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

 

1 year sober: Owning it!

I want to tell you about a dream I had. This was when my ex and I were still married planning out our divorce. A very hard time to say the least for both of us. One night as I was sleeping next to her I had the following dream. I’d come home and walked through the door. I looked across the room and my wife(ex) was completely white and shaking. She was so scared she couldn’t even speak. She was pointing around the corner. Like something beyond frightful was hiding. For once in my life I didn’t ignore it or run away. Without thinking I ran across the room, around the corner, and looked right at the monster and SCREAMED! After that I woke up.

Prior to quitting alcohol, I had a little voice within constantly asking:

  • If not now, then when? When? When will you truly live this life?
  • Are you happy about how you’re living? Is this the human experience you believe you were intended into this universe to follow?
  • What will be the biggest regret you’ll have on your deathbed looking back over your life?
  • Have you ever given your true self a chance?

I’m now 1 year sober sitting here feeling very proud, happy, and mostly just peaceful. Much of the guilt and shame is going away and self-love is starting to finally come back. I do want to say though, from my experince quitting alcohol and leaving the comfortable numb fog takes courage and tons of internal rewiring. There will be many mental, physical, and emotional battles you will face on your path. Some you will win; others you may lose. Regardless you will grow. Staring down your dragon will take everything you got, but oh is it ever worth it. Scream if you need to but wake up! If you need help get it! You won’t be alone. Don’t wait 40 years like me. It will be the most rewarding work of your life. Hell you’ll actually get your true life back. Lean in and have faith in that voice from within. It’s your guiding system – listen to it.

I thank you all for your love, inspiration, and support this last year and offer it right back!

Dwight

From The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown: “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

Please join me in supporting these beautiful brave souls:

Claire, Ditching the Wine
https://gettingsobernow.wordpress.com

Collette, Wine to water
http://wine2water.blog

Elizabeth, Without the wine
https://withoutthewhine.wordpress.com

GettingSoberGal, Just a gal trying to get sober
https://gettingsobergal.wordpress.com

Jackie, morrisfamily2222
https://morrisfamily2222.wordpress.com

Jim, Life beyond booze
https://formerdrinker.wordpress.com

Limetwiste, Moderately Sober
https://moderatelysober.home.blog

Lisa Marie, I love my new life!
https://ilovemynewlife.wordpress.com

Lovie Price, Wake Up!
https://theglassvidalia.home.blog

Msnewleaf, my life without alcohol
https://msnewleaf.com

Nadine, The Sobriety Tree
https://sobrietytree.com

Nelson, One Drunk’s Tale
https://onedrunkstale.wordpress.com

Celebrate YOU – Crank it up and dance in front of a mirror!
From YouTube: Sara Bareilles – Brave (Official Video)
https://youtu.be/QUQsqBqxoR4

Fill your world with silly love songs
From YouTube: Paul McCartney & Wings – Silly Love Songs
https://youtu.be/wh15LOppcWQ

Are you still reading??? Okay, last tip. Be kind to yourself and be silly! Life’s a frickin trip!!!

Okay, okay, I promise this it. Never ever over estimate a fist bump from your daughter when you tell her it’s been a year being sober and you need her to take some photos for the occasion. Priceless❤️

Initial observations being Alcohol-Free

When I say initial it’s only been 19 days, but coming off tipping brews for 40 years this is quite the change. I haven’t had any real physical reactions being AF and attitude wise I’ve been pretty pumped up, BUT…  I have noticed this slithering around me in my shadows:

– I’ve been noticing in the last few weeks I’m oversensitive and have been overreacting quite a bit.  This leads to anger.  Who knows right,  I may have been experiencing this forever and am now just figuring this out being out of the fog.  I’ve thought it over and over and each day I got closer and closer to naming it.  My anger is coming from my shame and regret.  I realize this is all natural, it doesn’t make it any easier.  

I played the whole alcohol game for 40 years.  From never giving myself a fighting chance, to marriage, kids, divorce, divorced kids, heartbroken, and debt.  All heavily influenced by alcohol.  I do love that I finally figure it out, my life and health is improving, and  I’d NEVER GO BACK.  It’s just that bitter taste.  I’ve heard the phrase, sometimes you never get over it, but you get through it.

I wasn’t ready until now, I get that.  I’m already telling myself I did awesome for figuring it out now, but for right now there is that bitter taste.  So I’m doing my work and going to my shadows.  It’s not easy and I realize that.  It will take time for sure.

One last thing I’d like to say.  For all of you doing this AF work (or considering it) in your 20s, 30s, and 40s I so applaud you!  Its fucking hard work and some of the environments you find yourself in at that stage make it even harder.    No way around it.  You though are so courageous and smart for taking these steps to be AF now and not in your 50s.  The work will free YOU and allow your “YourNameHere”Ness to shine as it was intended to.  If applicable,  it may save a marriage and allow you to be proud of doing everything you could do for your kids,  OR  If applicable, becoming AF may allow you to free yourself from a bad situation.

This isn’t being written for any pity.  It’s just my observation of me and maybe it will help others.  Also, for those going AF later in life you will know your not that only one with these feelings.

I’m going to continue to grow, learn, and rock this new life!!  From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for all your love and support!

* For those interested in learning more about alcohol and possibly exploring going AF check out these resources

  1. Read This Naked Mind by Annie Grace
  2. https://www.thisnakedmindcommunity.com
  3. https://learn.thisnakedmind.com/the-alcohol-experiment-registration

1 Week In – Alcohol Free

2-16-19: a new journey began

I’m in 1 week of my happily ever afterness of being sober! Well big whoop many may say..1 week…really?? Well it’s huge for a guy like me who’s been drinking alcohol for 40 years. Yep started dabbling with it at age 13. I grew up in a blue collar town where there was more bars then anything else. In high school we lived the whole sex, drugs, and rock n roll scene. Heck when you came into our front door of our home you were greeted with a 8 stool bar and asked what you drinking?

At 53, it’s just time for ME. I’ve toyed with idea of soberness for years now and I have finally gotten to the point where I’m just DONE with alcohol. More to come on this topic – baby steps just making it public.

In honor of this splendid direction of my life, I present to you a happy sober soul named Dwight David Hyde. Yes, I’m proud of me!!!

Feeling Great👍