Sober Life is like a Mary Oliver quote

I’ve been more committed to practicing gratitude lately and I base it around one general concept to get me started. I’ll try to explain.

So back in the day whenever I had anything from a severe hangover to just the tail-end of mild hanxiety, I would emotionally assault myself about why I, AGAIN, was feeling like dog shit and wishing that I hadn’t gotten drunk. During this process I’d have this vision, or daydream maybe you could call it, of what it would be like to be a person who could say truthfully and confidently out loud “I don’t drink.” It felt like being in fresh air, or being in the forest in the Fall, alone, something like that. It felt exactly like a freaking Mary Oliver quote and gave me butterflies but also made me sad because I couldn’t avoid getting drunk long enough to make my life like that. It was just a wish.

I thought about it all the time, probably daily, and it came in two versions. The first was kind of a combination of the feelings that can come up when seeing someone’s “perfect” life (i.e. highlight reel) on Instagram, mixed with seeing a woman in a cute outfit who’s out for a morning run looking happy and peaceful while I was on the bus to UBC trying not to vomit or have an anxiety attack. This version is based on wanting what we don’t have.

The second version was more like what I first described, the Mary Oliver quotes! This version is based on knowing what we want and knowing it’s possible, somehow, but still feels really far off…

So, back to the gratitude practice. I remind myself that everything I wanted back then, I HAVE IT. Fresh air. Rainy runs. Trails. Morning coffee without nausea. A sense of being grounded that I can tap into if I decide, even on days that are overwhelming or stressful. All I have to do is think about the fact that as long as I pay attention, life now feels like Mary Oliver quotes most of the time, and it’s fucking awesome.

What do you have now that you always wished for? Happy Sunday xo

Jamie

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“How to Quit Drinking”

How to Quit Drinking.” – an instruction manual I searched for off and on for close to ten years.

This of course was after searching for a few other things (also over and over again) that by now I’ve learned are super common for many people to poke into a search engine. Things like:

“help with drinking, not AA”

“how do you know if you’re an alcoholic?”

“is there a spectrum of alcoholism?”

“how do you know if you drink too much?”

“how do you know if you should quit drinking?”

“how to cure a hangover”

I wanted someone who: 1. was around my age, 2. had a similar history/patterns of unhealthy coping mechanisms and self-sabotage (though I don’t think I could have identified it this way at the time), and 3. had SUCCEEDED and didn’t hate their life, TO TELL ME HOW TO DO IT.

My questions for this imaginary person or instruction manual I couldn’t seem to find were along the lines of:

  • how do I quit drinking when it’s the only thing I really do?
  • how do I quit drinking when every person I know drinks?
  • how could I possibly function in this society? I’ll be an outcast
  • who will I hang out with if I quit drinking?

And, the question for ME that swirled around my head in various forms, but I never directly asked myself..

How can I ever live the life I want if my beiefs and behaviour don’t change?

Fast-forward to 2021. With the help of many others, I have become the instruction manual I used to search for. I took courses, implemented ALL I learned about confidence from Suzanne (self-awareness, facing fears, self-limiting beliefs, self-trust), read every book I could get my hands on, had a pen-pal, wrote a reflective blog, and finally got to know myself.

I can relate to you if you’re relating to this post, so reach out if you feel like it’s your time. I will help you embrace a sober lifestyle with confidence and pride so you can feel better, save money and have more time and energy!

xo Jamie

Good things are coming!

Wow okay I’m so excited about something ELSE ahah (always something, gotta stay excited!!!)

Today Suzanne and I decided to collaborate on a confidence & sobriety project!!! We have yet to establish exactly how it will materialize (virtual course, group program…) but the combination is going to help a lot of people, this I know.

Confidence is one of a few major components of my 5-Week Sober Lifestyle Coaching Program. I associate my successful sober lifestyle, as well as general love of life, with all of the work I have accomplished with Suzanne’s guidance since 2011.

If you have worked with Suzanne, read my blogs or testimonials about her life-changing confidence coaching, or are just feeling curious about her after reading the post I linked above, I want you to stay tuned about our collaboration.

Good things are always coming. Say it with me, “good things are always coming my way!

Especially in these weird COVID’y times, I think it’s critical to stay excited and inspired – if you need a hand with any of that, please let me know

xo

Jamie

I didn’t want to get up this morning…

and then a thought popped into my head.. a thought you might think would have faded by now, or lost its excitement…

I DON’T HAVE A HANGOVER.

Seriously. Over 5 years later and I can check in with that before 6am, half conscious. It gave me some butterflies and I got up and made the coffee! After I chugged some water, I enjoyed my coffee in bed before I went downstairs to the treadmill!

Sobriety doesn’t get old. It might be trending, but it’s really not a fad because it doesn’t go out of style once you experience it. Personally, every day I try to remind myself that I now live the lifestyle that I wanted for YEARS but didn’t initiate for myself.

I am getting really excited to launch my sober lifestyle coaching program, the pilot project is underway and in March it’s officially a go. I can’t wait to help people live the life style they want. I always wished someone would say to me, “Jamie, stop Googling do I need to quit drinking and just let me help you DO it! Get off the fence!”. Now I will be that person for others.

Have an awesome day!!!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hello!

I know Valentine’s Day is really cheesy and annoying in a lot of ways, but I still want to send warm wishes.

Valentine’s Day directly relates to sobriety, in my opinion, because when you decide to get sober, you HAVE to decide that you deserve more and that you’re worthy of a higher-class lifestyle. This is self-love.

The term self-love makes some people gag. I get it. I don’t really like the sound of it either, it has a corny and basic bitch ring to it. LOL. But the CONCEPT is truly crucial to not just happy sobriety, but living happily in general.

Self-awareness, self-image, and all the layers of SELF-CONFIDENCE aren’t things that a lot of us were taught. These are skills, not just things you either have, or don’t. We have to work on them REGULARLY. These are the keys to being happy (again, my opinion), so today as a suggestion, answer these questions and then go about your day with the intention to feel strong, hard-core, unique and sure of yourself.

  1. What are my 2 favourite personality qualities about myself?
  2. What are my 2 favourite physical qualities about myself?
  3. What is one thing I am really good at?
  4. What is one thing people ask me for help or advice with?
  5. What do I have in my life today that I wanted SO BADLY five or ten years ago?

Happy Valentine’s Day to YOU. Be positively selfish!

(old favourite REPOST) I quit drinking and discovered I’m an introvert.

(Originally posted February 2018)

My entire life I thought I was a straight-up social virtuoso. Fear of missing out plagued me any time I couldn’t attend a party, outing, get-together or weekend away. Any event that might involve alcohol I HAD to be part of.

Being someone who’s gone to school, plays sports, has had many jobs, including in the restaurant and bar industry, and who LOVED to drink, I know a shitload of people. Meeting people has always been easy for me and it still is, but keeping up with acquaintances and the social scene in general seems to have been mostly due to drinking.

Like it or not, alcohol is something that a majority of society has in common. It doesn’t matter if two people share the same hobbies, values or passions, it’s pretty easy to have a drink and small talk with almost anyone. I bet you can think of at least a few people you’ve shared an alcoholic beverage with who are SO random and you have zero things in common with, or maybe don’t even know anything about whatsoever. I can. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s funny and awesome and I am not judging it whatsoever. It’s just that when I eliminated alcohol, I eliminated that shared interest. The one thing I had in common with many people, places and situations changed and I had to re-evaluate how I enjoyed spending my time.

Introversion is not the same thing as being shy or having anxiety about social situations. I am still a friendly and outgoing person. I think I’m approachable. I love to talk about things (even feelings) with my close friends, family, husband and run buddies. Sometimes I’m a comedian. Public speaking and karaoke don’t scare me at ALL, and neither do group projects. I am not shy. Sometimes I go to running events that have thirty thousand participants and hang out with people I’ve never met before.

Introversion is a trait that can be described as more of a focus on internal thoughts and feelings than on external stimulation. This hits the nail on the head for where I’m at these days as a sober person. Being around lots of people in a loud or busy environment drains me and makes me feel agitated. I usually sneak away. Nowadays, I’d rather organize my compression socks by colour than go to most parties. Not pointing a finger at drinking parties, I’m talking about any moderately hectic social interaction that lasts more than two hours and doesn’t revolve around something personally fascinating. I’m not anti-social or a hermit, but unless it’s my super close friends getting together, or an activity I am passionate about, I’d just kinda rather do something alone or with my husband, who happens to be my best friend. Alcohol used to be my favourite reason to go out and do anything with a group, but not anymore.

Energized and recharged by solitude, that’s where I’m at. I never thought I’d say it until a couple years ago, but I LOVE being alone! Hiking, running, travelling, reading. When I was a big drinker, I didn’t know how to be alone. Maybe it was the hangover anxiety, or the fact that I didn’t know (or really like) myself at ALL and needed to be around others for distraction. It makes sense, since for a very long time I didn’t really have any specific hobbies besides partying, so when party time was over and I had to be by myself, I hated it. Now, when I go home after work on a Friday night, I am usually overjoyed to not go anywhere else hahaha. On my birthday I ran 33km by myself and then had an exercise party with twelve people and no liquor. If someone told me this in 2010 I’d be like WTF??

In my case, this transition to self-awareness and in turn, introversion, happened because I quit alcohol. Blaming booze isn’t something I’m into; personal responsibility is real and alcohol didn’t MAKE me do, or not do, anything. But I really did let it hold me back. Taking it away gave me the opportunity, finally, to get to know myself and learn what I’m actually like. Then it took some more time to get used to it, and to not judge myself for wanting to stay home on a Saturday night and read Descent into Madness: The Diary of a Killer in my bed, not even wondering what anyone else is up to. Can you guess what I did last night? LOL.

What I’ve gladly discovered is that as a sober person, I’m still outgoing, fun, brave and adventurous with a serious sense of humour. I’m still social too, but in different ways. On the other hand, though, I’ve also learned that I like having a handful of very close friends, versus that plus twenty groups of acquaintances. I’ve realized that I’m independent and self-aware. My preference is doing whatever the fuck I want, often alone, instead of trying to keep up with everyone else at all times. And as of recently, I’m totally okay with it.

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