No thanks. I’m not a drinker

I am at the year and a half sober mark today. It crept up on me. I feel amazed that I have been sober for this long and that I feel that it was an excellent decision. I don’t think too much now about whether I should drink or not. I originally thought I would go sober for a year and then see what happens. That decision to remain sober is strong. I like myself better this way. That is enough.

Words are important. How we word something can make a difference. I don’t like the term alcoholic. I believe the word chains alcohol to the person and focuses on the past rather than the future. It is not a positive word. It has so many negative connotations that it is whispered or spoken with shame most of the time. I really don’t like it. It’s not how I look at myself.

I drank. Now I don’t. I’m not a drinker.

Cleaner. Clearer. Simple. Positive.

Sober as a world of difference.

Recovery

Alcoholism is wrapped like a poisonous vine all through New Zealand society. Every magazine, commercial, advertisement, film, book has a mention or a splash of an image of someone enjoying an alcoholic beverage. The drunk ones always have more fun, more confidence, gorgeous friends, they live life to the fool full. They get their hooks into you from youth and cling to your ankles when you try to run away. They offer free drinks, a discount when bought in bulk, wine clubs to help you talk the talk, tastings and trips and a day at the races all sponsored by big brands.

To chose a sober life is conscious choice. The right choice. It is not the easier path. At any function you attend the alcoholic array is endless, the non alcoholic choice is one, orange juice. I haven’t had orange juice in years. I don’t like sickly drinks. Never have. Give me salty, sour or bitter anytime.

I say this but I haven’t been out yet to a western restaurant or bar yet. Asian and Indian restaurants: yes. They serve tea and water without question. There is no awkward pause before saying just water please. I plan to order sparkling water when I do go out where wine is abundantly on the menu. You know but, I keep thinking of all the money I’m saving by not drinking out or at home. It brings a smile to my face just thinking about it.

Wise Greg at Club East Indianapolis wrote “… many ….. value the image of recovery over recovery itself.”

I hadn’t thought about recovery at all. And with the image of recovery there’s a disconnect. To me that is something on television or in film. Someone else with a foreign accent. It’s not me. I’m only interested in the internal journey. I hadn’t thought of it as a recovery. My secret is “I never grew up.” My curiosity is endless. This is helping me discover “sober”. Really in essence it is learning to live again fully present.

Even the word alcoholic seems like a foreign word. It doesn’t roll off the tongue easily. It is a word I may think I am but will not speak aloud. Perhaps I am still in denial about this. Acceptance will grow on me.

Scott Peck’s book The Path Less Traveled was an exciting book for me when I read it many moons ago. I took that book to heart and have always forged my own one. To create a new path rather than follow one already ploughed is more difficult but is ultimately more satisfying. It is nice to get pointers and meet like-minded or not along the way. I am tackling this new sober path the same way.

Recovery, discovery, internal journey, whatever you call it I am doing it. I am not here to pretend to be sober. I tell it like it is, how it feels, straight. (How I liked my vodka.) Maybe blunt at times. Honest. Absolutely. Without that I am nothing. I take my life seriously. (I drank seriously too. Look where that got me.) I am loving this new sober me.

Moderately Sober

The title of my blog: Moderately sober made sense the day I became sober. I had just drawn the last straw with drinking. I made the decision to abstain from drinking. This time I was serious. I have had a few dry months in my life and a dry holiday trip to Thailand. That was all.

Abstain? Formally decline a wine? The declaration can not be taken seriously. Moderately sober? Not possible. It’s like saying “I’m moderately pregnant.” You cannot be moderately sober, you are either sober, a drinker, an alcoholic, or a normal drinker. A normal drinker is just an alcoholic in waiting.

I did honestly think that I would go back to having a drink once a week, controlling myself, after a break from alcohol for a couple of months. I now realise that this is a flawed idea. One cannot control alcohol, the alcohol controls you. I was holding out on the desire to have a drink again one day sometime in the future, hence, the title, moderately sober.

Foolish thoughts enter the head. They can be heeded and/or observed as they float past and away. Moderately sober is one of those foolish ideas. It is now a reminder to myself that “drinking in moderation” is a myth. Cannot be done. The person you are before your first drink becomes a different person after the first drink. The logic and decision making changes. What was considered foolish before now becomes a brilliant idea.

No one plans to drink and drive at the start of the evening. No one plans to argue with their spouse/partner/friend. It happens when the foolish becomes sensible. Logic disappears and demented thought rules supreme.

We are not the wisest when we drink. We are not the smartest when we drink. We might becomes the loudest and the most obnoxious but that is all. Poets, artists, writers, sculptors don’t do their best work when they drink. That is a myth.

“Moderately” is a reminder that moderation is a myth.
I will continue to be sober from here on in.

DH suggested I make a video for myself, declaring to be sober. I did that. For just in case I get the urge to drink again, I can play it to myself. I don’t think I will need it. It’s insurance.