According to Wikipedia
"Sobriety is the condition of not having any measurable (miserable) levels or effects from alcohol. In a treatment setting, Sobriety is the achieved goal of independence from consuming alcohol. As such, sustained abstinence is a prerequisite for Sobriety"
I enjoy how it is considered a condition, it makes me feel special.
But, no, Sobriety is really a very serious issue and it has taken me on an incredible three and a half year journey and continues to do so.
In this piece, I would like to take you on a short tour through my journey and experiences, but also create a conversation starter with what it is like being sober and the stigmas associated with the condition of Sobriety. As always, humour will be incorporated, because if you can't laugh at yourself or life, then what is there to laugh at?
My journey started after the ball finally dropped in my brain after a number of friends and family continuously told me I was an alcoholic. Being an alcoholic, it is incredible remembering how many excuses my mind created to tell me otherwise. I am an alcoholic that cannot just have one drink, once I start, I cannot stop. People will tell you that it is easy to stop, you just say no.
|The Love Affair of Alcohol|
But it is different for everyone, I was addicted to the taste of alcohol, I was addicted to the numbness it provided me, I was addicted to the Dutch Courage I gained, I seriously believed I was fun to be around and so incredibly sociable...... I was so very wrong!
I was a mess, it was affecting my friends, my family and most importantly (and selfishly) it was affecting me. I would have hangovers that would last for days and this would affect my professional output. I was miserable with a hangover and I would make everyone around me miserable too. Which, looking back on it now, was disastrous when working in the Hospitality industry. I was sinking my own ship while lying to myself, friends and family that this Titanic was never going down.
I found a job that would not hire me unless I attended AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) on a weekly basis and this was the final kick in the butt that I needed. It forced me to confront my demons, to confront why I would drink to numb the outside world, and what my trigger was.
All Alcoholics have some form of trigger - it could be a someone, something, an emotional response, a memory - it can be absolutely anything.
I found AA to be informative, yet it took me a while to find my AA.
What do I mean?
I attended one group where we all sat in a circle and sang songs, whilst holding hands - this was not for me, it was too dramatic. I went to another where Religion was strong, and I am not that way inclined. I ended up at a small group, where it was a family environment. Ironically, it is a family member that is my trigger.....
There is a touch of Religion in this group, but not overpowering. I found people willing to share their stories and experiences.... and wow, did some of them hit home. Their experiences were so similar, yet so different, but they made sense to me.
I made my first share at the second meeting I attended and boy, was it a release of a weight off my shoulders. I was dead tired when I got home from that meeting. It was the start of a journey that I am still living today. My own journey that has inspired me alone.
"Take it one step at a time, be it one second, one minute, one hour, one day, one week" - words I live by every day since.
The first three months is the hardest, in this time, you are breaking the habit of drinking days gone by.
Reminding yourself constantly that the demon of alcohol is no longer in charge of you. You are in charge of yourself.
The Twelve Steps is a process to find yourself, ask for forgiveness from those that you have hurt (maybe both physically and emotionally) during your bouts of drinking and to begin the process of rehabilitation. I will admit that I did not complete the full Twelve Steps, but I have the luxury of having a very strong support base around me through my incredible friends and family. You lose some people along the way, they are harsh lessons to learn, but hey, experience doesn't come from being spoon-fed.
I had initially thought that Sobriety would be as lonely as being a drunk.
Yes, I have lost friends on the path of my journey, but the bonds with the friends that have stayed have grown significantly stronger and my family has grown closer. I have found new friends and starting the new friendships is one of the greatest feelings ever!
99% of my friends and family drink alcohol, but there is a firm understanding that I will not touch it again in my lifetime and it is not a burden to either them or me. It is a conversation starter.
The fun I have with being Sober these days is going to a social gathering, enjoying my Eskimo Cocktail (Water with ice and maybe a slice of lemon if I am feeling adventurous), and watching the others around me go down their own paths of varying degrees of blood in their alcohol systems.....
Every person has their own alcohol characteristics..... one will become more emotional, one never shuts up and tells the same story over and over and longer and longer each time. There is the "I love you" guy / girl. One always finds the comfy couch and has a Power nap continuously (and swears the next day that they did not "pass out").
Sobriety is not all Doom and Gloom - yes there are the dark days.
Since starting my journey, I have grown exponentially as my own person and I look back on my past, not with regret, but with an appreciation of having learnt from it.
This is me...... and this is my story :)