In the days before an alcoholic gets sober it’s not shocking to hear them deny being an alcoholic. For myself the word felt like a death….by avoiding identifying myself with it somehow I felt I was still in control. The unfortunate thing is usually it’s obvious the person isn’t in control any longer.
Recently I was contacted by someone close to me asking how I “got over alcohol”. They are doing some soul-searching and though not ready to attach that dreaded word to themselves they are beginning to seek help. I read the email and took some time to ponder my reply.
There is NO easy way to live a sober life when you’re an alcoholic.
“I’m not an alcoholic, I just drink vodka everyday…just a few glasses but I need them.”
“I can’t be an alcoholic, I have a career, a family and only drink at night.”
Words and justifications such as this are so familiar to many of us who are living the sober life. We can remember the avoidance of explaining, of shame and accountability. So many of us manipulate our lives in order to still function on a high level while being dependent upon alcohol in our lives.
So how the heck have I reached the point I’m at today, happy and fulfilled in this world surrounded by alcohol and not drinking any?
I worked at it, this was something I wanted desperately. I was willing to go to ANY length to stay sober and still am. I humbled myself and realized how wrong I’d been about so many things. I came to understand that I am strong enough to deal with my emotions, daily challenges and the world in general without numbing myself to it.
It take effort every day to be sober of mind and spirit, to rely upon God to guide me and not try to take back the control of my life.
Slowly over time life didn’t seem so scary, once I learned to depend upon God to guide me…..well that’s about when my perspective shifted. These days I wake up and thank God for the day….then as my day unfolds I try to see where I can help someone else.
My selfish, self-centered ego has been quelled and nowadays things are much simpler….my life may actually seem boring to some folks if we compared it to days gone by….but this life is a rich one.
To those curious what life looks like to an alcoholic in recovery: short.
Look at your clock, those 24 hours are all that I have and for each minute of each hour I strive to be mindful of God’s will and grateful to be here enjoying it. Now I don’t mean to say that life is perfect, believe me when I say it’s challenging….but somehow knowing how close to the edge I’ve been I’m able to appreciate the little things today.
For my readers in the US I’ve found a website that lists some of the nation’s top facilities in an easy to use format, help is available!