I haven’t talked much about my sobriety in awhile and while waiting for a business call this morning i started thinking about what the differences are between being sober and being in recovery.
An online article from Psychology Todays states:
“When an alcoholic is “sober” from alcohol without attending a mutual-help program, therapy, medication management and/or treatment then they are in a sense “white-knuckling” their sobriety (also referred to as being a “dry drunk”).”
“An alcoholic who is in “recovery” is essentially in remission from alcoholism. Their alcoholism is not cured but is at bay in a way that allows them to be free of the cravings and mental obsession.”
I’ve never really thought much lately about where i am in my journey, but happy to say, according to the above, i am definitely in “recovery”— Mainly because of the last 7 words there “free of the cravings and mental obsession”. It’s odd to me now, letting that sink in. FREE.
For the first 30 days, i couldn’t even comprehend that feeling. Every week i would dread my usual drinking night What would i do? How would i get through it? Then 3 months i started feeling a bit more confident, by 6 months i was really on a roll and finally hit that one year milestone. I almost felt “cured”. I was elated and so proud of myself! Now, at 17 months , i have to say that once again the psychology has changed.
With full transparency here i will admit that during this pandemic i have had a few drinks .One 3 occasions i had 2 -3 beers and those were actually nice peaceful relaxing evenings. Do not regret them one bit. But i also had my first major slip – after a particularly horrendous and stressful few weeks , i drank an entire 6 pack one night and paid for it the next day. Certainly reminded me that , yes, indeed, i am still an alcoholic. Although i do not crave it, and it is certainly no longer an obsession, if it’s there i will drink it until it’s gone or i get sick/pass out. I have no control when there is more around.
What does this mean for me at this point? Well, i can say , still that i rarely ever even think about it. I can say with absolute clarity that it’s not a factor in my life anymore. But the best way to put it is that i have completely lost that desire to do it to get drunk or numb things out. If this makes sense, i do believe having a beer or two with a friend i trust every now & again is not ‘terrible’…as long as everything else( above) is still in place.
I see people talk about moderation a lot, and i always say- thats a really slippery slope.Not many can maintain that for long. That certainly isn’t what i’m talking about here. I know i could never “control” myself that way. I’ve had much time ( years) to prove that . But i do believe in relaxing a bit when the occasion calls for it.
It’s a tough little place to be in the grand scheme of things but we all must walk our own walks. I’ve known some that stayed sober for 10 years or more, then relapse. I also know those who go “dry” for a few months, then drink again, then stop again ( on & on for years).I know those who stop and never have a sip ever again. And many of us know those who have no real intentions to quit, except for a week after a horrible hangover. We are all different.
I wish i was, however, one of those who could drink “normally”.I cannot. I wish i could chose “moderation” on the regular.I cannot. These dreams are usually the Holy Grail of all alcoholics. The brass ring, the dragon we chase, etc. And it’s almost never an option for us in the long run.
While we continue on our journey, we have to re assess regularly to see where we stand in our own lives. We have to be brutally honest with ourselves. And constantly stay vigilant. Our relationships ( of all types) will change and grow as, we , ourselves do. In times of stress, crisis, depression, tragedy, circumstance – we will tests ourselves and sometimes come out wanting. But my hope is, that in the end to REMAIN vigilant.