Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sobriety 101 Part 2

So, of course what happens after you get sober is that you have to stay sober. No easy task there. Unless it is easy, which some days it really just is. And then there are those other days. The hard ones. Ugh.

Here's the thing: you will never know how good sober feels until you do it. You can head to the fridge for just one more for one more day or five more years. You can wait until you are ready, or you can know that by thinking you might be ready, you just might really be ready.

Getting sober is hard. Really hard. (Like you didn't already know that. Duh.) Booze is not for you. You can't have it. If you read my blog I'm guessing you have a problem with alcohol. The only way to get rid of that problem is to stop drinking. And the only way to stop is to....stop. There are a thousand ways I adjust every day to stay sober. 988 of them I don't even notice.

You thought you were ready. But then a few weeks or months later it turns out you weren't ready. And you drink. And it isn't different. It's the same mother effer that it ever was. And so are you. You are that same person who couldn't drink. On your report card it says, "_____ is a delight in class. Eager to learn. Cannot moderate." Whoops. The dog ate my homework. But do you have to start the whole grade over again? Hell no. You just study a little harder. Lock up the dog when you're trying to finish your homework. Stop trying to moderate and maybe jump rope instead.

I guess moderation works for some people- and many people I read still hope to be able to drink again.This is not me. I get such comfort from knowing I don't even have to worry about that anymore. I don't drink. I can't. It's just not allowed. And that doesn't make me sad, or miserable. It doesn't make me long for the days of yore. It doesn't make me feel left out, or lacking. It makes me feel sober. And kind of like a bad-ass.

You don't know me personally, but you know me from reading what I write. Some days I cry a little after I write this blog thinking about me, who I used to be. How grateful I am that I gave myself a chance. How just one hundred days (less really.) changed my entire life. How I wish I could take everyone who is still struggling with quitting and bring them home with me for a while to feed them soup and care and seltzer. Thinking about maybe you, reading this, and you wishing you were talking about your hundred days. Or your one week. How I wish I knew, when I was stopping and starting over and over again how good it would feel to just stop. How I wish you knew I was there in my heart, holding your hand, telling you to be brave. Telling you it is uncomfortable. Totally. And we would laugh about it. How at the beginning you are all loose ends and feelings. How you are kind of a beautiful mess, but a sober one.

Here's another thing. Staying sober is hard too. I can't say how hard it is past the day I'm on. But I think that's the way to do it- stay on the day you're on. Whether you want to count it or not. And also think about the future. What if I were brave enough to say "I will never drink again" and it stayed true for the rest of my life? What if we all just were that brave? To say a big word like never. To follow it with again.

How to be sober: never drink again.

How to stay sober: keep saying never. Again, and again, and again.


  1. You're right - I only know you from your writing. And I haven't been following you for a whole ton of time. But forgive me for saying, I notice a slowly changing tone and feel to your writing. There seems to be a calmness, a settling, a certain feeling that you've gotten more comfortable in your own skin. There is a stronger belief and feeling that all will be fine...a quiet confidence of sorts that comes off the screen. It's a wonderful thing to see. Again, forgive me if that comes off as too personal or encroaching. But I really enjoy what you're saying more and more and I certainly get something out of what you say every time you post. I can see the reaching out to newcomers more and more, and that's amazing. It's what keeps me going, that is for sure...helping others. In many ways you do take people in and care and nourish do it with your words and give some of the people comfort through your experience.

    It's a wonderful thing you've got going on here.

    Thank you very much.:)


    1. Thanks Paul. I am most definitely feeling like a better Amy. Like the real one.

      And don't be shy about those observations. I like to hear them.

  2. dear amy. you rock. you're just the perfect example of how 'never' works for some people, and how 'just for today' works for others. I'm curious, when you say 100 days or less... when do you think it really changed for you? like, on what day sober did you have an aha moment that this was going to ROCK.
    me xo

    1. I think it was about day 7. when I made it through a solid week I OK, no. Wait. It was actually when I made it through day 5, because that was always the day I would feel healthy and good and so therefore I could drink again. No problems here! Right. And then after day 7 I got that "Holy shit" feeling. That "I'm really doing this" feeling. The "no turning back now" feeling.

      xoxoxo to you too fellow rock.

  3. This is fantastic. All of the time and energy we put into moderating is mind boggling. "I'll only drink on weekends." "I'll make sure to have a glass of water for each glass of wine." "I'll stop drinking at 10 PM." So many phrases I have used, but it is just far more simple and freeing to not pick up that first drink. As I alluded to in my post I just wrote, I have NO power when I pick up that first drink. But I have a lot of tools that I can use (blogging, emails, AA meetings, calls/text with sober buddies, reading, exercising, music, praying, etc) to BUILD my power so that I DON'T take that first drink. Again, love this!

    1. That first drink always leads to the 7th for me too. When I stopped it had gotten to the point where I was starting to not even drink the wine, it was more like chugging the wine. I started putting seltzer in so I wouldn't go through a whole bottle in an hour. So half wine, half seltzer meant I finished the first bottle at 8PM instead of while I was cooking dinner. Wow. I just realized that.

      Thank you, for your comment, and for that. :)

  4. Yeah, there's getting sober and then there's living sober. Getting sober is something we can achieve in a relatively short period of time. Living sober is an on-going never ending process. I said to Mr D the other day that in ten years time I'll probably still occasionally get bummed because I can't join in the bubbles to celebrate something. That's my lot in life now, sober me. But so fucking what. There are worse things in life. And really, what's wrong with sparkling grape juice when you are raising a glass in happy solidarity with other human beings. I'll cope. Another great post from you Amy xxxx

    1. I've been doing a lot of thinking about getting sober vs. staying sober.

      Sobriety gets a bad rap.

      Thanks Mrs D!

  5. Yes...keep saying no, and then no again and again. Until all the 'no's' add up to so many amazing experiences which are enjoyed all the more because we were sober and fully present.

    Great post, Amy!

  6. Staying sober was a long and hard journey for me especially on those days that my friends invited me to go out and drink. I admire your conviction towards neglecting alcohol and the way you stuck to it. I agree with your last words that, in order to stay sober, you have to say never and repeat the process whenever you are offered booze.

    Dinah Gerdts