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❤️

You

Regardless of the current circumstances of your life, the fact remains you are here. The universe intended you here for the light only YOU are capable of providing. It’s your journey to fill your vessel with love and shine inward and outward to ALL. We need you more then ever to show up now❤️

Slow down!

It’s interesting how one sentence from a previous blog inspires a whole new entry.

I’ve been hearing more and more about this concept of slowing down, do the work, put in the time, and if then and only then will the progress come. In the last week I picked up on it from Dave Ramsey to GaryVee. I hadn’t put to much thought to it, but after listening it goes against everything we’ve been taught in these times. Here in the States we want things fast and easy. Give me that McMansion home, BMW, and oh yah let’s add I want be an entrepreneur straight out of college making over a million…And I want it NOW! This is just part of our crazy Facebook perfect collective conscious beaming consumerism media machines. That was a mouth full.

You may be asking what does any of that have to do with us? I’m taking the liberty of saying us because I feel we all are much the same. Who out of all of you wouldn’t want to go to a few counseling sessions and poof all your depression is cured? We know it doesn’t work that way, but every time it comes we beat ourselves up and treat ourselves as failures if it sticks around for days or weeks. How about instead of taking years to finally get sober we could pop a pill and the next day we’re dancing on the pink cloud. While we’re at let’s get on the latest diet, join the gym, and within 30 days drop 100 pounds and be crushing it!

Sounds pretty darn silly, but I can admit I’ve subjected myself to this unrealistic thinking at times. I see others who make it look so simple that I feel like a loser. The thing is most success doesn’t come without putting in hard work consistently for a very very very long time. Nobody wants to wait for two years to get down to a certain size and healthy lifestyle that has turned into a habit. Nobody wants to grind it out for 7 years to be that successful business owner. And nobody wants to wait many years, like 10, before buying their first house like their parents did. We’d rather apply for credit, buy the house, and go instantly into debt for the rest of our life and never have any options of leaving the rat race.

It takes years for us to realize our own bullshit. It’s been fed to us daily that we no longer question it. What if…what if we took a step back, slowed down, and got real with ourselves? How much work/actions have we taken to fight our particular dragon? Did we fight real hard for 30 days and then after our first failure we just said ah well that’s just the way it is for me?

What if we picked just one of our dragons be it alcohol, depression, health, debt, or whatever and came up with an action plan to move forward just a tiny bit everyday? Instead of getting discouraged we just move slower, get up each time after failures, and know we are making progress. Wouldn’t this be a much kinder realistic approach for ourselves? These dragons can’t be slayed easily. No way around it.

Do the work! We need to do the work each day slowly and consistently. Also, and this is very important, be kind to yourself always.

I forget this sometimes and I know you do to. We are all beautiful capable souls that are intended to shine.

Shine!

Dwight

Six Months Sober

I thought 6 months of being sober after drinking for 40 years warranted a post. Plus I thought for those starting down this path that hopefully there may be some information that would resonate with what their experiencing. When I quit drinking I was more then ready. There was much guilt the day after a binge session plus way to many hangovers. I knew it wasn’t healthy for me in any fashion at all. There was also my soul laying down a slow steady bass beat in the background of give yourself a chance Dwight. At 53, I had been leaning on alcohol since I was 13. I had so many Day Ones I couldn’t even count. But this time around I was truly onboard.

I started my sobriety 3 plus years out from my divorce after being married for 16 years with two kids. I was making some progress on digesting that whole crushing scene plus I had less then 1 year left on paying off $35,5000 in debt. Coming up out of those low valleys encouraged me to take on my alcohol dragon. My first month of being sober I pumped myself up by reading tons of books on quitting alcohol. Reading everyone’s story with eventually happy endings definitely helped push me along. It was like when you first start off on a new job or exercise program your all jazzed and usually surrounded by other like minded people. I joined a forum and just immersed myself into this new world of how to be sober. I didn’t go down the AA route because for me I have my own hang ups with religion and the 12 steps. That’s just me though. I’ve read many books and follow many bloggers where it works for them and I fricken applaud them. The one book for me that really helped with the transition was by Annie Grace called This Naked Mind. I’ll do anther post on that someday. So yeah, the first month I was cleaning out my body from the poison and feeling pretty darn excited.

At about at 3 weeks the “glitz” wasn’t shining as much.  The realization came that I no longer had my tool to escape from reality.  All of my main issues around depression, debt, divorce, health, insecurities…. were still there plus now I was feeling guilt on how alcohol had harmed me for all those years.  Also, I had to back away from the sober community I joined, because seeing so many folks repeat day 1 over and over was almost like a trigger for me and I certainly didn’t want to go down that path anymore.  What I did do though is start following some sober bloggers here in WordPress who had been successful being sober for some time and that has helped me tremendously.

I won’t go month by month but needless to say it’s a shit load of hard work!  Hard work that I’m so grateful for!!  Not being able to check out when life or my thoughts start fucking with me was extremely difficult.  Just sitting there and finally for once in my life just looking straight at it and dealing with it sober took everything I had.  The good news is I’m getting better at it and each time I feel a bitter better about myself and I’ll just say it – Proud!

One thing I learned was that many of us who stop drinking including myself pick other  coping mechanisms.  Mine was emotional eating and I’m currently working my ass off , literally, on curbing that.  This inner work is a trip and the ego is a nasty little fuck!

So at 6 months I’m feeling so much more love for myself and know I’ll never go back.  My soul is smiling more each day and my confidence is growing. The support and bonding here on WordPress is just priceless.  I know I still have a lot of work to do, but now I’m taking control of my life,  living my life sober, and discovering a new power within.  I hope that for all of you.

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

  1. Read This Naked Mind by Annie Grace
  2. https://www.thisnakedmindcommunity.com
  3. https://learn.thisnakedmind.com/the-alcohol-experiment-registration
  4. https://functioningguzzler.wordpress.com
  5. https://untipsyteacher.com
  6. https://sobrietytree.com
  7. http://bumpyyear.blog
  8. https://storminawineglass.com

Motivation:

LIVE YOUR LIFE LIKE YOU’RE THE HERO IN YOUR MOVIE – Joe Rogan FightMediocrity

It’s never to late. I’m making this my fucking comeback story and YES for once I’m the Hero!!!

If you have questions or comments you don’t want to post here you can always email me at dwight@FadedJeansLiving,com

Thank you for reading and your support!