The Sober Journey: Life on Life’s Terms in Recovery and Beyond

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

I had reached a point in my sober journey when I had been clean for almost six months. I had made my amends to those I had hurt and was working on forgiving myself for the self-destructive lifestyle had been pursuing for many years.

Once I was able to begin forgiving myself, my view of the world started to change, too. In a way, the new sense of optimism I experienced was similar to the pink cloud stage I had passed through earlier in my recovery. There were moments, sometimes entire days, when I felt an intense excitement about being alive. The difference was that I finally had substantial evidence of positive things I had accomplished. I was now able to feel proud of the progress I was making in recovery:

  • I hadn’t touched a drop of alcohol in several months
  • I was getting healthier by not drinking
  • I had accepted that I was sick and needed help
  • I was doing what my sponsor told me (mostly)
  • I was sleeping better most nights
  • I was taking better care of my body
  • I was letting go of deeply held resentments
  • I was developing my faith in God
  • I was making new sober friends
  • I was going to meetings every day
  • I was learning how to speak out loud
  • I had made amends to the people I had hurt
  • I had forgiven myself

Finally, I had a growing track record that I could point to that helped me stay out of the depression that always followed the pink cloud euphoria.

3D TSJ 1
A Guide to Prayer & Meditation: Click to Learn More.

I was beginning to shift in a new direction. My outlook on life was becoming stronger and more hopeful. The overwhelming desire to ESCAPE life was slowly being replaced by an urge to feel and experience life. Instead of running from how I felt, I was beginning to experience “life on life’s terms” and enjoying the ride.

For most of my life, I had attempted to control my moods and emotions through alcohol. When I felt sad, I drank. When I felt depressed, I drank. When I felt afraid, I drank. When I felt happy, I drank. No matter what I was going through emotionally, I would drink to either suppress negative feelings or enhance positive ones. Either way, I was always altering my mood by drinking to change or improve how I felt.

Credit 28

Normal people (“normies”) often assume that alcoholics only drink so they don’t feel bad or depressed. But in my experience, we also drink to enhance our good feelings. It’s not enough to just feel happy or positive. Why not take it to the next level? If I’m feeling good without alcohol, just think how great I’ll feel with alcohol. I don’t want to feel good, that’s not enough. I want to feel AMAZING! Some of my worst, most destructive nights of drinking resulted from my desire to improve good feelings.  

Learning how to “live life on life’s terms” was one of the many gifts I received in recovery. Accepting that sometimes I was going to feel bad, and sometimes I was going to feel good, and being perfectly fine with either, was life-changing.

I certainly wasn’t perfect at it, by any means. There was still going to be many situations in the coming months and years when I would get so depressed or anxious that the only thing I could do was to reach for a tub of ice cream or a bag of jelly doughnuts to “fix” how I was feeling. But relying on sweets to alter my mood was far better than turning to whiskey and cocaine, so I learned to accept that sometimes I just needed something sweet and outside of myself to make me feel better.

My attitude was changing. I was feeling hopeful about each day and accepting that some days just suck. I was learning to live life on life’s terms, good or bad, for better or worse.



I’ve always liked the word “somnambulist,” which is a fancy way of saying “sleepwalker.” I prefer the fancy version (perhaps pretentious is more accurate), because I think it makes me sound smart when I use it in a sentence.

As I continued to make peace with my past, I realized that I had been walking through my life half asleep, like a somnambulist searching for a way to escape a dark and chaotic dream (See how I did that? Yes it’s pretentious, but it sounds so cool!).

Much of my life had involved running from fear and discomfort, always reaching for a way to “fix” the problem with a steady stream of liquid relief. Now, I was learning that I didn’t necessarily have to fix myself all the time. Instead, I could just accept whatever emotion I was experiencing and work through it instead of working against it. Rather than always trying to suppress or run from feelings, I was learning to embrace whatever I felt, good or bad. 

I was learning how to live in the present moment, not the past or future, grateful for every experience.

I was allowing myself to feel everything. I no longer had the constant need to control every aspect of my existence. Life, in many ways, is like the weather. Hot or cold, sunlight or snowfall, the weather is completely out of my hands, something I can’t control. My only choice is to enjoy the day, rain, or shine. All I can do is wake up in the morning and do the best I can with what’s in front of me, hour by hour. Realizing this, I became more relaxed and more open to learning new things.

 Finally, I was free from the resentment, shame, and guilt I had carried for so long. I was ready to move into the next stage of my recovery. It’s incredible how much relief we can find when we’re able to let go of the past, cherish the present, and not worry about the future. I was waking up from a long, arduous dream, a somnambulist finally emerging from his dark and dreary slumber.


TalkSpace 1

To find books on addiction, recovery and sobriety visit: Sobermofos.

For addiction therapy and consultation options please visit: Online Therapy.Want to reduce anxiety, stress, and sleep better? Meditation works! Visit: ZivaONLINE

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Special offer for our visitors

Get your Free Addiction Guide

We will never send you spam. By signing up for this you agree with our privacy policy and to receive regular updates via email in regards to industry news and promotions