The Rewards of Sobriety

I decided to speak about the rewards of sobriety because I am going to talk about an activity in which I engage, only because I am sober. Because of my sobriety, I have been able to heal from 38 years of huge anger and bitterness against my parents, as well as to recover form deep and debilitating grief that lasted seven years. Because of my sobriety, I am able to be a motivational speaker, sharing how I did that so others can experience it, too.

How did I do that, you may ask? Well, I got sober and the rest just seemed to fall into place over the years of healing I did. Note, though, that I took action. I took responsibility for my own healing by maintaining my sobriety, writing about my feelings, and getting professional help. The feelings uncovered were difficult and at times excruciating, and still, I maintained my sobriety.

I didn’t think I could do it. There were many times during the first five years that I would scream that sobriety was not better than drinking. Ah, but it is… once you get beyond all the debris of the past so you can bring forth the healing that needs to occur. In sobriety, you have abilities that you don’t have when drinking. For example, when in sobriety, you have the ability to be willing to consider new things, to look at things with new eyes, to hear differently. Willingness takes you a long way. So does gratitude…

You see, before sobriety, when you are still drinking, when I was still drinking, we don’t have the capability to open our mind to new things, especially when it involves looking honestly at ourselves, especially when it involves letting another be right… and on and on. You see, when we are drinking, we are often self-righteous know-it-alls who are overly concerned about ourselves… how we look, act, are being evaluated. We do everything to assure we get what we want, even if it is hurtful to another. These traits are common to alcoholics, I’ve discovered over the years in sobriety.

It takes so long to beat down the ego and the need for control that that’s why it takes some of us so long to find sobriety. I’d like to address the need for control for a minute. It helps to have compassion for those who try to manage and control everything if you understand where that comes from. Many of us who drink grew up in a chaotic, often abusive, environment, and as a result, are trying to be in control of things to avoid that chaos we’ve dealt with all those years. It’s a skill we mastered while living in that unstable environment so we could maintain ourselves through the craziness.

But the need to control gets in the way of your ability to get and maintain sobriety. As with any survival skill we learned and practiced during our formative years, you need to evaluate if it is serving you in present day. Chances are, these skills that saved your life are the very ones that are holding you back now. Being aware of all of this helps to keep you conscious of your behaviors. When you are conscious and aware of them, you can choose to make a change in them, from battling to control, to going with the flow.

When I say going with the flow, I do not mean you do nothing. Wrong. In sobriety, you will learn that life is a series of doing the next indicated thing in front of you to do. In other words, its a series of continual actions you take. You learn to be accountable for yourself, responsible, and that is a gift of sobriety, because it sets you free. You also learn it is a choice… yes, we always have a choice. Even doing nothing is a choice. Learning that is yet another gift of sobriety.

For me, it took a process of getting to the point where I realized I had choice in everything. I didn’t used to think I did, I was so mired in the blaming of my parents for my misery, so mired in blaming the rejection by an unrequited love. But I made the decision to keep in that space of blame. I could have, instead, elected to look at my own actions and behaviors that contributed to my misery. But I could no more do that then fly to the moon without a spaceship.

Well, here are some thoughts to leave you with for the day… thoughts about your sobriety and how it’s going for you, thoughts about what you may experience if you get sober. It is 1:43 am and I am wake at this time of night because I awoke and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I decided to blog. And, I am ready to go back to bed now. Good night. 🙂

 

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