case you need them.
UPDATE: Healthy Ways To Cope With Stress WITHOUT Alcohol
Experiment with intermittent fasting
For the past year, I’ve been secretly watching and admiring the Reddit fasting forums, r/fasting, and r/intermittentfasting. People talk about the many benefits of fasting such as weight loss, eliminating ailments, controlling cravings and addictions and autophagy (cell regeneration).
I’ve been desiring to give this a shot but was always afraid. Mostly because I love food too much and couldn’t imagine going without it, but also because of stigma. My husband still isn’t on board with it, but in light of recent health and fitness failures and also a sense of desperation (no lies), I’ve given it a try.
I started with a 24 hour fast on April 30th. While I succeeded, that was too much, too soon. I’ve since reduced it to more manageable intervals of fasting 16 hours and eating within an 8-hour window.
My last meal is around 8 pm and I don’t eat again until 12 pm the next day. I have two healthy meals between 12 pm and 8 pm, then take the next 16 hours off.
So far this is working exceptionally well. During the 24-hour fast my sugar cravings were at an all-time high! I joked with a friend on chat that I wanted to go for a walk to grab candy. But since I wasn’t eating anything, I didn’t eat the candy. By the time I ate again I chose a healthy meal and you know what? I have yet to desire anything sweet since.
It’s too early to tell if this will be permanent, but I can say that I haven’t felt this sense of “deadness” with the cravings a single day since quitting drinking. If it stays like this indefinitely I’ll consider that a win.
I won’t go too much deeper into fasting here and will save it for another post. But it’s part of my plan to fast intermittently throughout May, weight train 3-4x per week and run a minimum of 2 miles per day. I’m clocking in at 172lbs now. I want to try this plan and see how I do at the 6-month check-in.
UPDATE: Here is my review of my first-week intermittent fasting. The results are fascinating!
Aaaaaaand That’s a Wrap…
I just realized this post is 2,000 words long. Yikes! Thanks for sticking with me through it! I hope you got some value out of it. I’ll try to make the next update shorter, I promise!
As they say all over the sober blogosphere, IWNDWYT (I will not drink with you today).
RELATED: IWNDWYT and ODAAT – What Do They Even Mean?
Follow all points of my sobriety journey, here => Sobriety Journey