What It Means To Be Sober

As I settle deeper and deeper into my sobriety, it has just become…well…living.  I haven’t been writing lately because there’s really nothing about which I feel like writing.  We’re crazy busy at work so my funny bone is on hiatus and the sobriety thing is just an everyday part of my life.  Nothing new…nothing earth shattering…no “ah-ha’s”…no middle of the night or in the shower revelations about living life without alcohol.

It just IS.

I’ve been thinking about what that means to me and what I think about living this way for the rest of my life.  Once upon a sober time I thought that one day, when I’m old and gray I’d start drinking again because I’d have one foot in the grave anyway and so who gives a flying fuck.  That was because under no circumstances could I ever consider the idea of NEVER EVER EVER drinking a glass of wine or, gasp, champagne EVER again.  I would just push the thought out of my mind for another day.

Now it seems that, just like when I quit smoking, I’ve reached the point that I can’t think of one single solitary reason that I would ever again pick up a drink.  That person seems so distant and unlike who I am now, it’s hard to believe I was ever her.   Not that I’ve forgotten that woman, much to the contrary, she lives and breathes inside of me every day; but I don’t need or want her around anymore so she lies dormant…forever I hope.

In fact, from time to time when she’s resurrected through conversation or memories and I cringe and feel that icky stomach that says, “Yes, that was you.  Yes, you did that”, it’s followed quickly by “That is the past.  That is no longer you.  Let it go.”  So I do.  Or at least I try.

Because life is now so…normal.  Yes I’m still working on me and my food and body issues and trying to figure out why I self sabotage and all kinds of other psycho-babble things that should have been addressed oh I don’t know…about 30 freaking years ago.  But it’s woven into the day-to-day normalcy of a life without hiding, absent of drama and totally present.  It’s about just being instead of trying to be.  Does that make any sense?

I simply go along in that day-to-day life just plain living and not trying to be someone else or have what someone else has or live someone else’s life.  I spent so much time in my life wishing I was somewhere else or someone else that I cheated myself out of just being who I am and living the life God meant for me…just me…and no one else.

So being sober means just being.

Damn girl…that’s deep.

It’s really the only way to explain it.  I think part of the disease of addiction is psychological issues caused either by genetics or life events that had me behaving like an addict long before I actually picked up my first drink, lit my first cigarette or stepped into Target for the first time.  Those issues also caused me to hide instead of deal and stuff down feelings that should have been felt and then let go.  I always thought of myself as less than and compared myself to others thinking they had it better or were better or at least looked better.  Then I would seek to soothe externally and when that failed to make me feel better – the cycle would begin again.

Now?  Now there is no cycle.  No hiding.  Just feeling and dealing and being and living.

So being sober is just living, just as I am for as long as I have and appreciating what I have, right now, in this moment; and being grateful I have it.

It’s also about no longer being afraid or ashamed.  I let fear and shame control so much of my life.  Fear of failing.  Fear of being found out.  Shameful of where I came from and who I was.  Fear of someone noticing that I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing on any given day and shame that I couldn’t possibly do it right even if I did know.  Fear of people not loving me because they’ve discovered who I really am under the facade.  Oh hell, who am I kidding…fear and shame of and for every-fucking-thing!

I’m no longer living under the black umbrella of shame.  I’ve dealt with the things for which I had a right to feel shame and tried to let go of all the other shit.  I will admit to still being afraid sometimes.  I’m afraid I’ll somehow forget how authentic this life is.  I’m afraid of taking it for granted and not be grateful.  I’m also still afraid of losing the ones I love but not because they “found me out” but for the same reasons everyone else fears losing loved ones.  You know…reasons like a meteor falling from the sky and conking them on the head so that they can’t remember who I am.  Those reasons.  You know…normal reasons.

Being sober means living without fear or shame.

I love my authentic, living, being, fear-free, shameless life.  It’s so much easier than my old one.  I think I’ll keep it.



16 thoughts on “What It Means To Be Sober

  1. Great post. Good to hear from you and to learn you are living, or rather being in a drama-free zone.
    Showers thoughts can be the best, can’t they? Except I always reach for the conditioner and wonder, Hm, did I use the shampoo yet?

  2. Ah Sherry – you read my mind. I was nodding throughout this whole wonderful post. Yup – living. check. sober. Check. Ok – now what? Ha ha. Well, go back and check that list again buddy. Actually, the sober part is a given right now, so just keep at the “living” part. And that’s what we do. I have to admit struggling lately at what to write on my own little corner of the universe. Because frankly, things are going well. Not to say that we don’t share our happiness and joy, but to us it’s just a part of life, yes?

    so we motor on, feeling better in our own skin and doing the deal.

    It may not be exciting copy, but I’ll take it any day over what it used to be like.

    Lovely post, my friend. thank you.


  3. Damn girl, that is deep! But also really simple. The black umbrella of shame sucks and I know it well. For me, I know I never could have healed old shame had I not gotten sober. I would’ve constantly been creating new reasons to feel shame. Lovely, life affirming post!

  4. Great post, I too am another 50+ woman trying to get my shit together and lived a lot of what you describe. When I started my sobriety I became overcome with grief having “lost” so much of what life had to offer for many of the reasons you describe…fear and shame. I am entering the “Let go and Let God” phase and finding peace just being. What a journey…
    Thanks for taking the time to post, it is helpful to hear your words so well delivered.

  5. Excellent post. Definitely in agreement with all you say. Just getting past that low level not quite self-loathing but self-dislike has been a really great step forward for me. Wish I got there earlier but it’s good to be here now nevertheless. It’s great to be moving forward with much more positive energy.

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