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.
I live ONE DAY AT A TIME now, knowing that I cannot change my life’s situation as it stands today but that I can accept it and find the joy in today.
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!
Mom Off Meth says
This is a great post. So descriptive. Having been there myself, I get it.
I love this post Julie. Thank you for sharting!
Journeysof TheZoo says
I always enjoy reading your honest posts. Thanks for sharing.
Zookeeper at Journeys of The Zoo
This is totally true. It is so honest and again, so true. And, it seems everyone’s experience is different. Some people stop right away, some struggle and relapse, some stop drinking immediately but live with the ism for years.
Your first paragraph is dead on as I recall it took a year for me to admit it. I would say in meetings, “I abuse alcohol.”
I appreciate your honesty.
Martha Brown says
One of the lovely post I’ve ever read, this my first time to visit your blog and everything here have sense. Great post.
Try a few more meetings berofe you compare yourself out, friend. Take what you can use, and don’t split hairs if you are or aren’t, don’t leave 5 minutes berofe the miracle. If I rationalized everything I heard with my old brain, berofe getting the spiritual awakening after working all 12 steps of AA, I’d be dead.Keep coming back, it’s not HOW we drank, it’s WHY we drank that made us Alcoholic. Men and women drink essentially to change the way we FEEL. You are never alone, as long as you keep seeking the experience.
Tonya Marie says
The word felt like failure to me. I had failed at life by being an alcoholic, failed at motherhood, everything. I know better now. Being an alcoholic has made me stronger. Recovery made me stronger and I can apply the steps I use in recovery to every aspect of my life. It isn’t easy. About 10 months ago I had the worst cravings and I almost gave in. But I had worked too hard to get sober. I had been through way too much and so had my children and I couldn’t throw everything away. I am happily sober today, one day at a time, and it has gotten easier with each passing day. Not EVERY day is simple and easy, but by the Grace of God, I am doing it. I am grateful.
I used to go to meetings and consider myself sober and actually count days by my own definition of what “not drinking” meant.
One day it was-only 4 nips a day (never, ever successful)
One day it was-only if my son doesn’t see.
One day it was- only if I don’t drink Vodka
And on and on.
I refused to use the word, “Alcoholic.” I wanted no one to take away my ability to drink.
But when the pain got so excruciating and I finally became-after 15 years of torture-to admit defeat, I realized that I CAN drink anytime I want. No one has taken that from me. I just choose not to for this one day. And I really mean one day.
The fact that I can choose to drink makes it so much easier not to.
I am trying sobriety again, and this really spoke to me. Sunday night was the last time I drank, it is Wednesday and *almost* 5:00. I was just having an internal dialogue with myself “why can’t I just have a couple beers…as long as I stay away from vodka, it will be fine”. I argued back at myself naturally, but too often that first voice wins :X Thank you for providing support for that second voice! http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=7834514795441831188#overview/src=dashboard
paula schuck says
Julie: Great inspiration as always. I love your honesty.