3 Ways to Deal with Disappointment in Sobriety
Let’s face it, disappointment is an unfortunate part of life – usually occurring at the most inconvenient times, and causing a string of emotions.
For example, what happens when you have your heart set on your first post-pandemic trip in three years?
This whole tale started last Spring, when I fell in love with a colleague’s branding photos. Dom and I were working hard behind-the-scenes on a fun new project for you that requires some new snaps, and since this talented photographer’s style matched so perfectly, it felt like kismet.
There was just one teensy little catch. This talented photographer was located in Queensland. As in, the other side of the country!
But I loved these photos so much, I wasn’t going to let a 5 hour flight stand in my way!
All jacked up on the excitement of a NEW PLAN, by November 2021, I’d booked the photographer, shoot location, and makeup artist, as well as flights, accommodation, and car hire.
We were due to fly in January 2022 and were beyond excited! With our state’s border closed for most of the pandemic, we’d felt isolated in more ways than one, for far too long. Finally, it was reopened and we’d be moving forwards!
Then COVID cases began to spiral in Australia, and just a few weeks before we were due to fly, the state government reinstated our hard border and we were no longer permitted to travel.
We were crushed.
But, don’t you worry. If there’s one thing sobriety has taught me, it’s how to be resilient.
By May of this year, it seemed the situation had settled down. Once again, I booked the photographer, shoot location, makeup artist, flights, accommodation, and car hire.
I knew it was going to happen this time. I’d mended the outfits I needed to take, and made a million lists of props and things so I wouldn’t forget anything. I ate well, and exercised to shift the last of the pandemic pounds and feel more confident in front of the camera. We packed our bags early and told my Queensland friends we were coming.
And then, just three days before we were due to fly, Dom tested positive to COVID.
Sadly, I tested positive a few days after that, and *poof!* all our travel dreams went up in isolation smoke.
When stuff like this happens, it can be so easy to throw in the towel on our intentions. It can be so tempting to fall back into old patterns – or, if we’re in early sobriety – to fall back into the bottle.
But there is a healthier way!
Here are my favourite techniques for rewriting the story, also known as 3 ways to deal with disappointment in sobriety…
1. Let yourself feel it.
Perspective is a beautiful thing, and logically you may know how lucky you are in the scheme of things, but this is a little reminder in case you need it today:
Your emotions are valid. There is no hierarchy of suffering. Just because someone else has it worse than you, does not make your experience any less real.
Rather than shoving your emotions away (or drowning them!), let yourself feel.
You’re allowed to feel frustrated, and upset, and disappointed, and all-the-things. Let yourself grieve for a hot minute. Feeling a broad spectrum of emotions is what makes us most human.
A little self-care, and a lot of self-compassion and love, and you’re likely to feel much better tomorrow. And you’ll be so glad you honoured your true emotions rather than shoving them away.
2. Change your state.
Because missing out on something we were really looking forward to can make us feel stagnant, doing something to change our emotional state can really help us to get unstuck.
For me, that looked like sharing my frustration by calling my closest friends and family members to vent about how disappointed we were. Good friends and family can help you laugh about the situation, often before you can get there on your own.
Another great way to change your emotional state (especially when you’re not ill) might look like working out (endorphins, work your magic!), or taking a long, hot bath.
When I asked how other beautiful souls deal with disappointment in sobriety, over on Instagram, I received a ton of great responses including:
– Blast your favourite tunes.
– Bake something scrumptious and comforting.
– Watch happy movies and silly shows.
– Remind yourself how far you’ve come, and that “this too shall pass”.
– Remember how grateful you are to not be hungover AND disappointed.
3. Redirect your focus.
When you’re ready to pick yourself back up and dust yourself off, let yourself dream again. Just because one plan didn’t pan out, doesn’t mean the next one won’t.
Use this mishap as a chance to reconsider what it is you truly want. Take a deep breath and an even deeper look into your future, and think about what your new plans could be.
When all of our Queensland bookings had been cancelled (again!), and the dust settled, I started to think creatively.
Because what’s that they say about the definition of insanity?
I could keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results – that is, I could go through this entire saga again (and rebook the Queensland trip for the third time!) – or I could open my mind and consider a fresh idea.
It reminded me of my drinking days and how I kept relentlessly trying to moderate. All those years that I made the same ‘drinking rules’, only to break them over and over again.
I kept trying harder, rather than looking at an entirely new solution: trying sobriety instead.
A great way to do this – a savvy way to redirect your focus – is to ask, “What if…?”
What if I could find a local photographer I loved just as much?
What if we booked a trip to somewhere entirely different?
Or, as was the case back when I finally stopped drinking: what if I tried sobriety?
Because when we open our minds, we can find a whole new avenue of solutions we’d never considered before.
And that, my friend, is truly where the magic is. ✨
And if you need some help to go deeper into your sobriety mindset, I have a ton of resources for you!
Start by watching a free special screening of one of our most popular coaching videos – Why Sobriety vs. Moderation.
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’. Enter your email below for free instant access!
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