“When you’re sober, especially if you want to stay that way, you have to be at peace with where you are. You have to believe you’re already where you need to be.” Wendy, for The Frisky
Sobriety. What a heavy word that sounds like! Yet, it is where I am at, for sure and true. It is one of the decisions that I have made in going forward with designing my life, that I truly believe I am done with. Finished. No ache or cravings or need to even reconsider. I feel done.
It wasn’t easy to come to this, and I don’t mean recently. Who in this world looks forward to viewing him/herself in a negative light, especially when one’s behavioral choices are slowly destroying them, and ruining the relationships around them? I know I didn’t see the full impact. The lack of trust I started to have in myself about how much I would really stop at in terms of my drink. The amount of money that I was spending on booze, including using a credit card when I was out of cash. Drinking alone. Drinking solely to get drunk. Drinking and driving numerous times, including several times when I could barely function, let alone, get behind the wheel.
I have always known the extent to which alcohol abuse/addiction/alcoholism ran like wildfire in my family lineage. I don’t know what I truly believe about alcoholism being a genetic predisposition, however, I know that I had the behavioral predisposition. I have seen a baby picture of myself, in my high chair, no more than a year old. I have a beer bottle in my hands. My pudgy little fingers are wrapped around the brown, round bottle, and I am raising it up. I drank from it, I was allowed to drink from it, so I am told. To the adults in the room, it was cute, funny, precious.
A baby with a beer bottle.
I don’t believe that the first tiny sips of beer is the reason as to why I am choosing a sober life now; I don’t see that as the first steps toward potential alcoholism. However, I do think that the message early on, that I might not remember from then, but remember as I grew older, was telling for sure. The message always was clear: alcohol is a part of any family occasion, whether it be wedding, funeral, cookout, or holiday. Not just a sip of wine with Thanksgiving dinner; not just a beer or two with your burger. A refrigerator full of beverages. Wine and wine coolers; beer and whiskey. What is it that you most desire? We surely have it. To my family, it was a way to have a variety that would please most anyone; it was a way of welcoming someone new, and helping each person present feel at ease.
So, not so harmful, right? Except for the fact that I rarely remember a time when alcohol was something to be enjoyed, safely and moderately. I was never told the message, to have one drink with dinner; and never drink and drive. I always was given the opposite message, as a matter of fact. Those around me almost always drank to get drunk; drove if they were able to get to the car, and usually, with passengers. Not due to a conscious disregard for the safety of themselves, or others, rather, because they knew that nothing bad would EVER happen.
I don’t like those odds anymore. And, it isn’t parenthood that was the final deciding factor. Hell, I have continued to drink, and to drink too much, and to drink and drive, long after I gave birth to our beautiful daughter. It is even bigger than that.
Drinking, small or large amounts, wine or shots, takes me further away from the person that I most want to be, not closer to that person.
I want to be a person that is pure in thought, word and deed. I want to be consistent in doing what I say I will do. I want the conversations in my head to match the ones that I having with someone. It doesn’t mean perfection, it means living closer to my dreams. Brilliance. Actively authoring and designing every aspect of my with full intention and purpose.
The truth is, I want to love myself more.
So, being sober, gratefully and happily sober, is a pure gesture of self love, awareness, and presence.