I know for a lot of people their sober journey can begin in a bit of a stop-start fashion. They have periods of not drinking, then periods of drinking, then back to not drinking. .. until eventually recovery sticks.
For me I never did that. I made the firm decision that I was going to stop forever, and I stuck to that decision. Once I decided I was quitting that was it. I’ve never touched alcohol since that day (and I never will).
Admittedly I had two years of hard-out attempting to moderate before that, and had done a lot of reading and research within that time period.. but the decision to stop completely and forever came only once and stuck.
Why is that?
Partly it’s because I didn’t kid myself. When I got to the point of making the big decision to stop I was doing it with full 100% acceptance that I couldn’t control alcohol.
I knew this because during my last two years of drinking I tried a million different ideas and techniques to control my intake and none of them had worked. I had tried recording my drinks in a notebook. That didn’t work. I tried having months off here and there to lower my tolerance. That didn’t work. I tried only drinking on the weekend. That didn’t work. I tried drinking different types of booze. That didn’t work. I tried having a glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage. That didn’t work either. None of it worked.
With alcohol I was all or nothing. If I was drinking I wanted to drink. I wanted to drink whatever I liked on any night that I wanted and as much as I desired. So by the time I got to my lowest point I had the facts and I wasn’t going to be an idiot and avoid them. The truth – as uncomfortable as it was – was blatantly obvious.
I. Could. Not. Moderate. Alcohol.
The other reason I think sobriety stuck from Day One is that once I decided to live sober I dove into recovery head on, reading loads of blogs and books on the subject (particularly Jason Vale and Allan Carr), and was quite quickly attracted to the countercultural nature of it. It felt bold and big and brave and that appealed to the rebel in me. I decided I was up for the challenge.
There is nothing more bold and big and brave than to step outside of the mainstream, flip the bird to a society that tells you drinking regularly is an ordinary and acceptable thing to do, and shun such a notion.
There is nothing more bold and big and brave than deciding to face all of the challenges that life throws at you without brain bending – ever.
There is nothing more bold and big and brave than being prepared to deal with every painful human emotion in the raw for the rest of your days.
And there is nothing more bold and big and brave and bawdy than fighting against every person who might be judging you for being boring or fatally flawed, owning your addiction and refusing to drink alcohol ever no matter what opinions or pressure comes along.
This is why I think sobriety works for so many of us boozers. Because we are feisty rebels. We used to relish the challenge and naughtiness of getting sloshed all the time, and now we have transferred that rebellious energy into rising to the challenge that is life in the raw.
Gather your feisty attitude, your rebellious nature, your grit and determination and go for it. It’s a bumpy ride for sure… but living sober is totally manageable for us sturdy folk… and it is so, so, so worth the effort.