5 lessons I have learned in 5 years of sobriety

Today (7th April 2021) I have been sober from drug and alcohol addiction for five years. In that time I have faced many challenges and learnt many lessons. In this piece, I hope to share some of those lessons with you.

1. Not everything will be perfect once you get sober.

Addiction is am absolute monster of a battle, but the battles don’t stop eith sobriety. Life is full of ups and downs, and you will need to learn to cope with the downs without returning to your addiction. Life will always throw curve balls.

2. Addiction will try and catch you out.

Sometimes addiction will feel like a living entity in your brain. Good or bad times, there will be moments when your mind will try and convince you that “just one drink will be okay”, or “maybe I can just have a few tokes of that spliff”.

Your brain is lying to you. It never stops with just the one. The addicted mind seeks to destroy itself, don’t let it.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Everyone, addict or not, needs help from time to time. It’s important that you get to grips with who you are, and learn to advocate for and communicate your needs. Communication is key in recovery.

4. Socialising can be just as fulfilling without drugs and alcohol.

One of the greatest joys of my life was learning to enjoy the company of others without using mind altering substances. The realisation that I could mess around with my friends and have a laugh, whilst also remaining sober has really set me free.

5. Mindfulness is your friend.

This one, the last one, is really important. Learn to sit with your emotions. Observe them, and let them pass. Nothing lasts forever, even the deepest of distress. When used in conjuction with lesson 3, it makes sobriety a whole lot easier. Remember that mindfulness takes practice, and you have to practice in the good times, so that in the bad times you are ready to use it.

And that’s it. Five lessons I have learnt in five years of sobriety. Never forget the power of community for finding recovery, reach out and use every tool in the toolbox. Five years ago I was nearly dead. I hope that my existence now proves just how possible it is to return from the brink.

Thank you all for your support.

Published by David Gray-Hammond

David Gray-Hammond is an autistic mental health and addiction advocate living in the South East of England. He is in recovery from addiction and psychosis, as well as other complex mental health conditions. He was diagnosed as autistic seven months after achieving sobriety, and is resolved to share his experiences with the world in the hopes of being the person that he needed when he was younger.

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