Sober October

Happy (almost) Halloween!

For those who don’t know, October is my favorite month of the year. I have a lot of fond childhood memories of this time, obviously due to Halloween, but I also just enjoy the fall season. This October has been very different from past ones, however (excluding October 2020). My boyfriend and I decided to do ‘sober October’ as we’re trying to get back to being more health-focused. Many of you know that summer is my least favorite season and when I personally experience S.A.D., so with the weather changing exactly as October started, it was the perfect time to start our new goal. Though we have been ‘sober’ in the traditional sense (no alcohol, although we weren’t particularly drinking a lot before anyway), there were some sobering events (no pun intended) at the end of September/beginning of October that have contributed to another detox I’ve been participating in.

Long story short: I experienced a series of events within a couple of weeks of each other that were really life-altering. It made me pause and question the meaning of these events being in succession, if they were foreshadowing something in my life, and what I needed to do next. I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster of extreme highs and lows–one minute I am so grateful for life and focusing on being present, then the next minute I am so anxious about what feels like everything. I feel my nervous system has been so imbalanced and I never know how I’m going to feel, despite how I actively try to feel. When I feel emotionally overwhelmed, I usually turn to social media for entertainment. Unfortuately, my intense sensitivity to everything actually made things worse than better, so I decided to detox from social media about halfway through the month as well.

I removed Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat from my phone and turned off notifications for those apps. Even though it was only about 15 days off social media, it made such a difference in the way I spent my days and, most importantly, how I slept. Of course there were so many moments that I wanted to get onto these apps and kill time, but when I realized there was nothing I particularly wanted to see/do, it was easier to ignore the urge. I have a love-hate relationship with social media as most people do, but I wish I started this detox earlier in the month. If I didn’t have so many exciting things going on in November, I’d continue another 15 days completely off, but I enjoy sharing things. πŸ™‚

My biggest takeaways from being both alcohol- and social media-free were that I don’t need either (duh) and that they are easy routes to take to avoid important messages that life is sending. Whether said messages are clear is not really the point, but you can’t just ignore situations and feelings forever. Even when situations are out of your control, take the time to identify your role in them and what you can do. You should also regularly ask yourself, “How can I do/be better?” As important as it is to take time for yourself and be a little selfish here and there, it is equally important to remind yourself that you are in various relationships that need attention as well. You can’t pour from an empty cup and you certainly can’t give more than you have, but I speak from experience when I say the extra attention I’ve devoted to my relationships this month have helped tenfold. Choose to be vulnerable and honest with yourself and with others instead of cowering away and taking the easy way out.

I’m so happy I decided to be sober this month to give myself the space I needed to heal. Do I feel the work is done? Not necessarily. I’m always on a journey, but my mission is just to make sure the path is as clear as I can make it as I keep moving forward. What I ask of you all today is to tell someone you love them if you haven’t in a while, and/or make plans with someone you haven’t seen in a while (virtual or in-person) and actually follow through. Life is so, so fleeting and shouldn’t be spent willingly in isolation and/or misery. Decide today that you deserve to be happy and to be surrounded by people who genuinely love and support you. Show up for yourself as much as you show up for others.

xx, AE

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