Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Forever. That's a Mighty Long Time.

I had a conversation with my universe sent friend Amy about being sober. About how long is OK. About if it's a day by day thing, one day at a time, or what about forever?

For me, forever works. I'll tell you why: there is never ever any choice about whether I drink again or not. I don't. Ever again. Not in two years, or on my tenth wedding anniversary, or when my eight year old son gets married one day. Never.

And maybe forever might work for you, too.

It's kind of like this: I don't ever ever have to decide if I'm going to drink again. When I woke up that morning nine months ago I decided, "If I ever drink again it will wreck my life. Welp, thank god we're done with that." And then it's hard some, and easy some. But there is never that chance to waffle around and second guess myself. There is never the maybe just one or two conversation, the I can handle it back and forth with myself, with my alcoholic self. That person has to be gone forever. Or I will shrivel up and die a slow sad death while hurting the people I love the most. No thanks.

I can't follow the one day at a time philosophy because that gives me too much leeway with something I don't need any freedom about. Obviously I can't be trusted to make good decisions when it comes to booze, so I have to never have a choice. Since, knowing me, there's a good chance I would make the wrong one. Over, and over, and over again. So forever is a relief for me. In that phew, it's out of my hands way that faith makes people feel. The pressure is off.

I've talked with people who can't say forever. That saying forever makes it too hard to quit. Saying to myself, "Well, I won't drink today, but I can tomorrow" makes me feel all wobbly and like I'm already headed to the wine store. Even if every day I say "Just today" it makes me feel like I'm not sure about tomorrow, which makes me nervous. Real nervous.

Forever makes me safe.

Forever is big. I've been sober for nine months now. Forever is much bigger than that. But these last nine months have been the best of my life. When I say "best" I don't mean easiest, or happiest, or I've been floating on a cloud of joyous rapture. I mean whoa dude, look. I have lived. I have been a real person in the world. I have cried hard and desperately, wrung my insides out. I have learned so much about myself: most surprisingly that I really do like me. A lot. I have loved with my learning to open heart, and smiled so big that I have to stretch out my arms and shake my butt a little, pump my fist in the air a little.

I will definitely take all of that forever. With a side of always for good measure.

So maybe forever might be OK for you, too. You could walk up and introduce yourself. You might have a lot in common with forever and you didn't even know it. Forever could be the back up you needed to make sobriety work. It could be totally OK to wrap yourself in the security blanket of never again. Forever makes me not doubt myself, which makes me trust myself. And that makes me stronger. And sober. Forever.


  1. It seems like the "one day at a time" thing is really ingrained in our world as the way to stay sober. But I like your approach. Most people don't talk about it that way. Of course the only way to get there is one day at a time. Our actions are one day at a time but what we know is that it is a commitment forever, that it must be, and that the door can never be open to anything else. Every time I learn about someone else's approach to sobriety that isn't "hi my name is ______, and I'm an alcoholic" it feels refreshing to me and like I want to join in. Love your posts.

  2. I really can't wait till our lunch. We are so much alike.

    I've written about this often. The fact that I NEED forever. Nothing else will work. That's the only way the bitch that lives in my head will shut up and the beast will sleep. If I think, "well maybe when...", then they both wake up and start tap dancing on my last nerve and then it's a struggle to have to shut them up again.

    Nope. For me it's forever. I do recommend to the newly sober that if they are struggling, thinking of one day at a time or, "I won't drink today and I'll worry about tomorrow when it gets here" can be helpful to get you through the bad times. But that never happened for me. When I went through the bad times I'd just grit my teeth and dig in further because I knew that one day it would be easier and once I got there, I'd never want to go back.

    Forever is a lovely word to me. It means peace.


    1. Dude, our lunch is going to be epic. And maybe turn into dinner. ;)

      Forever can seem like trying to eat the whale in one gulp. But, I don't have to worry about tomorrow. It will get here and I won't drink. Period. So now I can worry about how big my butt is. ;) Lol.

      I feel like the forever thing might be hard at first (what? never drink again???) but that it made it easier for me to succeed since drinking again was not an option. Ever.

      Namaste :)

  3. Well, I am one day at a time here, but I love your post! I can totally see why it works for you and deep down I know it's forever for me too! But in the beginning i was relapsing so much, I just couldn't deal with forever! I think it was because I still had reservations. But my last drunk I remember thinking, that this was it and I was done forever! Very cool! Thanks!

    1. You're welcome! And thanks for being willing to look at forever with me. :)

  4. "Forever makes me safe." This is exactly why one-day-at-a-time makes me nervous. When I hear others say "well I don't know if I'll be able to keep up not-drinking forever, but for now it feels right" I feel threatened. Why go to all the trouble and do this really (sometimes) hard thing to make a better life for ourselves and those we love if we don't intend to keep at it? I guess I take it too seriously, but yes, forever works for me too.

    Someone made a comment the other day to the effect that removing the option of drinking forever just makes everything else easier, more simple, I guess.

    The one-day-at-a-time sentiment helps me, though, when I'm trying to get through a particularly shitty day. Then I remind myself I only have to worry about today. But it's more about stress and less about drinking.

    1. I do forever backwards when I'm having a shitty day. As in, "This shitty day is not forever."

      But because I am sober forever I can believe that the shitty days won't last forever.

  5. I really like the way you think! WOW! Forever is easier huh?
    (I did get past the one day at a time thing.... Forever sure does seem RIGHT!) I loved how you said, you cant be trusted to make good decisions about booze... I think you just made a GREAT ONE!
    Thanks for sharing.... I will be following!

  6. You know, I think I'm going to have to make the forever commitment. I think I have but then I find myself thinking, maybe just one, sometime down the road, not now, not today but someday, maybe. It's time to be done with that because someday I may actually say, "Today's the day." Yep, never forever sounds pretty good.