7 Things I learnt from 1000 days of sobriety
What would happen if we removed all of our expectations?
If we entered into any life event with a totally open mind? What would happen if we always assumed people came from a place of positive intent and that everyone was simply doing the best they can?
One thousand days ago, I decided I didn’t know if I wanted to live anymore. I made some phone calls, told some truths, and ultimately I made a choice. I chose to live.
But my life had become so unmanageable that I had to make some big changes. My life lacked routine, discipline, and I had absolutely no devotion. I expected happiness to be handed to me and I looked for validation through external sources. I chose the darkness over the light. I was choosing death over life.
I don’t remember the next two days that followed, but I know that some of my friends took turns staying with me. I know that I went to my first 12-Step meeting, but the details aren’t there. I went to my first Kundalini class soon after that and something in me shifted. I have practiced nearly every day since then and I recently completed my teacher training. Looking back, I was being reborn in many ways. My life would never be the same again.
I am so incredibly grateful now that this happened; I no longer feel ashamed of who I had become—I needed to go down that path to get to where I am now.
Lately, it occurred to me that a lot of what happened to me had to do with life not being in-line with my expectations. I come from a generation where we just expect our happy ending. I got the education I was told to get, I moved to London, and I got a good job. I always had a boyfriend. But inside I was empty. I expected that if I was to follow the path I was led toward and conditioned to follow, then I would feel complete. But I did not. I don’t ever recall anyone talking to me about connection, purpose, and belief systems. My whole world revolved around following a path that I had never consciously chosen.
Expectations were high, effort was low, and the output was emptiness.
I have now lived my new life for 1,000 days. In yogic terms, that means I have mastered my new habits into my consciousness. For me, it’s not just about my sobriety, it’s about me understanding the way I need to live to allow me to be connected to myself—and I learn more about this everyday.
I have healthy boundaries, I avoid situations and people who do not light me up, and I live in a way that brings me great happiness. I am kind, I am loving, I share my light, I love myself, I respect myself and others, I am of service, I am devoted, I always start my day in a way that sets the tone right, I work on myself, I forgive mistakes, I try not to judge, I work on my mind, body and spirit, I learn, I work hard, and I care for myself.
I understand now that we all have our path to follow, and if we find a way to connect to our souls, we will find ourselves in the light, not the dark. I have hope that can we all find our way. I now devote my life to serving and helping people to find their way. I am happy and I deserve it.
If you feel lost and incomplete, try to identify how much of that is coming from expectations. Is the path you are on one that you consciously chose for yourself? Are you aware of what has led you to your current state of being? Try to see life more from a point of neutrality. Meditation can really help with this. Once we get out of being stuck in the details of life and see the bigger picture, that’s when we can really start to make changes.Here are my top tips for creating positive change in your life:
1. Don’t try and do it alone. If you are feeling lost and disconnected, then be honest with yourself about that and acknowledge that you need help. What support can you enlist? Online groups, individual support of a coach or therapist? Self-help books? For me, I used a combination of a 12-Step group and a life coach in my early days. I now use Kundalini yoga as a daily part of my routine and have a regular coach to help keep me on track.
2. Understand where you are in your life. What is and isn’t working? This will help you feel more in control.
3. Who is on your team (your life team)? Who lights you up? Who takes your energy? It’s important to surround ourselves with people who are positive. Have a think about your team. Do you have vacancies? Do you need to make some redundancies?
4. What would your ideal life recipe look like? Meditation can really help you to gain clarity. Early in my process of making changes I did this meditation for 120 days. It was just incredible in helping me see what I wanted to work toward and who I really am.
5. Find a way to give back. Did you know one of the key ways to union through yoga is being of service? We should all have an element of this in our life.
6. Embed your new habits into your daily life. How can you ensure you are accountable? Make people aware of your goals and help them to encourage you in the right way. A coach can really help with this.
7. Live those changes. Don’t give up if you fall; no one has a seamless journey to change. We need to try things and make mistakes to learn what does and doesn’t work for us.
Understand that we are always growing. I believe that working on ourselves is a lifelong practice—and the ultimate path to happiness.