This week I celebrated 365 days of sobriety. That's roughly 9,000 hours or 525K minutes. Most importantly, it's more than 3 million breaths. If you'd have asked me a year ago whether I could go 3 million breaths without a drink, I probably would have spit out my wine and then peed a little from laughing so hard.
But, like I always say, life changes ONE CHOICE and ONE BREATH at a time. When you take a deep, honest look inside, you get clearer on what needs to shift to get closer to the life you want for yourself.
That's what I did. I looked inside. I asked myself some tough questions and the voice that answered was so scared, but at least she was honest. But that voice isn't scared anymore. *I'm* not scared. I'm working from a place of intention, which is so much stronger than any old habit.
That's not to say the road is always easy. It's not, and sometimes it's winding and cold and dark before the light comes and things straighten out. But things do have a way of straightening out, especially when you put in the work. You can let go and create new. It's a question of repatterning.
Someone asked me specifically “how” I did it. The simple answer is that I decided to change — but I know it's not really that simple. If you're struggling to change a habit, here are four things that might help.
I believe you can change anything if you want to badly enough. It will take time and it will take sacrifice. It will demand the very best of your imagination. But if you want it enough, it'll be yours.
Remember that Sunshine is the Best Disinfectant.
Big changes rarely stick in the dark. You've got to get honest with yourself and those around you and admit aloud that you want to change — even if you're scared to death to do it. That openness — with family, your partner, close friends, even a stranger — gives a sense of accountability that will help keep you going when you're tempted to slip back into old habits.
I hear often that change is impossible when there's no one to cheer you on. To that I say: Support yourself. Be your own cheerleader! One of the ways I showed up for myself was by shifting my social life to avoid being in situations where drinks would be flowing, declining lots of invitations and staying in my own warm embrace instead. And even as you take care of you, know you're not alone. Each one of us is surrounded by people who want us to succeed. We know people who have been here before. Seek them out.
Celebrate Every Little Milestone.
One of my best friends this past year has been the paper calendar I hung front and center in my kitchen. Every night before I went to bed, I marked another day off. In the beginning, when the urge to break down was strongest, I must have looked at that calendar 10 times a day — finding strength in the number that stared back at me. And I celebrated all the milestones, no matter how small: 50 hours, one week, 30 days, 100 days. Over time, I noticed I'd consult the calendar less and less frequently — sometimes going a week or more in between jotting down the count. Victory!
Whatever your thing is… that thing you want to change but aren't sure how to do it… know it can be done. And you will be good. It'll all be good!
Just keep taking it a breath at a time. One day you'll look back and see just how far you've come.