No dealbreakers here

Occasionally I get emails from people who are thinking of getting sober but aren’t quite there yet. I love getting these emails, but they scare me a little too because I want to tell them it’s fine here in Soberland – better than fine, even peachy keen most days – but I remember that jumping off point and how little I thought about it before making the leap. My counselor at the time told me to get to AA and I blindly did that and it just so happened to work for me in those early days. I went to meetings and I soaked in the stories and feeling of support and hope, and sobriety just kind of blossomed from there.

But what about those people who don’t believe AA will work for them? I know numerous people who got and stayed sober without setting foot in a meeting because it didn’t appeal or sometimes didn’t occur to them. They took up blogging or yoga or painting or running or chocolate – sometimes all of the above – to fill that god-sized hole that people at meetings talk about all the time, but of course they don’t know that because they’ve never set foot in one. Is their approach any more doomed or less-than compared to a 12-step recovery program? They certainly don’t seem to think so.

And what about someone who already went the AA route and doesn’t want to go it again but fears there is no easier, softer way? This isn’t a deal breaker. I believe there are as many ways to get sober as there are to go about your day. You can wake up and drink and lose most of it in blurriness and blackout regret or you can choose not to drink and read a sober book or blog or email a sober stranger instead and start to build your sober support network. And not drink. That last part is the only thing you absolutely must do if you want to stop drinking.

In the meanwhile, if you’re thinking of not drinking and aren’t quite there yet or you just want to read a poem about how to climb out of hell, Christy at Running on Sober cranked this out in a bout of sober insomnia. I’ve been up since 3:30 and all I wrote was an essay about carrying a metal Holly Hobbie lunchbox to school  and fighting over a tire swing for my daughter’s first grade class (my daughter just asked who’s Holly Hobbie?). Some of us make beautiful music, some of us clank around pots and pans. It’s still sober, and sober is pretty awesome, let us be the first to tell you.

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13 thoughts on “No dealbreakers here

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  1. “And not drink.” – there is the key. If you have a problem with drinking… don’t drink. Now if you find that you can’t just not drink then there in lies a bigger issue for how you find something to sort that out for you. For me it is AA – that has worked for me therefore I stick with it.

    But there are other ways… I had a friend who came to me when I was a couple of years sober. She told me about her drinking and why it was a problem to her. I talked about my experience and my journey to AA via rehab. She say and pondered whilst finishing her 2nd or 3rd mug of tea at this point. Then she said “Right I have to stop drinking. And from what you are saying seems sensible for me not to drink again. I’ll give that a go”. She hasn’t drunk since and is healthy and happy, rocky marriage returned to stability and relationships rebuilt with her then teenage kids as they grew and flew the nest. She has never once been to AA, does no sober blogging or anything she made the decision and stuck it…. If only it had been that simple/easy for me!

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    1. When I took the choice to drink off the table, I felt such relief. Of course not everyone is the same, which is why one approach couldn’t possibly work for everyone. To each his own. Interesting also how much you were able to help your friend, even though you had taken a wildly different approach. It’s all sobriety, however we get and stay there.

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  2. I’ve been to one AA meeting: my brother’s three-year birthday (is that what you call it? He got a coin.) I was still drinking then, but I knew (no offence) I would never set foot in a meeting for myself. From what I understand, I count myself lucky I didn’t have to.

    Forgive me if I’m repeating myself (again), but there appears to be a certain sense among the sober community (I can’t believe I just wrote “sober community”) that if you didn’t have to go through AA or some program, your problem wasn’t that serious. This bothers me. Every effort to quit should be taken seriously. (And this is the last of my parenthetical statements.)

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    1. I feel that sometimes, but I’m not sure where that comes from because no one challenged or downplayed my sobriety when I stopped going to AA. The individuals I know in the sober community (I can’t believe you never wrote that before!) have been supportive of others, regardless of their approach. It definitely helps to hear different perspectives here.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really loved this. If I could have clicked like more than once, I would have. (Ooh, just learned something new! If you click it twice it unlikes it! Wondrous technology! Still like it though.) People are all different. Relationships with alcohol are all different. Addiction is addiction, but we find our own paths through and out and onwards. One thing I love about reading sober blogs is hearing the different experiences of so many different people. For me, that helps, and it is what I do 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You make beautiful music, my dear friend.
    No matter the instrument, no matter the method, no matter the lyrics…the only tried and true way to stay sober is to just not drink.
    Thank you again for the nice shout-out!

    Making beautiful music out of pots and pans and triangles:

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As a reformed teetotaler from a family of ageing, ailing alcoholics, I can say it is the most important thing you can do in your life; and I heartily applaud you and your sober comrades.

    Like

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