3 Loving Mantras for Early Sobriety
Oh, Valentine’s Day. Every year, you remind me of one of the biggest crossroads I ever came across in my love life.
Eight years ago, almost to the day, Dom and I moved into our first home together, high on love and hope for our future…
A few short months later, I almost broke up with the love of my life because he wanted me to stop drinking.
It’s true. I almost chose my love of alcohol over real, pure love.
He never gave me an ultimatum, and there were also other factors in my decision to stop, but for the first time, I could see how ridiculous and damaging my relationship with alcohol had become. How easily drinking can twist our thinking and systematically destroy everything that truly matters to us.
This week, as we celebrated an extended Valentine’s Day by swimming at the beach and watching random 80’s movies (you know, just normal everyday stuff), I couldn’t help but think of how far we’ve come.
So many beautiful souls write to me to confide that they feel broken; that they’ve messed up too many times. To which I say: our relationships heal when we do.
Start within, angel. Forgive yourself. Every new moment is a chance to start again.
And since it’s Valentine’s Day, and we could all do with a little more love in our lives, here are three of my favourite loving mantras for early sobriety (and always):
1. What Would Love Do?
This mantra is one of my all-time favourites. It helped me so much in early sobriety, reminding me that my long term health and happiness were worth so much more than any temporary emotion or craving.
Love doesn’t bow to peer pressure. It isn’t interested in instant gratification. Love is invested in the long game. Love wants what’s ultimately best for you.
And I continue to use this mantra to this day.
Whenever I’m feeling torn about a decision – wanting to choose the right option but not sure what that option is – this question prompts me to stop, reflect, breathe, and move forward from a more healthy, empowered, and loving place.
Would love forgive? Protect your gentle heart by maintaining healthy boundaries? Take the time to communicate more deeply?
Would love try again?
What would love do?
2. BE the Energy you Want to Attract
I remember the first time I heard someone say, “Instead of focusing on how much love you’re giving, or how much you’re receiving, why don’t you just practice being love?”
Something about that wording just blew my mind. It felt like a huge weight lifted, and all the noise just vanished.
Was I being love in my relationships, or was I preoccupied with keeping score? Was I being love when I was alone with my thoughts; in every moment?
Did I even know how to be love?
It reminded me of a heartbreaking quote from the final episode of Mad Men, when a man in Don Draper’s counselling group shared:
“They should love me! Maybe they do, but I don’t even know what it is. You spend your whole life thinking you’re not getting it; people aren’t giving it to you. Then you realise they’re trying, and you don’t even know what it is.”
What do you want to see in the world? More love, compassion, strength, fairness?
Why not be that?
Because, as Wayne Dyer shared so eloquently:
“You don’t attract what you want. You attract what you are.”
3. I Choose Love
Did you ever watch the late-2000’s TV show, Californication? I remembered liking it many years ago (back when I was drinking) and when I spotted it on a streaming channel recently, I was curious to find out why.
It didn’t take long for it to hit me.
It was that I so deeply recognised the tortured soul in the main character, played by David Duchovny.
In particular, I recognised the destructive spirals. How he’d make a mistake and hate himself for it, and how that self-loathing would drive him into even more mistakes and misery… and so on, as he continued to rip apart his life, career, and relationships.
It’s a pattern of behaviour I first became familiar with in my teenage obsession with food and my body: eating something unhealthy and berating myself for it, which only led to eating more junk as a way of ‘punishing’ myself.
This doozie was quickly followed by two decades of doing reckless things while drinking, and hating myself for them. Naturally, I believed the only way to shut out my self-loathing was to drink again. Which led to more devastation and regrets, and on and on the cycle went.
Until I finally tried something new.
When I shifted my approach from a place of self-loathing (fear of not being good enough) to a place of love (or even just curiosity, rather than judgement), I finally managed to break out of the cycle.
Fear of calories became a love of eating the rainbow – and whaddya’ know, the weight finally shifted for good.
Fear of sobriety became a love of fully exploring life alcohol-free – and my broken heart and lost trust in myself slowly, but surely, healed.
The truth is that being hard on myself never helped; it only ever made things worse.
No matter what wild, stress-inducing phase you’re in right now, I promise, alcohol won’t help. Only love will. Self-love, as well as love and kindness for one another.
Whether you find yourself struggling with cravings for food, alcohol – or even guilt over not being more productive – how can you be kinder to yourself today?
Where can you choose love?
Want more sober tools and strategies? I have a ton of resources for you!
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Ooh, we dive deep into all the big topics in this one: identifying triggers, conquering cravings, overcoming self-sabotage, the benefits of ‘moving the goalpost’, and my thoughts on the concept of ‘forever’.
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