After 5 years, it is getting easier. I still crave alcohol, maybe a couple times a month, depending on the circumstances. Dead pet = craving. Bad PMS = craving. But I remember that alcohol can never alleviate my suffering. I understand the source of suffering much better this year. It's just believing thoughts. And no thought is unequivocally true. So it makes sense that instead of drinking because I believe some false thoughts, I can just notice the thoughts are false and move on with my life.
I was in a terrible mood yesterday. Crying while I scooped the cat litter. Taking all this anger out on my workout. Didn't know what to do with myself, thinking hateful thoughts. Pissed at myself for being hateful.
Then I remembered a technique that always works when I'm really crabby. I notice. I start saying to myself, "Yes, I'm exhausted. Yes, I'm in a bad mood. Yes, I'm thinking hateful thoughts. Yes I am stressed about my body. Yes I am worrying." And on and on, until I take interest in what's going on with me. I start feeling curious about the experience. Wow, all these things are happening in my mind? Usually I just go along with it, falling victim to my mind's turbulent litany of anxious, judgmental thoughts.
But when I find myself in a terrible mood, when nothing else is helping, noticing helps. It's energizing. It gets me unstuck. I see how it's just thoughts that are not even true, and I can let them go.
I would not have any idea how to do this if I hadn't quit drinking. The greatest gift of sobriety this year is getting some real perspective on my mind. Being better able to be the watcher of my experience. Suffering much less, because I don't let my thoughts stress me out so much.
Now today I get to celebrate! All the hundreds of days not spent hungover, all the thousands of dollars not spent on blacking out (my sober app says I've saved $18,275). I'm going to order Instacart and pizza and stay in my special-occasion loungewear all day. Yes I am 5 years sober and yes I am very happy about it!
Which reminds me of a Byron Katie quote, "There is nothing more exciting than loving what is." I believe that more every day.