I've been thinking about this a lot the past few weeks, since Scott celebrated his 26th year of sobriety - of being sober, or alcohol free. He is certainly sober, but never somber!
I have patients, family, friends, who are dealing with addiction issues, and one of the things they argue about is that they think sobriety means becoming somber, losing the life they think they have when using or drinking. And I have to disagree.
I remember when I lived in Alabama, and we'd go to dinner with friends, and they'd have budgeted so much for drinks for the evening, and mention that they really needed to relax in order to enjoy the evening. And they were always so surprised that we didn't need drinks to have a good time. This was just puzzling for them.
And I think we all have our crutches that help us relax, our addictions, that perhaps we need to have sobriety from. I hope I'm making sense, but then I'm a circular thinker, so hang in -
I'm not talking habits, I'm talking addictions, things that dictate and control our every day activities, i.e. food, 64 oz. of caffeine, exercise, pain meds, stimulants. Anything abused - anything that we can't live without, that controls us rather than us controlling it.
Becoming sober is a killer - it takes so much self-control, it takes a sponsor - someone who has walked the path and made it through, it takes checking in with yourself and your Higher Power, it takes being accountable to self and sponsor, and it takes a strong desire to break through bondage.
For instance - a recovering addict who needed pain meds. She let them control her, until she discovered they weren't giving her the joy she needed; she had found her joy in being clear and being in a healthy relationship. And when abuse knocked her down to no pain meds for a few days, her weekend was extraordinarily long, and her pain was addiction pain, not cancer-related pain.
And another - who is an opiod addict, because of being improperly prescribed and held accountable, and now, when a relationship could easily be ruined (a good good good relationship), when push comes to shove, having to decide which master to serve - clarity and goodness, or a relationship with opiods rather than a person.
It's a struggle - I know, I see it daily with my loved one, as he makes a choice every day to live in sobriety. And every day, every step, is one in faith, in hope, in determination to live clean, clear, and in touch with reality. One day at a time.
There - sobriety.