Boozy to Butterfly

Spontaneous Sobriety

June 15, 2021 This Brain of Mine Episode 14
Boozy to Butterfly
Spontaneous Sobriety
Chapters
Boozy to Butterfly
Spontaneous Sobriety
Jun 15, 2021 Episode 14
This Brain of Mine

When I first heard the phrase spontaneous sobriety it made me hopeful. It was the first time I heard something that sounded positive in regards to overdrinking and the journey ahead. In this episode I talk about what exactly spontaneous sobriety is and how I accomplished it with tips for your stop overdrinking journey.

Looking for more support on your stop overdrinking journey? Head over to https://thisbrainofmine.com/stopoverdrinking to sign up for my free 10-day training course. 

If you're ready for private coaching, email me at [email protected]

Show Notes Transcript

When I first heard the phrase spontaneous sobriety it made me hopeful. It was the first time I heard something that sounded positive in regards to overdrinking and the journey ahead. In this episode I talk about what exactly spontaneous sobriety is and how I accomplished it with tips for your stop overdrinking journey.

Looking for more support on your stop overdrinking journey? Head over to https://thisbrainofmine.com/stopoverdrinking to sign up for my free 10-day training course. 

If you're ready for private coaching, email me at [email protected]

Episode 14: Spontaneous Sobriety

Hello and thanks for joining me on episode 14, Spontaneous Sobriety. Have you heard this phrase before? I hadn’t heard this phrase until I started a deep dive into why it was so hard to quit drinking. As I was educating myself on how to drink moderately, or just drink less, I read spontaneous sobriety somewhere and the phrase stuck with me. The phrase makes  quitting drinking sound easy, like the snap of your finger, and so just hearing the possibility that it exists got me excited to become spontaneously sober, and I did.

But it wasn’t until after I quit drinking that I learned what this phrase actually meant. I decided to actually look up what this phrase meant so that I could articulate my experience and how I achieved it. I thought it meant you just quit drinking one day and the desire is gone, too, spontaneously. And that is really what happened in my case but this is not what this phrase actually means, apparently.

So I think it’s relevant to share the journey I went through before I experienced spontaneous sobriety, which I’ll do in a few minutes. I say it’s relevant because the term spontaneous should be taken lightly which you’ll understand a little bit better when you hear what led up to this moment but let me start by sharing what the apparent definition of spontaneous sobriety is.

It just means to quit drinking without any formal treatment program like rehab or in or out-patient treatment. It’s not necessarily doing it on your own without any support or guidance, it’s just not following a rehabilitation treatment plan. So, it can be like waking up one day and deciding to stop drinking, but it can also be by reaching out for guidance, and doing research, and learning about overdrinking and attending a course, or muddling your way through the process with a bunch of self-help books.

You know, sometimes you give yourself the best advice. Spontaneous sobriety tends to have better results than a traditional program likely because you are allowed to create your own plan or you can work with a coach to customize a plan for you. A journey that is customized to what YOU need to do to be successful. So many people end up in the same place, wanting to drink less or quit drinking but we get there for different reasons and we rely on alcohol for different reasons. 

As you educate yourself on the adverse effects of alcohol and you experience the adverse effects of alcohol, you’re learning firsthand the consequences of your drinking. I can tell you how bad alcohol is for you and all the dumb decisions that will follow a night of drinking but when you experience it firsthand, you’ll remember it much better. I can tell you not to stick your finger in an electrical outlet but when you actually do it and get shocked, you’ll recall that shock much easier than my words the next time you’re tempted to stick your finger in an electrical outlet.

But, spontaneous sobriety is not so spontaneous in my opinion. It takes a little prep and work to get to that point where you feel good about your decision to quit drinking and start to solidly believe your life with alcohol seems like a blur you’re not interested in revisiting. When you’re on the journey to stop overdrinking it’s a little bit of a dance. You take a few steps toward your goal and then you take a few steps backward. But the key here is that it’s really not backward, it’s really just sideways. Every time you think you’re falling short, you’re actually learning. It’s all progress and that’s the mindset that creates spontaneous sobriety.

When you can unwind the overdrinking drama in your head and remove the stigmas, fear, and shame from your process, you will instantly feel better. And when you feel better, you do better. Working on a drink less or non-drinker mindset is the key to loving a sober life or a life with less alcohol. 

So, let me share what led me to my moment of spontaneous sobriety so you can see that it was an intentional journey it just took more work upfront than I expected.

As I’ve shared in the past, I came to the realization that drinking was contributing to less than ideal outcomes and circumstances in my life. I didn’t realize how much, though, until I quit drinking but while I was drinking there were definitely negative consequences occurring that I was tired of facing. 

It felt like it was becoming more and more difficult to justify drinking because as time passed it seemed like any benefits to drinking were disappearing and the costs were growing. Costs like my physical health, mental health, emotional agility, aspirations, relationships, goals, ambition, self-confidence, and actual dollar costs to my pocket book. I started reaching a point where I didn’t want to drink but was drinking anyway. I didn’t want to have a drink but also didn’t not want to have a drink. It was confusing and strange.

I sought out a life coach not related to alcohol and she literally changed my world in 30 minutes. She taught me how our thoughts create our reality and how we can change our thoughts to change our world. We went through a simple exercise that was weighing heavily on mind and she asked me, “how would you like to show up in this moment?” I was feeling anxious and a little angry about a circumstance and when she asked me how I wanted to show up and who I wanted to be in that moment, I thought,“it’s a choice? I can change how I feel about something?

Yes! I can and so can you. She introduced me to the work of Byron Katie literally called The Work and the question, “Who would I be without this thought?” She also introduced me to Brook Castillo’s concepts from The Life Coach School.

What this gave me is a sense of empowerment and control back. I realized I was creating my universe with my thinking. Negative thoughts = negative life. My anxiety, fear, and indifference in life was all created by me. The way I was thinking about every event and every circumstance could be handled differently. I didn’t have to believe my doom and gloom thoughts when something didn’t go my way or how I wanted it to go.

The great news is I could change my life with just my thoughts! This coaching session sent me on a deep dive into learning more because I felt so free from my own self after this one session.

I found a few books to read on overdrinking and started listening to some mindfulness-type podcasts. I learned as much as I could about why it’s so easy to become alcohol dependent and why it’s so hard to quit drinking. I did two podcast episodes on those topics if you want to go back and listen to them.

And what happened is I started to feel like I no longer needed alcohol as a crutch or coping tool because I gained more mental capacity to cope with life innately. My circumstances didn’t change but I had more knowledge about how to manage my mind about my circumstances which changed my life. I learned how to clear the clutter in my mind by writing out all the thoughts playing bumper cars in my brain and getting it on paper. By seeing all the thoughts, I could be an observer rather than a person who felt like was being pulled in multiple directions by my brain.

It made my mind a little quieter more often and allowed me to understand that my thoughts are not who I am. Thoughts are just there and they’re part of the human experience. We have contradicting thoughts all the time but it doesn’t mean anything. One minute I wanted to drink and the next minute I didn’t. I learned both of those thoughts are okay and they both can coexist because I am neither of them. I was able to start observing my thoughts like wild kids playing on a playground and understand I don’t need to be taking direction from them any longer.

Our brains are filled with fear and resistance constantly and when we believe our brain, we get stuck or sent in circles. And this is one of the main culprits with overdrinking and the desire to stop overdrinking. Our thoughts are getting in the way. So as I continued to learn more about cognition and awareness, and observing our minds, I developed a thirst for more and more knowledge. I was listening to Oprah’s SuperSoul 100 podcasts (the older ones are the best ones, if you do go back and listen to her podcast by the way). The more recent ones are show replays but the original episodes actually featured amazing guests like Michael Singer, Paul Coelho, Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, Pema Chodron, Deepa Chopra and so many others. 

I started reading all their books and just feeding my mind and soul. And during this process, I literally woke up one day and realized “I don’t have to drink.” Alcohol was robbing my joy not providing joy. Drinking was censoring my whole life, not just the negative emotions. Looking back I get it now, but at the time I wasn’t aware that my struggle all along was how to keep drinking not how to quit drinking. Once I gave myself permission to be a non-drinker, that was it. That was all I needed and my desire disappeared, my struggle disappeared, and my life changed for good. 

I wasn’t phased by alcohol in my presence, I still have and have always had alcohol in my home, I go out socializing with others who are drinking, I literally stopped caring about alcohol. It became as benign as a glass of water to me. And as I’ve shared, I have had alcohol during these non-drinking years, most recently I tried a rose to see what all the hype was about…wasn’t a fan. I did a tequila tasting on a trip to Mexico, too. Alcohol became a non-triggering, neutral substance for me because I started with an extensive dry period but I also stopped caring about altering my mind or needing a coping tool or using it as a reason to have fun…or elevate my level of fun.

Once I achieved clarity, I was able to create a drink less mindset. I found a renewed love for life and all the magical things that we get to experience every day. This is available to you; it’s available to everyone. You just have to make time to experience the joy in the everyday things. 

I no longer wanted to numb my thoughts and numb my mind because I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to feel present, even if the present moment was less than desirable because I now learned how to manage my thoughts around my circumstances.

I’m not saying I’m happy all the time because that’s not true and impossible but I’m saying that I accept that I don’t have to be happy all the time and I also accept that I can put a spin on any circumstance to make it a little better.  And one of my favorite spins on an unpleasant situation is reminding myself that there is a lesson in this for me. I will grow from this. What am I learning from this and what can I learn from this?

Spontaneous sobriety is about finding what works best for you. This is where my stop overdrinking free course and free workshop start. It starts with your mindset. You think alcohol is the problem and your drinking is a problem but your drinking is a symptom of something else. And this something else only you can find. Only you know what it is. Your revelations and ah-ha moments aren’t the same as someone else’s because you’ve had different experiences and this is why spontaneous sobriety works, why it’s sustainable, and why living as a non-drinker is usually the decision you come to. 

Once you confront and give yourself permission to heal that wound properly or address that circumstance with a new mindset, it’s enlightening. Life’s purpose becomes just to live, just to be here. Alcohol no longer matters that much and in fact, it becomes a turn-off. I, like many of my students, prefer not to drink and we can be around drinkers and not care about not drinking because our view of intoxicating ourselves has changed. It’s not interesting or fun. I can be around people drinking and it’s interesting to watch the moment when the alcohol sets in but I no longer care about being around people who are getting together just to drink. Or people who get drunk every time. 

You up-level your experience when you quit drinking and the art of conversation becomes interesting again. Learning about others and hearing their stories becomes the entertainment. You can actually feel the powerful connections between human beings when you’re not drinking, something that gets robbed from you when you’re overserved. 

Spontaneous sobriety allows you the freedom to decide who you are. You get to decide to reject those labels like alcoholic and addict. You get to decide if there is a place for alcohol in your life. You get to decide on your terms when to cutback or quit drinking, who to hang out with, where to go, and whether or not you want to count “sober” days, which I’m against but that’s for another day. 

You get to choose your own thoughts because this journey is not one size fits all. You can learn the power of your thinking. Positive thinking can create hope, momentum, and a sense of empowerment which can lead to positive impacts and change. Finding the silver lining and reminding yourself that negative is an opinion, a choice, and a perspective helps sustain you through some tough circumstances.

Learning to manage my mind and my thoughts and I’m still a work in process, was definitely the key to spontaneous sobriety for me. It was about knowledge and learning and going down those rabbit holes of information that resonated with me personally. 

You can use your curiosity like a beacon and let it guide you to the information your soul and heart needs to heal. Don’t be afraid to learn about yourself and what’s happening in that brain because it doesn’t mean anything.

Your feelings and your actions are aligned with your thoughts. So if you’ve been in a negative, dark space, you’re going to have negative feelings with some poor decisions and some negative outcomes. This is not unchangeable, this is not who you are, this does not define you, and this does not have to be your future.

Allow yourself to find the pain you’re masking with overdrinking. Sit with it and forgive yourself, forgive anyone else involved, not for them but for you. And each time you can face your pain, you help neutralize it. Your fear causes you to push it away but it pushes back just as strong. You give it power and keep it alive by pushing against it.

Once you breath your pain or wound in and greet it, you can start to take its power away. Forgive all your past actions because they only exist in the present in the form of a memory and the associated energy you’re storing in your body. Let the past go and see the present-day beauty in all it’s forms before your eyes today.

Spontaneous sobriety is a gift to yourself from yourself. It’s a journey of soul-searching, seeking, and healing but it does not have to be a solo journey. Find a guide or coach, like me, to kickstart your journey or at least help you get to your destination a little faster.