233 days sober. My alcohol cravings are gone, and have been for some time now.

No longer do I pine for champagne to toast something special or yearn for a margarita to celebrate Cinco de Mayo (more like 6 margs in the old days). All physical, emotional and behavioral triggers have vanished. I believe in miracles, and this is no doubt an example of one.

When I got sober almost 8 months ago, I believed I’d have to go through all four seasons with their associated holidays and special occasions before the cravings would stop. I expected I’d struggle through Christmas and New Year’s and spring fever and summer patio drinking fests and early fall wine parties before I felt confident that I wouldn’t be tempted any longer. And some of those triggers did happen, particularly around the holidays when I was still very new to sobriety. But from what I’m experiencing now, the temptations are gone well before the one year mark.

I credit a strong AA program, help from my amazing sponsor, and the 12 Steps for this. Working the steps (I’m on number 11) has accelerated my immunity to cravings and has been transformational. The steps took me out of the place where I thought drinking was my only problem. They helped me see that getting drunk was the result of many, many other things that had built up in my heart and head over 46 years. Drinking was my go-to, feel-good solution for whatever was ailing me. It allowed me to be someone else for a night. It gave me the false confidence to try new things and be the person I felt I should be. It drowned my sorrows and cured my ills, or so I believed.

Now, I’m in the place of just being. Being myself, good or bad, and being ok with it. More than ok, actually. I have learned to accept who I am and like myself again. When I experience a feeling, I don’t try to numb it or enhance it with alcohol. I let myself feel it, down to my core. Sometimes it’s amazing, and sometimes it’s painful, but it’s real and untouched by any substance.

It’s a wonderful feeling to realize that I go days at a time when alcohol doesn’t cross my mind. I now see my weekly AA meetings as opportunities to listen and learn from others, and to gently and continually shape me into the person I was always meant to be, instead of just the place I go to keep from drinking. It’s been a wonderful and effortless shift that happened so naturally, I didn’t even feel it.

I’m so grateful for a life that no longer feels like a constant struggle of me vs. me.

-Also posted on The Recovery Revolution.

4 thoughts on “First the Grind, Then the Effortless

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