Why Waking Up Is Sobriety’s Greatest Gift
I could win the lottery, get laid, and meet my soul mate today, and yet still the best thing to happen me all day would be the moment I woke up a few hours ago.
I tell people this and they think I’ve gone crazy, but it’s true:
The absolute best thing that happens on any given day is waking up in a morning.
I’m a recovering alcoholic.
That means that I can remember -quite vividly- a time when waking up in the morning didn’t happen at all.
It was more like lunch time or the middle of the afternoon, and there was certainly nothing about it that could be enjoyed.
The horrible, dry mouth, the sharp, intense pain, burning a hole through the side of my brain as I spent a good ten minutes coughing up a lung full of bile and filth and poison, I remember all of that as vividly as I remember the churning stomach, the aching limbs, the red, stinging eyes.
I remember it all, and I also remember that the physical consequences of waking up after drinking were never as bad, nor as painful, as the mental and emotional consequences.
I remember fear, dread, despair, and confusion.
I remember the mental effort it took to piece together the night before, and the sickening lump that would drop into my fit when all those pieces connected to remind me of the pain, destruction and chaos is caused the night before.
I remember the self-loathing, the guilt, shame, and remorse, all feelings that would only subside -briefly- once my body became able to handle more alcohol so that I could take a drink and mask them in a temporary numbness.
That, my friends, is what waking up used to be like for me, and that’s why waking up is now the best part of even the most exciting of days.
When I wake up today, there is no pain, only peace. No fear, only excitement and optimism for the day ahead, and no mental agony in trying to remember the day before – only fond memories that leave me waking up with a smile.
As a result of my sobriety, I was able to quit smoking, so I no longer have to spend the first ten minutes of my day coughing up my lungs. Instead, i simply lie there for a few moments – taking in a big deep breath, relaxing, looking forward to the day ahead.
Nor do I have to deal with feelings of self-loathing, shame, or guilt.
Because I live a sober life today, I have nothing to be guilty or ashamed of, and I find that each new day presents an opportunity to learn more about how to truly love myself.
Because of all these things, waking up is the best thing I do all day, and this has a knock-on effect for the rest of my day.
When things are good, they’re a bonus, a welcome
addition to the joy I experienced earlier that morning.
When things are not so good, those wonderful mornings make it easier to get through.
There’s two reasons for this:
1: The bad things are easier to deal with when you’ve had a great start to the day and put yourself in a good frame of mind.
2: You always know that even the worst of days are going to come to an end and that you can wake up the following morning with a renewed sense of optimism and try again.
I’m not one for telling others what to do, but if you are in recovery, then I do encourage you to really cherish waking up a morning.
Compared to the horror of ‘coming to’ after a night on the drink, waking up clean, sober, and happy is truly a gift. In my case, it’s the greatest gift I’ve been given in five years of sobriety which have given me more beautiful gifts than I could have ever imagined.