Alcoholism was not mine. It was a means to an end for a furious, depressed, traumatized teenager. I own that I continued to decide to have alcohol in my life for a long time. I found alcohol when I needed tools to get me through life. Alcohol was the only tool that I found at the time.
Alcohol and I were instant best friends. Alcohol made me funny, less awkward, and most importantly, numbed the pain of my existence at the time. It didn’t take long before I felt that I couldn’t function without alcohol. I was fifteen.
Being sober, on the other hand – is mine. Mine. My decision. I share my choice with others, like my hubs. But it was a conscious decision that I made after much research and some near misses while driving that it would be better, safer for me to become sober. And yes, much to the dismay and discomfort of some friends, friends who are no longer in the friends’ circle.
I took the path of sobriety, therapy, and recovery.
My path has brought me TWO YEARS OF SOBRIETY!!! This New Year’s Eve will be my two-year Soberversary. Two years! Holy shit. I didn’t think I would make it a week. Hell, I didn’t think I would make it through the first night. I was itching, twitching, wanting to drink so badly.
I was alone that night. Having decided that I did not want to go out, be around people because I knew I wouldn’t keep the promise to myself. So if I drank, no one would have known except me. And that was it – I would no longer let myself down.
The first year was rough. There were many challenges that year. I am still trying to figure some of those things out. Like, do I want to drink non-alcoholic beer? How do I feel about mocktails? Am I hiding my issues by drinking those alcohol-free beverages? You know, faking that I am drinking? Still not sure.
Sobriety is Amazeballs!
I know now that sobriety is AMAZING! I have tried hard not to say how being sober is better than drinking constantly. I will try not to say it too many times, but damnit, it is very true. SOBER LIFE IS WAY MORE AWESOME!!!
A few things that I have noticed:
- I am awake for sunrises in Las Vegas, sunrises anywhere really – there is nothing like a sunrise
- the sun shines brighter – probably because I am awake sans hangover and can be outside without it hurting my eyes
- Food tastes better – I can actually taste food and care that it tastes good.
- I can carry on conversations ALL EVENING LONG. I don’t slur my words; I remember what I said and what I did.
- I am more aware of what I need to do to take care of myself to include boundaries; I can think through what I need and put up limits that are healthy for me
Wait, there’s more? Hell yes, there Is.
That is quite the list of sober awesomeness. There is one more crucial awesomeness about sobriety – clarity. I have clarity within my mind. I could not think clearly for a long, long time. That clarity is like a lost long friend that I didn’t realize I was missing.
I continue to figure things out because I am not afraid to face them anymore. Alcohol gave me a pass to not ever deal with anything. Alcohol gave me a place to hide, and for a while, I needed that. I no longer need that hiding space, nor do I want that pass. I am passing on that pass (see what I did there?)
There are times that I miss having that pass, that hiding space. Now I work through things both on my own, with my hubs, friends, family, and all-important therapist. Without her help and the help of the therapists I have had, I would not be able to work through what I have.
Struggle is Present
I am having way more fun in the sober world than I ever did in the alcohol world. There are times that I feel left out, but those moments are fading. Because I sit back and watch the people around me devolve as alcohol’s effects take over their central nervous system. It is a good reminder that I don’t want to be that anymore.
And yes, without alcohol’s numbing effects, everything is so LOUD. My ability to sift through and the process is more challenging because everything comes at me all at once. It’s like sitting inside giant speaker boxes at concerts (I have done – do not recommend).
Sure, all of those feelings, the anxiety, the depression, all of the ‘fun’ things that complex PTSD brings to the table are at times running rampant. But they always were; I could ignore them for a time. Now I am aware of them. Instead of numbing, I want to learn.
I had a recent trip to Las Vegas. I was concerned about that. What, if anything, might trigger me? I went to Vegas with shields up and weapons at the ready. I didn’t need my entire arsenal. That is the result of all of the work I have done. GO ME!
Just the Facts, Ma’m
Alcohol is a drug. Make no mistake about it. It just happens to be a legal one. A drug that our world has made the center of everything. We use alcohol to celebrate everything from the beginning of life to the end and all the bits in between.
Based upon information retrieved from the Addiction Center website, approximately 22.7 million Americans (8.6%) have an addiction to drugs or alcohol (according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse).
It Can’t Be That Bad
Oh, but it can be, and it is. British drug and addiction psychiatrist David Nutt and his team of researchers set out to produce a conclusive list of the most addictive substances on the planet. Based on specific criteria they found the following as the top five most addictive drugs:
As I look at that list, I realize that I have stopped using two of the most addictive substances on the planet. Huh. Seriously, GO ME!!