Follow-up: How I got and stay sober

**** This could be triggering and the F-bomb is definitely tossed often. ****

For those who have followed me for a while, you have already heard most of this so please feel free to skip : )

So I actually just got asked this question via my Contact Me Form from an old friend. Believe me when I say I wanted to go there in my 1 Year Sober post, but my anxiety was just fucking with me so bad. That post was about my 6th version with some explaining more and others not saying much. I’ve heard from other folks when you approach that 1-year mark you almost psyche yourself out. All week I worked on it and my emotions were all over the board. I ended up treating it like crossing a marathon finish line and just celebrating how far I’ve come. It was an excellent day and thank you all for the love you showed me.

It is hard to figure out where to start, but let’s try with jumping in where my life was beyond shit. Sounds fun, eh? This is what I label The Fall.  Every great story starts with a great fall and a struggle not to get back where you were prior, but instead to move to that place where you, yes you, intended yourself to be in this universe.  The interesting thing though it was more like a fucking swat down.  I had just gone through a divorce after being married for 16 years and with two teenage kids.  Since I’m not running under an alias out here in blogland, I won’t go through all that.  Suffice to say it sucked, royally!

On top of that, I had $35,500 in debt coming from trying to establish rental incomes for retirement.  It was also from continuing to sell and moving into new homes and spending tons of money to remodel them. Looking back it most likely was an activity we focused on to keep the light off our unhappiness. The irony is we had to sell our “big house” after the divorce and move into our two rentals. Oh, and they were only two houses away from each other. I can literally look out my kitchen window and look up the hill and see her house.

For three years afterwards it was just a constant tornado whipping sadness into my life. In my first year, I was just in shock and denial. I put on a fairly good show of holding it all together, while inside I was balling my eyes out.   In the second year, the wheels fell off and I had an emotional breakdown. I couldn’t get myself out of bed and all I did was sleep. Depression and I go way way back. In year three, I lost all hope, screamed a lot with my head and hands pointing in the air, and started trying anything to get me out of my hell.

How I abused alcohol

You’re probably thinking you didn’t mention anything about alcohol above so what gives? Well, if you think about oxygen all around us and needing it to survive that’s what alcohol had become for me. I started it at age 13 and mastered the art of drinking the poison and becoming a champion binge drinker. My life revolved around when I could swill 10 plus beers in a session and escape reality. And believe me, those 3 years right after the divorce were the worst binge sessions ever. It always started and ended the same way. I’d do the very least possible to get through my day just to reach 4 pm. The tunes would be cranked up, the first beer top popped, I can still hear it now and commence the gulp gulp gulp. Beer two and three were working like a charm. The fog was coming through the front door just nicely. Beer four and five I was numbing up. The dragon had finished its job and left leaving me to my own demise. Beer six and seven not as easy, but man work through it because this numbing takes a lot of alcohol. You don’t want to stop now. Repeat again with eight and nine. At ten and above it was hard to say when I’d stop. It always ended the same though. Tears. Tons of tears of how shitty I was, how shitty my life was, and what an embarrassment my existence had become. Many nights I just wallowed in this state for another few more beers. Clank, clank, clank, clank. Somehow I’d take care of my doggies, god knows how, and stumble into bed fully clothed and pass out. This fun experience would be practiced three to four times a week. Four if I was lucky, HA!

How I got sober?

So in paragraph six we get to an answer. No idea if it will be a good one or not. I tend to tangle up words and trip up a lot, but I’ll give it a shot. I often think I’m boring the shit out of others and they’re like get to the fucking point already. Living with depression, I’d read just about any self-help book in the hopes to quickly fix all my problems. You ought to see my kindle. Anyway, I stumbled upon Wayne Dyer when I was around 33 and it was about the same time Wayne was exploring his spiritual side. Now don’t jump the gun and think I got all holier than thou and Jesus saved me. But I did explore a church, around year two after The Fall, that welcomed everyone and believed in many masters such as Jesus, Buddha,…I will admit it did help at the time. It introduced me to the concept of I’m a spiritual being having a human experience and god isn’t “out there on a cloud” but rather the great spirit is within and all around us. So as shitty as my binges were going, there was a flicker of light starting within.

After cranking up my binges for three years it got to a point. I was lucky. I definitely didn’t feel lucky at the time, but I realized that the one thing that brought so much comfort into my life was now causing the most pain. It’s your tipping point. Even if everyone else saw it prior and you lived in denial it doesn’t fucking matter. What matters is you finally reach that point. The thing is if you never reach this point you will die either literally or figuratively. So for me, this was the point I finally start falling uP! I was still swilling brews but a seed of wisdom had been planted.

I became sick and tired of being sick and tired. Forty years of abuse will do that to you. I was sick and tired of waking up hungover, dehydrated, and trying to function throughout my day. I was sick and tired of the self-negative ego talk. I was sick and tired of hiding behind a beer bottle and not living a life. I was sick and tired of being lonely and crying my eyes out. I was sick and tired of the pressure to man up and not be a …! There has to be enough sick and tired’s to slow down the pendulum to eventually start getting it to swing the other way. Motivation won’t be enough. It must be a knowing that enough is enough. I started leaning into that flicker of light from within. I read at least ten books on getting and staying sober. I started following other sober bloggers. As I mentioned in my other post it was Annie Grace’s book, This Naked Mind, that helped confirm that for me alcohol is a poison and I can’t control it. It was a big fat lie society had been helping me pour down my throat for years. On February 16, 2019, I reached my beautiful tipping point.

How do I stay sober?

Again it’s that knowing within that keeps me sober. Sure Annie’s booked helped educate me, but there’s a huge difference between being book smart compared to gaining knowledge by experience. My above experiences finally led to this sober point. I was very fortunate to not have any physical withdraws and the emotional triggers I do have I can usually swat away. It does get much easier. I don’t go to AA, but I know many who do and swear by it. My hat is off to anyone who reaches out for help. It shows great braveness, self-love, and wisdom. The next piece are my practices that help keep me grounded and sober.

I know some are curious so here goes:

  • I get outdoors. I live in the beautiful state of Colorado up in the mountains. The mountains, trees, and big blue sky speaks to my soul. I get so much joy from a hike that it is my therapy.
  • I belong to this wonderful community online. It’s a loving community where nobody is judged and everyone is supported. The Fall taught me empathy and this is my passion now.
  • I have my own spiritual practice that reconnects me to my soul. If I had to label it’s shamanic based.
  • I follow a minimalist lifestyle.
  • I force myself to get out of my home and get social, let me be specific, with loving souls.
  • I stopped hanging out with negative and mean people even if society says I’m supposed to look the other way and be loyal, fuck that!
  • I attempt to catch my ego and tell it I disagree with that ridiculous statement. That’s my rewiring.
  • I tell myself often I love you Dwight Hyde and believe it. Self-love.
  • I have this fire lit within to improve many areas of my life and know by steadily taking my time walking with love I can accomplish anything.

Well, that’s it for this post, folks. I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted. I hope it helps someone a bit. I now treasure The Fall and bond with those who also came out on the other side. When in doubt focus on love.

I painted this April 19, 2015, a couple of months after moving into my rental and just a couple of months prior to the divorce becoming official. One of the lowest points in my life, but even then I knew love would be my guide.

 

Love Never Fails❤️

Dwight

 

35 thoughts on “Follow-up: How I got and stay sober

  1. Love reading all that you write. Never hesitate to share.
    Yes the one year milestone, say what you like, it is special however you choose to mark it.
    Thanks for sharing how you stay sober. Like to read what others do.
    Went for a walk yesterday and love being in nature. I have to push myself at times to remember to do these things in order to steer depression away from me. Prevention is easier but requires planning and self care. ❤️

    • Thanks, LT😊. I hear you on this! I often get cocky I guess and stop doing my practices when all is going good and the next thing I know the wheels on the bus start shaking. Oh shit..yep time to get back it.

  2. You never leave me bored! Keep on writing, we love it!

    I follow Annie on Instagram, I’ve been meaning to get her book. I’ll definitely have to now.

    Hiking in the mountains of Colorado sounds wonderful and therapeutic! Today we actually had some sun shine where I live and it was so pretty on the snow.

    You my friend have really faced that dragon and continue to WIN! Thanks for sharing your story!

  3. whoa..”how i abused alcohol”- that paragraph was ME to a “T” with the exception of the dogs and i was only able to do it 2-3 nights a week without losing my job..ha! But i am 5’2″ and (was) a steady 120 lbs and STILL could pound 10-12 beers in a night.My sh*t had been going on since 2012 and just escalating. My tears that last year were mainly realizing how much i had lost, how stupid i had been , and feeling completely helpless to fix any of it. Then, November 2018 came and a huge hammer came down to make me realize i needed, not wanted, NEEDED to put my big girl pants back on and straighten my life out. It’s been a long road, and of course , not perfect. I still fail in many ways. But i allow for that( another lesson). Thank you for sharing- you are truly an inspiration!

  4. How funny, we must have been telepathically connected just now because I just wrote a blog post attempting to figure out what my turning was, how I got and stayed sober! I can relate to so much of this and Annie’s book was definitely a huge lightbulb for me – I read it a few months into recovery and it really confirmed and put words on things I’d already sort of discovered and come to believe. I’d implore anyone reflecting on their alcohol consumption (abuse or just use!) to read it, it’s a knock-out. Thanks for sharing, my sober friend, and keep on sharing. Big hugs! ❤

  5. Sick and tired of being sick and tired – that resonates for me Dwight – thanks for sharing your story I’d not known it before – love your list of how you stay sober – got a few of those on mine too! 💞💞

  6. Absolutely, positively, completely, stunning post. So many good phrases and beautifully-said gifts of your soul in it; I cannot possibly name them all. And it was riveting. Just, Wow, Dwight. You are the man. 🙌 (I mean that in a very good way. 🌻) And a brilliant writer, too. Kudos, and thanks for all your very compassionate and unconditional support, from the very beginning of my own journey here in sobriety blogland. Much love 🙏❤️

  7. I have tears in my eyes Dwight. Such a powerful moving post explained so beautifully with vulnerability and honoring of self. Keep shining Dwight. You are a beacon of hope and success to all who read this post. Again, celebrating you! Congrats! ♥ Keeping you in my prayers.

  8. Thank you for writing this! So many gems in this post. Sick and tired, the Fall, the turning point, all such real things. I love how the Fall taught you empathy and how our biggest challenges bring out our biggest triumphs. 🖤🦋

  9. Keep strong my friend. Such a real and touching piece right there Dwight. Life’s full of missions and I felt your journey reading this post. Enjoy the outdoors, the Colorado mountains, wow what a back yard to be able to walk into.

  10. Thank you for sharing your story, Dwight! It is really helpful, as are all of your really lovely comments on all of our posts. You are a kind and generous soul! Thank you. 🤗

    • It was so interesting how Wayne could speak about spirituality and I wouldn’t run to the hills and I could also understand and relate. Many others I’d be like..huh🤪. That must of been amazing seeing him. I credit him for heading down a path of love.

  11. Hi Dwight , my buddy, great post and a great read for anyone trying to give up booze because for you and most of us it’s more than about giving up booze. It’s about transformation, evaluation, prioritising, looking out as well as in. You have made changes on so many levels. You’re so much more than the guy who gave up booze, you’re the guy that found himself, and isn’t that the fundamental thing we are all trying to do. Great stuff. Jim x

    • Thank you,Jim. I now find myself in this quiet space. A bit of mental and emotional exhaustion after an intense last year. Like you mentioned it’s beyond the booze. Not judging it. Just letting it be😊

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