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I’ve been noticing this recently with regards to my emotional and physical health. I get in a good rhythm with things and I’m firing on all cylinders being happy and healthy and I think, “This is great! Look at clever me!” but before long the inevitable happens and things flip and change.
Something emotionally gritty will come along and while dealing with that I’ll slowly drop into a melancholy phase. I’ll feel a bit glum and negative and the world will appear flat and colourless. All the things that usually make me happy seem inconsequential and it’s an effort to get through each day.
But now - after 5 and a half years of being sober and getting to know the truth about life and my emotional rhythms - I know not to panic or worry that I’m going to fall into a never-ending pit of despair. I know to just ride out the storm and trust that things will eventually flip and change back again. That the strong and together part of me will come back fighting.
So, I just let myself be a bit flat and low, a bit piggy and miserable, all the while trusting that eventually I’ll lift back up again and get my act together. And sure enough eventually I do!
That’s the bit I love. The bit where my ‘emotional hangover’ fades and I finally start getting perky and fighting fit again. The positive endorphins start to flow, my energy lifts up and I feel good again.
And because I get through all my low phases without numbing or avoiding, I learn just a little bit more about myself each time it happens.
I learn that it’s ok to feel glum and flat.
I learn that it’s normal to have emotional ups and downs (when I was drinking I tried to keep everything upbeat all of the time which was silly because life’s not like that).
I learn that if I allow myself to fully feel my own emotional storms I become more empathetic and sympathetic towards other people and their struggles.
I learn that feeling the bad phases makes me appreciate the smooth phases much more!
I learn that practicing self-care through rough patches is rather lovely and makes me feel kindly toward myself.
I learn that tough emotions won’t kill me. That I’m strong and resilient and capable and brave.
I don’t think I’m alone in this. I think this is the experience that all of us sober people have. Deep down we know that although it sucks to feel "the feels" all of the time, ultimately it is rewarding and good.
You just have to remember to notice all the subtle work that we are doing all of the time.
Because we sober people - we are all legends in our own lifetimes.
And that’s the truth.