I spent over 2 years battling with my addiction to booze and my drinking got worse before it got better. Over those 2 years of slipping while trying to stay sober, I ended up hating booze so much. Until the triggers happened and the cravings called. Then booze was once again my adult comforter. After days of fighting to stay free of alcohol, giving in and buying booze often gave me the same warm sense of security that we got as kids with our blankets, dummies, or special teddies. Sober felt raw and new and frightening. Drinking was what I knew. What I was used to. My comfort zone.
I finally got to a point in my journey when something clicked and I managed 3 weeks sober for the first time ever without slipping. I never wanted to drink again!
And then I slipped.
And I slipped again a few weeks later.
For about 5 months I had these little slips once every few weeks. Why? How pointless! I could have been in my 16th month of sobriety today had I not wasted my time on those slips. With each slip, however, I observed and learned from the experience. And after the last slip, I finally couldn’t hide from the truth anymore. Alcohol really gave me nothing I wanted. The only seemingly good things I got from it were so fleeting or merely an illusion. I didn’t even like the taste of alcohol anymore! My AF beers now tasted nicer than the real ones. That chemical unpleasant aftertaste of the alcohol was abhorrent once the sham of alcohol had been laid bare.
Why though did I keep slipping back during those first 5 months of trying to stay sober?
I think that it was fear of finally and forever taking those training wheels off. Of giving up my familiar comforter. I think that it was the fear of the unknown and my reflexive need to stay in the safety of the familiar.
I had a lack of trust that life can be enjoyable and manageable without a little dose of alcohol now and then.
And there was a faint, deluded whisper of hope that somehow this idea of comfort and soothing could really be found in a glass.
It goes without saying that of course, when I took those training wheels off, stopped slipping, and stayed sober, I was fine. Nothing terrible happened. In fact, things got easier. No having to get off the metaphorical bike to get up a curb.
When I finally stopped slipping and stayed sober it was because I had Faith that everything would be OK. That I would manage the uncomfortable unknowns and cross the bridges of the future when they materialized. I stopped thinking about and worrying about life in the future without alcohol. I Chose to have Faith and let it happen.
I accepted completely that I no longer enjoy what the alcohol package (I mean the full experience, from the decision to drink to 48 later and everything in between) has to offer me. I acknowledged that I have given alcohol 100’s (thousands?) of chances to prove that it works for me. That I can control my relationship with alcohol. That it benefits me. And alcohol’s consistently let me down. I accepted that and let it go like a boyfriend that has hurt me too many times.
I walked away and deleted its number.
I have not once regretted being sober in the last 11 months. Not once. Not a tiny bit.
Experiencing life in a new way is kind of invigorating. It makes me feel alive and fresh. Quite a relief from that stale stagnant feeling I had when drinking through everything on repeat. Hitting the same roadblocks all the time because I was continually doing something that no longer worked for me.
Now that I’m solidly sober I tend to enjoy unfamiliar territory with curiosity. I do not feel naked without booze in social situations as I feared I would. I am now curious to experience dating without it for the first time ever. And I’m glad that I will get the opportunity to find love and build a relationship in my life without alcohol being part of that process.
We only get one life and I’m grateful that I am giving myself the chance to experience life sober. I have experienced what it’s like with booze for many years. It’s nice to know what it’s like without. It’s like the choice between only ever living in one house your whole life or giving yourself the opportunity to experience living in other places. As much as I’m a home and family person, I have lived in many places and experienced a lot of different people. Something I’m so glad I’ve experienced in this life. So I like variety, and spending my whole adult life with alcohol as a constant companion would be a rather limited experience. Life has far more to offer.
If you are still slipping now and then or here there and everywhere, I hope this is useful to you. Trying to stay sober can feel like walking a tightrope. But I think once we have faith, and trust in our ability to do it, staying alcohol-free becomes easier. We can walk more securely and the tightrope turns into a solid path.
We can do it. Anyone can do it. You Can Do It.
Before we had our first sip of alcohol we had lived life sober and managed. We did not need to drink addictive toxic liquid to get through the end of the day or to be ourselves in company. We just did life all by ourselves. And there’s absolutely no reason that we can not live that way now.
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