TWENTY LIFE LESSONS FROM TWENTY YEARS OF SOBRIETY🎂🎈💐

Today I have 20 years of sobriety. (Which must be some sort of accounting error because when did I become a person old enough to have been sober 20 years. 🙄) I'm so grateful to everyone who has helped me along the way. Sobriety has taught me so much more than how not to use. And it all helps in my life, relationships and work too.
  1. 1.
    Show up and tell the truth.
    It really is that simple. This might seem obvious to you but it sure as hell wasn't to me. I had to practice showing up. I had to practice telling the truth. I had to learn that the earth wouldn't swallow me whole if I did.
  2. 2.
    When you're wrong, promptly admit it.
    Take full responsibility. Apologize for your part in things. Don't worry about other people's reactions and responses. That's not yours.
  3. 3.
    What other people think of you is none of your business.
    I still struggle with this one so much. But not as much as I used to. I still want everyone to like me, but it doesn't hold me hostage anymore. And every once in a while I hit the sweet spot of truly not giving a fuck if someone doesn't.
  4. 4.
    Worry about your own side of the street.
    Nothing is easier than avoiding self-reflection in favor of getting all up in other people's business. Worry about your own shit.
  5. 5.
    Ask for help if you need it.
    Basic right? Still sooooo hard for me. But I'm getting better at it. Incrementally.
  6. 6.
    Give help when you're asked.
    Unless it's unsafe or unwise to do so. Being here for each other is kind of the whole point. And nothing will take you outside of your self-focus more than helping someone else.
  7. 7.
    Everyone has their own path to follow.
    You don't get to choose it for them or force them to follow yours. Letting go of other people's outcomes is a lifelong effort.
  8. 8.
    Breathe.
    For me, it's now meditation but some days I still need the reminder to take a breath. Seems important. And there's an inexplicable power in pausing.
  9. 9.
    Practice restraint of pen and tongue.
    I know those of you who read my lists are thinking, "THIS is what it looks like when she's holding back?" Imagine what it would look like if I didn't! The old test is asking yourself, "Does it need to be said? Does it need to be said now? Does it be said by me?" (My automatic response is still always YES!!! But turns out that's not always correct.") And when it comes to what I write, whether it's a text or an email, I wanna be able to stand by it and I don't wanna have to apologize for it.
  10. 10.
    Speak up.
    I know that seems contrary to #9 but both are essential. It's just the balance, man! Having a voice is crucial to feeling valid, for me. If it does need to be said, said now, and said by you, then say it. But maybe think as much about how you're saying it as what you're saying.
  11. 11.
    Holding on to anger and resentment hurts you way more than it hurts other people.
    An old one, I know, but it's so true. My being angry and resentful at someone has never, ever changed them. I'm not saying I don't GET angry and resentful. (I kinda consider it a part-time job.) I'm just saying I strive to actively work through my feelings and not let them take me down.
  12. 12.
    Worrying about something doesn't change the outcome.
    I have to remind myself of this every day. I'm so prone to the anxiety of "what-ifs" that I didn't understand that the amount of energy I put into freaking out about things that haven't happened yet is completely and totally useless. And I need every bit of energy I can muster.
  13. 13.
    And regretting something won't change the past.
    Again: on the daily. Accepting my mistakes and fuck-ups as part of the journey helps me get out of the bed in the morning. Shame and regret are heavy, useless burdens to bear.
  14. 14.
    Practice gratitude.
    Because it's not a decision or a state of being, it's a muscle. You have to keep working on it.
  15. 15.
    How you feel is not permanent.
    Commonly known as "This too shall pass." I've stuck around long enough to know that even the deepest grief, sorrow and despair are not permanent. They have always abated or changed into something else. I constantly have to tell myself, "It will not feel this way forever."
  16. 16.
    Just because something is uncomfortable or hurts doesn't mean it's the wrong thing.
    I always assumed if I was struggling or suffering, it was because I was doing something wrong. Sometimes things feel hard because they're supposed to feel hard.
  17. 17.
    Stick with the winners.
    Okay, so there's some old-school playground mentality in the duality of "winners" versus "losers," but the point remains the same: stick with the people who have what you want and who are what you want to be.
  18. 18.
    Change will not kill you.
    It's actually what we're supposed to do.
  19. 19.
    And neither will fear.
    Fear is just fear. I'm not saying it doesn't suck. I'm just saying it used to level me and now I get that it's part of the human condition. And that I can survive it.
  20. 20.
    Be humble.
    In recovery, we use the phrase "remaining right-sized." As in, remembering that I'm not the worst piece of shit who ever lived and I'm not the greatest either. I'm just a human among humans. And I'm so grateful to even be here.