During my first try at sobriety I didn’t drink for over 90 days. I didn’t know what relapse meant, and my journey was fairly shallow.
I listened to The Recovery Elevator Podcast regularly and would hear the interviewer say things to his interviewee like, “I couldn’t string more than 5 sober days together” or “I saw more day 1’s during that bout of sobriety than I can count on all digits.” I had no idea what that meant or how that could even be possible, it made no sense to me.
Then, in the summertime, I started to go to noon AA meetings. I heard people say things like “I’ve been sober for 10 years. Before then, I was on & off again sober for 2 years, I came to AA but my heart wasn’t in it, I wasn’t 100% committed.” Again, I wondered what that meant, how can you go to AA meetings and not be committed– did you go to the meetings drunk?
My journey has taken me to a place where I get it now. I know what it’s like to not be fully committed and to have a handful of day 1’s in a month.
I don’t always understand the why. To help look at it in a scientific fashion, I put together an alcohol and sobriety cost/benefit table. Looking at the table, sobriety clearly is superior to drinking.
|Alcohol Use Cost/Benefit Analysis|
|Benefits of Drinking||Cost of Drinking||Benefits of Sobriety||Cost of Sobriety|
|I like the fuzzy brain feeling, especially during the first drink||Wake up with headache, other physical ailments, body aches, etc||Sleep better||Physically uncomfortable when I get urges or cravings|
|Not having to count days and/or think about sobriety||Wake up worrying about what I said or did||Wake up feeling good||Social anxiety when put in certain situations|
|Can’t hold a conversation, even if I want to talk about something, physically unable||Significantly more time for hobbies & fun activities|
|Money||Less anxiety, generally a better feeling of well being|
|Increased anxiety||Spend more quality time with the family|
|Alienation from family||The ability to drive at any given moment|
As I mentioned in other entries, I DO believe that one day I will be 100% AF. I certainly don’t feel like I’m “white knuckling” it during my periods of abstinence. I am not miserable, I am happier than ever. It is clear though, that I’m not working my recovery– or rather my recovery is not working for me.
I will work towards my goals and keep building my toolbox. No one said that this would be easy & I have to focus on and appreciate the journey. I have learned & gained so much in the past 8 months and I am grateful <3