Where Sobriety Begins


Sobriety begins in the mind.

And by mind, I mean the conscious part of you that thinks and loves and dreams, as opposed to the physical brain. One can survive the other.

Over a decade ago, I started the first of a dozen journals with the idea that by writing down my pledges to give up drinking for x amount of time, I could hold myself accountable. Or at least recognize where I was failing over and over again.

I bought a beautiful, gilded journal from a bookstore with an odd illustration on the front. I learned from a description on the back cover that the image was from the Book of Kells, which I’d never heard of. I did an internet search and discovered it was a medieval manuscript written in Ireland — a decorated version of the four gospels relating to the life of Jesus Christ. The image on the cover of my journal was called the Chi Ro monogram: the first two letters of the word Christ in Greek.

Interesting, I thought, and somehow fitting. It made me feel like my journaling would be a sacred process. So for the first time in ages, I began to write, using motivational quotes and doodling in the margins. Here’s my first entry:

March 1, 2005

“All appears to change when we change.”   — Henri Amiel, 19th century Swiss writer 

When we change — all else changes. I’ll try to do my part, and it’s up to the universe to prove this to be true.

Reading this now is kind of funny, because the universe shocked the hell out of me. It did its part in spades. And I did my part, now and then. I would journal for two weeks straight and then drop out of sight for a week or a month. But something about the process seemed almost magical. I was drawn back to the journal, with its promise of sacred text, again and again.

What I found out is that writing is sacred. It gets you in touch with a much deeper wisdom within your own mind. The voice I heard was wiser and kinder than the voice I was used to hearing, day in and day out. And what flowed across the page became a conversation with a part of myself that I didn’t recognize.

But this higher self, or better angel, or Christ-Consciousness, or Buddha-nature, or Spirit had the answers I was looking for. When I listened to this voice, and not to the voice of the ego, a door was opened, just a crack.

This voice spoke of power and self-love and forgiveness. The more I listened, and the more I acted on this awareness — this divinity within me — the more my world began to change. Dramatically.

Here is a miracle I could only see in hindsight: In the first sentence on the first page of my first journal, I was given the keys to the kingdom:

 All appears to change when we change.


42 thoughts on “Where Sobriety Begins

  1. This is beautiful Shawna! Yes, you certainly were given the keys to the kingdom after your first line. It is so healing to go back in our stories like this. Another great post. Thank you ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Shawna! Love this and love your writing. I bought a journal last year at an art gallery, it says WRITE on it, which I felt was an imperative. So I write whatevs in it. Lists, ideas for more writing, recipes, song lyrics (for songs I will write when I remember how to play chords). You get the idea.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I like this idea. I tend to think it has to be all heavy stuff, but I used to doodle all over my notebooks in school, instead of doing whatever it was I was supposed to be doing. (I seem to remember you were that kind of student as well, based on your Unpickled interview.) You’ve given me a totally new approach here. I’m going to get another journal that’s more like a scrapbook and then add future song lyrics (for songs I will write when I learn to play any instrument whatsoever), and artwork. Thanks for the inspiration!! 😀
      By the way, erewhay is your ookbay?
      (Hint: Think pig latin.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly!! Any instrument at all! For sure, I’m a super doodler. I’m mainly a meeting-doodler now:) Book is just about to bust out. After being blocked by trying to decide if I write a blog book or something totally new I decided I should probably just do both. Which now that I’m telling you seems a bit monumental. There! I said it! It has now happened (in my mind!!). And your own??

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You put it out there, therefore it’s going to happen!!! SO COOL!

        Once it’s happened in your mind, it’s a done deal. Planning is helpful, but the book ends up writing itself, kind of like a blog does. You think you’re going to write about one thing, and you detour into a whole different subject. And using your own blog means a whole bunch is already written. Huge!

        I look forward to flying in for your book launch. Where are you having it? At your publisher’s penthouse in New York or closer to where you live? I want to pencil in the date.

        I’m currently waiting to hear back on a book proposal contest, but I have no alternative plan because making one would defy the rules of manifesting. Will report back.
        😀 😀 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, Shawna. I love your writing and have been following you since my sober journey began three months ago. Your beautiful spirit filled posts help me and I’m sure countless others who place their trust in God and believe in miracles. Good luck with your book which I will definitely purchase when published.
    God bless!
    J x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joni, you were certainly an answer to a prayer today. I can’t thank you enough for reaching out and being a miracle for me. 💕

      Congratulations on three months! That’s enough time to experience some huge changes, as I’m sure you know. And you have an absolutely beautiful spirit as well, as witnessed by your lovely comment.


      1. Thank you, Shawna! That means a lot to me. Yes, huge changes, I’m finally stepping out of my comfort zone and trying some new firsts without the crutch of wine. So far – so good! Praise God! 🙏xx

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have a coaster by my computer that says, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” (Neale Donald Walsh) It’s so hard to break out, but it’s getting easier as time goes on. I’m still learning.
        Here’s a great mantra for you: “I am entitled to miracles.” (ACIM) I used that throughout my first six months, and the miracles kept happening.
        Hang in there! 💕

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sitting here trying to pick the best part of your essay to quote or reflect on, but honest to God…every bit of it was amazing. Perfectly conveyed, I could SEE the changes happening within you. I could SEE the light shining through that tiny crack that appeared after you stopped listening to the ego for a bit. All of it…just love. Nothing but love for you💕

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Jami! I needed changes big time because I was completely wrapped up in the ego. I think the ego is perfectly represented by alcohol. It’s a false promise.
      There’s no doubt you made my morning, if not the entire day. 💕
      If you have any interest in reading that chapter from my manuscript, just let me know. It’s a bit “out there,” if you know what I mean. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely post. The journal you found was almost heaven sent. The universe is indeed a powerful thing, and ready to help when we’re ready to work for it. Writing down my thoughts in the first few weeks of giving up drinking helped me much more than I realised it would. There’s something about the process of sitting down and contemplating what you’re going to write about. That process was an important step in me getting, then staying sober. Not drunk now since 2006!

    Liked by 1 person

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