I had a chat with someone recently who said to me that he would like to be sober for 9 months. It would be like a pregnancy for him. He would like to give birth to a good human at the end of it.
I loved this! I thought of my own pregnancies and what they meant to me. I know that many of you reading this have never had babies and that is also fine. But for me, personally, having babies made me who I am. Being pregnant was life-changing: physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Getting sober can be a life-changer and it is uncanny that 9 months sober is a remarkable period of healing and regrowth. The Universe knew that a baby needs 9 months in the womb to fully develop and connect with its mother. In the same way, a 9-month sober period needs every week of that time to develop something new, something profound.
Recovery happens in 3’s: 3 hours, 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months – and 9 months is 3 x 3 months which clarifies and deepens the commitment to the path you are on. The birth of that baby called Sobriety, Life.
Sobriety is as Life-Changing as Being Pregnant
On that note, getting sober was an enormous life changer for me, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Spirituality takes years to root and grow and it is the same with sobriety. I am feeling it now. The new me emerged. It was definitely a rebirth of sorts. In fact, 6 years down the line and I am still feeling and revelling in the change as it happens to me more and more vividly than ever before.
Being pregnant made me believe in miracles and I am not a churchy, Godly person at all. I knew then that there was something HUGE happening in my life and ever since my 2 boys arrived, I have felt blessed on a daily basis. And dealing with sobriety means dealing with all the pain and sadness that I hid away for years.
My new clean life opened up many doors for me because I went around looking for doors to open. I found a course to study – I completed my Level 4 Early Child Development certificate over the next two years. I immersed myself in the learning, the practical work at a nearby township school and making new friends because of it. I then added on my kids’ yoga teaching certificate, and I practiced kids’ yoga at the same township school as a volunteer. I am also now the fittest and healthiest I have ever been.
The First 9 Months of Prenatal Sobriety
Trimester 1: the first three months are hell. Morning sickness, evening sickness and no appetite except for slap chips and sugar galore. The detox is draining and thought-provoking. No energy and no desire to work or see anyone – just ongoing lethargy and feeling pap all the time. At the end of these three months, you are like a chick hatching from an egg: hey, I see light, what is that bright light in my eyes? The light that is providing new energy and the new energy just keeps coming in waves as innate nesting instincts take over.
12 weeks: Your sobriety is in the bag. Remember that 12 is a multiple of that magic number 3. And remember that at 4 weeks pregnant, a baby is developing inside you, the tiny brain and spine forming and the heart taking place as the center of all life. In your sobriety, tiny developments become noticeable – the brain is healing its faulty thinking and memory losses and your kidneys and liver are saying “thank you” to the new you. Your skin glows and you feel like a pedicure!
24 weeks: Halfway there to the goal and you feel clear-headed and more energetic than ever before. Who thought that getting sober would be so easy? But wait, there is one small problem: you feel sad and flat and you hope that this too will pass.
At 24 weeks pregnant, a new mother feels less tired and is proud of her new bump. She may feel itchy and moody but that is hormonal and signs that the baby inside her is developing fingerprints, taste buds, and lungs.
What do you do about this feeling of flatness? We call it emotional flatlining or anhedonia. It is the inability to feel joy. You are in a mourning period where grief for that old friend, alcohol, is prominent. I remember my second pregnancy and the deep sense of melancholy that I felt thanks to my rampaging hormones! And I remember that feeling of huge sadness well into my second year of sobriety!
36 weeks: your sober baby is growing big now and you feel comfortable yet unsure. How are the last 4 weeks going to go? Will my baby be healthy and normal? Will I be a good mom? So much confusion, yet so much anticipation! Your body is glowing and you are brimming with health and energy.
Yes, 36 is a multiple of 3 and your immune system is grateful to your clean lifestyle. Being sober for a month is said to be a gamechanger for your liver and energy levels. Sleep and mental clarity improve so now is a good time to learn something new, do a course or start your own business. Being sober for 9 months means that you are escaping the clutches of terminal illnesses like cancer, diabetes, and even heart disease.
40 weeks (9 months): you are there! Sober for 3×3 months, another big 3 milestone. Your skin is clear, your organs are flushed and your brain has changed its negative and false beliefs. Yes, you believe in yourself. Your heart is pumping full throttle ahead and your indigestion and discomfort have gone. You sleep well and the sober world is your oyster.
A New Sober Baby
What does your sober baby look like? Robust and ready, or tiny and needing lots of nutrition and guidance? If healthy and kicking with life, you are lucky and you will soon reach your year sober. The next year will glide by as a non-issue, healthy lifestyle year.
If your baby is a bit starved and needs lots of mother’s milk, take time to nurture your newborn and give her all your love. You have been through a life-changing 9 months and the months to come will not be easy. They will challenge you to the core and you will be forced to rise above your comfort zone.
You got this…
I loved this article in BoozeMusings so take a read and let me know how your own sober journey is going!
Can you raise a baby alone? Certainly. But if you want the baby to become a better version of you, then it needs the input, love, and support from others. No one likes a spoiled baby that grows up thinking that the world revolves around them! You invite in the Village.
My 9 month old sobriety journey is transforming too. Like the newborn, it needs to be nurtured, but I cannot let it become the center of my universe. It needs to know that it is important to me, but it cannot become the only reason for existence. It needs to recognize that while I’m the primary caretaker, people around us will help protect it too… I see new signs of support, like when my husband stocked up the pantry with new alcohol free drinks, and refills my candy jar with my favorite dark chocolates.
[Image from: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-02-addiction-therapist-sober-months-bothers.html]