I remember Googling. I Googled a lot. It was always something like, “How to drink in moderation,” “How to moderate drinking,” and even, “How to negotiate sobriety.”
Wow. A whole lot of scrolling, reading, searching… hoping someone would tell me, “Oh, hey, Bonnie Gillespie! Here’s how to keep drinking and somehow have a better life than you do today.”
In my fantasy Googling, I’d land on some recipe. Some schedule of days per month that would indicate I wasn’t drinking too much. A decision-making matrix that would show me quality of life improving but never taking that number of drinks in a day down to ZERO.
But fantasy Googling isn’t a thing, so I kept landing on stories of people choosing sobriety, putting down the bottle, and putting in the work of self-love that can’t exist when you need an escape from how you feel about yourself. Because continuing drinking when you know you need to be DONE with it simply means the *idea* of actually FEELING how you feel about yourself is terrifying.
Continuing ANYTHING that you use to escape from actually FEELING how you feel about yourself is a clear sign of low enoughness.
The hardest part is that STOPPING drinking is an act of self-love you can’t commit until you love yourself more than you do every time you choose drinking over feeling. (Tweet it.)
I don’t know what you know about feeling feelings but sometimes it just sucks. Feelings are inconvenient. They’re messy. They’re unpredictable and they’re avoidable if you just stack up enough other stuff to distract you from them.
Over time, though, it was getting clear that I was building up the readiness to risk having to accept — soberly — not liking myself very much.
Building up that readiness? It is a very important part of creating lasting change in ANY area.
Here’s what I know about lasting change. About fortifying enoughness. About not just being able to look at yourself in the mirror and have no regrets for the night before but facing that mirror with enthusiasm and joy for the woman you’ve allowed yourself to become.
You’ve gotta be ready for it.
Readiness comes from the prep work.
Like all things in which we can measure success or failure, there’s an important bit of foundation-laying that has to happen BEFORE we can get very far on the road toward anything looking like lasting success.
I learned this in building our empire: Preparing to be revolutionary is what made sure that when our work *was* revolutionary, it was received that way. We didn’t spin out because we had no clue what to do when our wildest dreams became our daily life. Instead, we knew exactly how to handle the incredibly head-spinning experience of audacious success because we prepared our lives for the new normal long before it was. Success didn’t bounce out when it showed up because it felt right at home in our lives.
I learned this in reshaping my body: Meticulous research for what Whole30 was going to be like and how best to succeed at it ensured that I was able to take what started as a 30-day reset to get my body “running clean” to build a whole new relationship with what goes into my body. Losing 55 pounds in 5.5 months post-Whole30 was all about just applying what I learned to my daily life. Maintaining that healthier weight for two years is thanks to the solid foundation I built in studying up on Whole30. Before I ever started.
And I learned this in changing my relationship with alcohol: I was going to have to put in the work to live a life I had no interest in escaping from in order to make sure that something as seductive as an always-ready, liquid escape hatch like vodka couldn’t tempt me. I had to TRUST that I was going to love myself *for* learning who I am at my core. And part of all that Googling was to help me get ready to be ready to be ready to choose sobriety. To make that FIRST act of self-love on October 16, 2016, that took the shape of a text to the hubs.
He didn’t even have to ask what that meant. Because he’d seen me getting closer to ready for months by then.
I’m celebrating 888 days sober because I love my numbers. I love my 8s — those powerful infinity symbols stood up on one end. My sober birthday is an 8 numerologically. My actual birthday is an 8 numerologically. I celebrate 888 days sober because benchmarks don’t have to mean anything to anyone else. Sure, one year sober was breathtaking. Two years sober brought so many lessons.
And I’m present for all of it.
Fully aware that I kept myself AWAY from learning that I’m actually quite spectacular because that’s how upper-limit problems operate. I could stay small in my life and in the world thanks to drinking. Small is safe.
Being fully present, feeling all the feelings, and learning you are filled with SO much more magic than you ever may have suspected… it churns up some very real feelings about how cruel you were to prevent yourself from getting to know THIS sober version of yourself for so long.
And my theory is the negotiating sobriety stuff I did for those months before choosing sobriety once and for all was all about getting glimpses of the powerful being I wished I could somehow be… and not having enough of a foundation built for that level of enoughness to stay around before it got too uncomfortable.
During my mind-body healing journey these past 15 months, I’ve learned that the brain REJECTS anything that is 10% different. We physiologically cannot *process* something that deviates more than that from what our expectations for reality have become over time. It’s why we see GRADUAL acceptance of things that once were totally dismissed on a global scale all the way on down to within our own lives. Exposure actually does build up momentum for something radically different to STICK. Eventually.
So, I’m glad that this time three years ago, I was fantasy Googling about how to negotiate moderation. I was exposing myself to stories online that were warming me up for something — my own sobriety — to not feel so vastly different from my life at that moment.
I’ll ask you to consider: What are you doing to prepare your life to fully receive a change you’d like to see yourself make? Whether it’s your relationship with your body, your relationship with money, your relationship with a partner, your relationship with a habit, or your relationship with yourself, there’s prep work you could be doing.
Even if it’s just fantasy Googling for now, you’re closer than you were before.
And that means — on some level — it’s all starting to come together.
You’ll know when your enoughess is more powerful than your inertia for anything that keeps you small.
I can’t wait to celebrate your 888th day of whatever it is that brings you a sense of peace like never before. Thank you for joining me in celebrating that investment in my life, today.
So much love,