Staying Sober – 2 Heroic Tales of Cutting the Umbilical Cord to the Booze Beast

Staying Sober  – 2 Heroic Tales of Cutting the Umbilical Cord to the Booze Beast

How do you stay sober? There’s getting sober and then staying sober, and the two are a differnt beast. In the past, I spent way too much time arguing with myself about whether or not to have a drink. I was stuck in an endless debate, and I was exhausted by it. Sick and tired of fighting against myself. So I said ENOUGH! 

I WILL NOT DRINK. 

And every time the cravings crept their way into my awareness, I stopped them dead in their tracks. I will not take part in this argument any longer. 

I began to imagine, what would happen if I just didn’t drink right NOW? What would happen if I just don’t drink TODAY?

Most of the time, my answer to this question, was….well, nothing…ha! Nothing would happen. The day would just carry on. But nothing happening was a whole lot better than what would happen if I did chose to drink. And in that nothingness, was actually everything! Because I was no longer wasting my time or energy arguing with myself about whether or not I’d have a drink, I felt free, powerful and in control! I was finally opening my mind to what sobriety would make possible!! 

 “If you argue for your limitations, you get to keep them. But if you argue for your possibilities, you get to create them!” 


Kelly Lee Phipps Celestial Renaissance : A Revolution of Astrology

Your cravings will make every attempt to convince you that you *should* have a drink right now, but you don’t have to take part in that argument. 

I will not drink, no matter what. 
Repeat it over and over until the craving passes; it will pass! And when the next one arrives.. NOPE! I WILL NOT DRINK. 

Now imagine, what will happen if you don’t drink? Maybe nothing and maybe everything… but either way, there are endless possibilities YOU get to create when you say no to the drink! 

I’ve been thinking a lot these last couple of days about something that I’ve read frequently in Quit Lit books, that I’ve heard frequently from people who are either thinking about or trying to get sober, and that I also thought myself many times:

“Who am I without alcohol?”

When I asked this question, it was because alcohol had become the center of my identity. Drinking was what I did. All the time. It was my hobby, my fallback, my safety net…my everything, really. My whole life revolved around it. I was afraid that without alcohol, I wouldn’t know who I was anymore. So now, after three months sober, here are some things I know about myself:

With or without alcohol, I leave clothes in the dryer for far too long. But now I do laundry twice a week instead of waiting until both my son and I have completely run out of clean clothes.

With or without alcohol, I dislike getting up when it is dark outside. But now I don’t have to drag my sickly, hung over body out of bed inch by painstaking inch, and I usually end up enjoying the morning despite the darkness.

With or without alcohol, I dislike interruptions to my routine. But now my routine makes me feel good.

With or without alcohol, I enjoy cooking. But now I cook every day, and don’t purposefully select recipes that contain wine so I have an excuse to drink it.

With or without alcohol, I get frustrated with life’s inconveniences. But now they don’t completely derail me.

With or without alcohol, there are days I don’t really want to go to work. But now I go anyway.

With or without alcohol, I like spending time with my son. But now I spend MUCH more time with him, and I’m fully present when I do.

With or without alcohol, I check out way too many books from the library at once. But now I read them and (mostly) return them on time.

What I’m getting at here is that quitting drinking didn’t do anything to change me fundamentally. I didn’t lose one single thing by putting the bottle down. I have most of the same likes and dislikes that I had before I quit drinking. I have most of the same bad habits, too. 

What getting sober and staying sober did do is change the quality of my life by opening it back up again. My world had become so very, very small. It was me and my bottle in a tiny little bubble of drunkenness. It was me, all alone, trying to sneak in one or five or ten more drinks.

I am in many ways the exact same person I was before I quit drinking. It’s just that now, that person is actually living. She’s not drinking away her disappointment that she didn’t cook dinner, because she’s cooking dinner. She’s not staring at a stack of books and thinking she should really get around to reading them, because she’s reading. She’s not digging through the clothes in the dryer to find the last clean pair of underwear that she knows is in there somewhere, because she’s starting a new load of laundry.

Ultimately, the voice asking the question, “Who am I without alcohol?” is the same voice that tells you that you can have just one, that it’ll be fine this time around. It’s your Wine Witch trying to scare you so you don’t kick her to the curb. It’s Snidely, assuring you that you like being tied to the railroad tracks.

So don’t be afraid. You – the you that you know – is in there, and that person is still going to be there after you walk away from the bottle. You’ll just be walking quite a bit taller.


How do you Stay Sober Tale #1 : The Wine Reserve

Yesterday I did something really hard, one of the hardest things I’ve done since I stopped drinking well over a year ago, harder than I imagined. I took my 14 bottle “reserve” of my favorite wines and moved them from my personal locked wine fridge, to the family wine fridge in the kitchen. I’m embarrassed to say it was over 3k in wines, my absolute favorites, each an “ancient vine reserve” blah blah blah, usually paired with expensive cheese and luxury grapes on a festive platter, for special occasions, like when I decorated the tree by myself, or Saturday night by myself, pattern established?

I have been holding on to these ancient treasures, an anchor to my past love gone wrong, for almost 15 months. It was time for me to release them. Overdue actually. But damn, was it hard to unlock that cabinet, and let them go. Feeling very Golum, I took them out and moved them batch by batch. Putting them in the kitchen fridge, to be consumed by someone else felt so unfair. I had held on to them, curated them, once enjoyed them little by little. But they are no longer mine.

I will be happier when they are gone, I had to talk to myself out loud as I did it,

This is the right thing to do

I don’t drink anymore ever so these are just an emotional crutch I don’t need anymore

These need to go, it is overdue

I don’t need these in my life

I am not wasting money powering that fridge anymore, and moving it to the garage

Now that I think about it I could sell the fridge and get a sober treat- A BiG ONE!.

The last thing I did was unplug the fridge, I can’t move it by myself, like I said, big one, but it is not on anymore, I don’t hear it humming as I sit here.  I don’t want to drink them, but there is still today, something hard about letting them go. I still know it is the right thing to do. I will give a few to my Dad on his 88th birthday (this week). Mr. will drink some over the holidays. Soon they- and the fridge- will  just be more in my rearview mirror, but I have to go through this part to get to that part. Luckily I have learned how to walk through tough paths on this sober journey and this is just another. It sounds SO TRIVIAL in my head, and as I write it out as well, but this is my internal experience right now with these silly bottles and I need to get it out.

FREEDOM!

(best Bravehart yell I could muster at 7am)!


How do You Stay Sober Tale #2 : The Brewery Box

I was a serious home brewer. I made amazing beer. Not trapped within the dark and dull confines of popular over-hopped so-called craft beer, I was deeply traditional in my brewing. Only the finest British real ales and Belgian quasi-Trappist wonders poured from my fermenters. I’d made a habit the last five years or so of brewing a disastrously strong Russian imperial stout. A brew sturdy enough to travel by 18th-century rail from northern England to the czarist courts. 

At the outset of my sober journey, I held close the thought that I might be able, once this addiction was under control (🙄), to enjoy occasion bevies. I took what I had of these beers, boxed them up, and made available four bottles per year. 

Cutting to the chase: fuck that! You can see by the check marks, my experiments had me living in the future. Now? Now I’m living in the present. I have dumped all down the motherfucking drain. I can’t believe how much lighter I feel. I did not like having that extraordinarily potent and delicious booze in my basement. That tasty poison is gone. Out of my life! Power over me no more! FUA! FUA! FUA!

Massively, this is acceptance of who I am and what’s best for me. This is rejection on a major scale of the beerelzebub who’d set up camp on my doorstep, the sonofabitch I’d courted for years. 

I feel light, strong, and potent! I wish missus didn’t have a zoom thing tonight. I wanna play at LOUD GUITARS! Fuck yeah, BOOM!!!

I Will Not Drink


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