There comes a point in sobriety where you have to force yourself to confront difficult emotions without any crutches. These are not easy moments, nor are they completely unfamiliar to you. In fact, these are the same thoughts and memories that would, in another life, drive you to open the bottle and get blasted. But now that you’re sober, there’s a new, naked vulnerability invading your inner world and it’s going to get harder before it gets easier.
The following articles deal exclusively with sobriety and sober living. From getting sober, to dealing with cravings, to staying sober long term, you’ll find a variety of tips to help you on your sobriety journey.
Alcohol is everywhere. It permeates our culture. It’s in advertisements, movies, literature, our yoga classes (which still baffles me). Before I started getting serious about sobriety, I hadn’t really noticed because it was so ingrained into my everyday life. Of course we can find it in all the old familiar places: bars, clubs, restaurants. But it doesn’t end there. We’ve got book clubs with wine. Baby showers with wine. Painting classes with wine. Concerts in the park. With wine. We are constantly being inundated with the idea that we need alcohol to have fun, socialize, kick back, or function successfully.
Y’all. It is December 26th and I feel like a weight has lifted. I am reveling in the magic of this morning (with a dash of grief for the death George Michaels to which I say, “F*ck you, 2016”). I woke up, dragged my ass to the gym, made a protein smoothie and then gave myself some space to appreciate the fact that I am not in bed hungover with a slight cough from smoking because I came very, VERY close to that reality. Everybody who celebrates (and many who don’t) have their own relationship with Christmas. Generally speaking, I like this holiday. I like the music, the baked goods, the warmth. For me Christmas evokes the imagery of fire places, warm sweaters, hot cocoa, and family. Last year was particularly great as I got to spend the holiday season in Rome. This year, however, the hubs and I stayed in the UAE, far away from family and friends and I struggled through the entire day. Here are the three very big thorns in my sober side from Christmas 2016.
I’ve been having an eye-opening experience with Caroline Knapp’s book, “Drinking: A Love Story.” Before I get started with this train of thought, I will just say that anyone who has or has had a bad relationship with alcohol should read this book. I find myself stopping to highlight and make notes a lot while I read. Often her words sound like conversations I’ve had in my own head. “Me too,” I say. Yesterday, I read her thoughts on moderation and the self-help trend during the 90’s that she dubs the “moderation movement.” She calls the idea that you can teach or train an alcoholic to moderate her drinking a contradiction in terms. The lack of an inability to moderate is, by definition, what makes us alcoholics. Most of us have never moderated alcohol. She writes, “The struggle to control intake – modify it, cut it back, deploy a hundred different drinking strategies in the effort – is one of the most universal hallmarks of alcoholic behavior.” I know this behavior all too well, as did Knapp, as do probably a million folks worldwide who experience the same struggles with alcohol that we do. I chuckled a little to myself reading the various examples she gives the reader: switching from hard liquor to beer (me, except it was cider), setting time limits on drinking (ex. I won’t drink before five – also me), and my personal favorite that never worked but was suggested to me by a women’s magazine, “have a glass of water for every glass of alcohol.” The amount of mental energy I have wasted negotiating with myself on alcohol consumption, finding ways to get out of stopping and just change it up a little, is both astounding and laughable. What was I doing? Why do I STILL find myself engaging in this song and dance...