Things I Learned the Hard Way in Sobriety


The funny thing about life and sobriety is that it is described and lived in the form of lessons. A lot of the time these lessons have to be learned the hard way. In fact the entire story of my sobriety, so far, is a big lesson learned the hard way. Don’t ask me why because the “why” isn’t important. What is important is that I am learning.

There are some things I learned the hard way in sobriety that stick out in my mind a little bit more than others though.

Be Careful What You Pray For

In sobriety I started building a relationship with a higher power of my own understanding. It seems like the way I understand my higher power and the way it understands me is in the form of sarcasm and irony. Which is cool, we get each other. The catch with having a higher power that knows how to communicate with you is that when you talk to your higher power, pray, or listen to your higher power, meditate, you may end up hearing or getting things you didn’t exactly ask for.

A perfect example of things I learned the hard way in sobriety was in praying for humility.

I was new in the halfway house, had about 60 days of sobriety at the time and had gotten a pretty awesome job.

I was getting paid pretty good money, better than most girls with 60 days in a halfway house is a good way to describe it. I was definitely better off than the girls I was living with, or so  my ego  thought.

I started getting a bit of an ego about it, so I started talking to my higher power about giving me humility. That morning I asked God to grant me humility, I went into my job and guess what, I got fired. Needless to say, I had been humbled.

This sounds like a real bummer, but the coolest thing was, as I sat there listening to my boss fire me for different reasons, all I could think was how I knew that my higher power was answering my prayers and that this job obviously wasn’t meant for me. I laughed a little in my head. I walked away from that job knowing that what was meant to happen had just happened, even if I was a little worried about what to do next.

Things I learn the hard way in sobriety are definitely hard, but they are tangible proof of the existence of my higher power, and therefore are totally for a reason.

Relationships In Early Recovery

Things I learned the hard way in sobriety of course would have to do with relationships. This is classic, almost cliché, and well, all too common for those of us in early sobriety. At a little less than 90 days sober I started a relationship with a guy who I thought was everything I wanted and needed, plus some. He was cute, had clean time, and was very nice, charming, listened to the same music as I did and had a similar using story as mine. This was as far as our relationship went though. Your classic romance in early sobriety kinda thing.

Which should have been a warning sign for me but at that point in time I wasn’t thinking too clearly. I was absolutely infatuated with the infatuation. I absolutely adored the adoration he spilled over me.

Luckily God has this funny way of doing things for us that we could never do on our own. God gave me a lesson the hard way. I didn’t know what was good for myself so for some reason this man who I had been starting a relationship with, disappeared. He stopped texting, calling and showing up. Out of nowhere and for no reason. He left me high and dry.

I was left sitting there shaking my head, in near shock. “No man would dare do this to me for real” was my thought.

One of those things I learned the hard way in sobriety was coming.

There I was on that weekend, totally blown off. I had been blown off. He had the nerve to just leave me hanging. And with that, I picked myself up.

Left to my own devices I had to figure out what was so wrong with me that I made this guy run for the hills. Left to my own devices I had to take a look at why I liked him so much to begin with.

God came through for me big on this one. The lesson I learned the hard way in sobriety with this one was that there was absolutely nothing wrong with me that made this guy run for the hills. Whatever reason it was that he blew me off had nothing to do with me. I was fantastic, beautiful, and on a path that was not my own but guided by a higher power. So be it. He obviously wasn’t meant for me nor did he deserve me. And well the part about why I liked him to begin with? I saw him a few months later when I had a bit more clean time and realized I wasn’t really that attracted to him and that we had two totally different ideals, perspectives and goals for our lives. That relationship would have never worked to begin with.

The lesson I learned the hard way in sobriety was that I am amazing. I learned that I should and would never settle for the man has anything less than what I expect from myself.  And guess what, because I learned that lesson, today I have that man that is everything I deserve and more.

Pedestals Don’t Exist Except For In Your Own Mind

When we first come into sobriety and we are new, we see men and women with more time than us. The automatic assumption for me of those people with more sobriety than me was that they perfect, worthy of idolization and a pedestal.

Those with years of clean time when I had only 60 days were something more than me, and could do no wrong. I put these men and women on a pedestal.

Things I learned the hard way in sobriety; everyone is human, absolutely no one is perfect. Everyone has their vice, their troubling behaviors, their negative thoughts and selfish egotistical sides of themselves that show their faces sometimes.

Holding anyone up to a certain ideal and watching them fall when they don’t meet that certain ideal is not their fault, but your own. I learned this the hard way in sobriety. I held multiple people up to this standard and put them on this 10 story high pedestal where I had to strain to look up at them and their spiritual program of action. Then slowly but surely, not one, or two, or even three of those people fell off the pedestal I gave them, all of them did.

I was shocked and awed but I learned in those moments. But now I have even been through it myself and I know how it is.

Pedestals only exist in my mind. People who come off full of themselves or that they are spiritual gurus look that way because that’s how I look at them. I look up at them from the bottom of a giant pedestal I have put them on.

Everyone struggles and everyone has the capacity to make mistakes. That’s it. End of story. We’re all human and we’re all alcoholic. Pedestals don’t truly exist. We imagine them.

This lesson I learned the hard way in sobriety has taught me what my sponsor always says:

“People are going to either show you what to do in sobriety or what not to do in sobriety.”

No one is better or less than. I am and they are just always giving us a different perspective and experience on this journey of life in sobriety.

Sobriety Means Learning For a Lifetime

These things I learned the hard way in sobriety were tremendous, life changing, and the value of knowing what I know now cannot be described in words. God is in every moment of my life. It’s quite clearly seen in the hard times and things I learned but it’s also seen in the very good things.

These things I learned the hard way in sobriety are definitely hard and they are still happening every day, but I have an unshakeable and tangible faith in a higher power so I can roll with the punches and I can learn from each hit I take. I learn because I know life is one big lesson. A lesson on being.

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