We’ve gone through such a turbulent year and as we re-adjust to more change now, it’s important for us all to check in on ourselves and each other to see how we’re doing, reflect and take time to look after ourselves.
Earlier this year Rachel Murphy, CEO at Difrent reflected on having been sober for 7 years. Here she shares a bit about the journey and what it means for her now.
I had probably been trying to get sober actively for 5 years before 2015 and I reckon for 10 years before that I had known that ‘my desire for oblivion’ was unusual. Right from the off it had always been that way for me.
I was asked by a good mate whether I could talk about why I drank the way I did – that is a hell of a question and not one I think I have fully understood just yet but I have some of the pieces of the jigsaw and will be finding out the rest in some pretty intense psychodynamic work during this year.
- The drinking gene is in the family and its not just the surname Murphy that leads me to say that
- Super strict parents when I was growing up probably put way too tight controls on me and as soon as I moved into double figures a personality like mine was always going to rebel
- The ambition and drive I have is amazing for achieving things and making the absolute best of me but it doesn’t naturally take account of the emotional side of things; this is something I have had to seek out help for and learn myself over the years, whether this be coaching, mentoring, therapy, long and late night chats with mates.
- I needed to learn how to regulate me much later than perhaps I should have (see point 3)
- ‘Rules are there to be broken’ and ‘I’m no fan of authority’ are such fundamental parts of my personality (probably see point 2!)
So seven years on, my fear of getting sober and being boring has absolutely gone. If anything I have grown more into me and am much more comfortable in my own skin. The coping mechanisms I had created to manage me had to be tossed out and replaced with much healthier ones and whilst some of those are still work in progress I’m proud to be sober and I’m very relaxed about not being anonymous about that. If I can help even one person get sober then the risk I take in not being anonymous is absolutely worth it.
Acceptance is key and this understanding has stood me in good stead to handle the pandemic, as an extrovert this hanging around at home and not seeing other people is torture but accepting the situation back in March of 2020 meant I didn’t fight it constantly and by definition drive me (and others) up the wall!
What keeps me sober now is love and connection to something bigger than myself. The me of 7 years ago had no concept of what that meant. I respect myself, I’m gentler with me than I was, the term self care means something to me and I’m proud of me, proud that I can overcome something that is so fundamental to me. I am designed to seek out oblivion and every day that I don’t do that I am designing a new me, a better me than respects me and can learn and change and do something positive in the world.