Thursday, August 24, 2006

I wish Sober was another word: A Rant.

There are many times in the last almost five years that I find myself trying to define the word sober. Sober. Sobriety. Not drinking. Recovery. Change in life.

The dictionary defines sober:

* Habitually abstemious in the use of alcoholic liquors or drugs; temperate.* Not intoxicated or affected by the use of drugs.* Plain or subdued: sober attire.* Devoid of frivolity, excess, exaggeration, or speculative imagination; straightforward: gave a sober assessment of the situation.* Marked by seriousness, gravity, or solemnity of conduct or character. See Synonyms at serious.* Marked by circumspection and self-restraint.

Self restraint? Devoid of excess or speculative imagination? The question arises in my own head....have I become boring and morose in my sober life? Have I become plagued with seriousness because I have chosen this path?In the last three years, I have also found myself having to defend and define my sober life. "Why don't you drink?" "What happened to make you stop?" "Are you WEIRD?" "YOU DON'T GO OUT?" "Have you no fun in your life?"

Well, I think to myself tirelessly, life is just different.What happened to make me cease drinking habitually for the majority of my young adult life? Well, I guess things were just not working the way I wanted. Nothing significant happened, per se. Yes, I hit bottom, but not in any spectacular fashion. I just got sober. I simply took out an element of my life that caused me pain. And now, I find that people have a difficult time grasping the concept.And when did I become so concerned about what people think?

Years ago, I could get drunk, stand on a bar and proclaim my love for Jimmy Buffett in song without skipping a beat. I could fall down the stairs at a restaurant and simply smile and say, "oopsie". But, we live in a world surrounded by alcoholic intentions. It's part of our society and part of the way we chose to socialize. Not a day goes by that does not include a reference to alcohol. And I accept that with the grace of a woman who has made a choice. But, damn it, it's still frustrating as hell.

I actually watch people watch me at parties. I see them double glancing at my martini glass making sure that there is nothing stronger than Diet Coke in my glass. And these people never knew me BEFORE! If they had, the would know that I rarely drank martinis. I play the part with little fanfare. I participate in the charade of the drinking world with my own sober theatrics. And when I arrive home to my bed, I collapse with the exhaustive sigh of someone in recovery. I have worked to make everyone feel comfortable for the choices I have made...and for a moment, I wish I could replace the word sober with some amazing adjective that would wipe away the stigma of my decisions. The stigma of all my past mistakes. . And yes, I wish I could replace sober with just about any other word in the English language.

And in all of these quandries, I sometimes find myself questioning my motives. Why am I really doing this? Meeting people that I never knew existed. Constantly searching for my own soapbox to stand on. My purpose. My MO. When before I was simply a woman with a drinking problem. I did not publicize my life on such a vehement scale. I was never a hippie, cause- related type of woman. I drank. I got drunk. I caused some drama and then went home to pass out.Now, things are different. I have made a choice that has changed my life. I will not change the fact that I am sober, so sober it is.

So, I have taken the liberty in redefining the word sober in my own glorified dicitonary:

sober (adj.): respect for one's own self. Self assured, self-aware and unconcerned with those people who just don't get the reasons for this journey.

And for those of you who drink, life on the other side is not bleak and weary. Blisters do not appear when in the presence of someone sober.


Redhead Gal said...

Awesome post! I love your definition of sober. Your rock, girlfriend.

Gwen said...

Great post. For me...

sober: to live, to die free of the bondage of alcohol, to live a life that has purpose and will help others. Complete awareness

Caren said...

Perfect description of the stigma the word sober carries, immediatly implicating the opposite.


Hey people look at your glass too?
I see you,

Anonymous said...

The world will conspire in your favor

Sarah said...

Just a simple thank you for the writing and sharing that you do. My partner just checked herself into a recovery center after what has been a long year of her attempting recovery and relapsing many times. My heart is broken, but I'm attending Alanon meetings and reading everything I can get my hands on. Your blog is one I read often, and I just wanted you to know your words are appreciated.

avid said...


SC Momma said...

Great way to say it!

thanks for sharing


Lara said...

"Sober" is a funny word for me. Somedays I don't feel sober, even after a meeting. No, I haven't used in five years, but I still have to check myself everyday to make sure I'm working on being a better 'sober' person. What I'd really like to grasp in sobriety is serenity; more of it, more often. But the fact I get glimpses of it every now and then is a miracle in itself.

megan said...

Ok officially you've got a new fan here. But anyway, I actually wrote about this exact thing in my blog. I absolutely hate the word sober, it implies that I'm standing alone, stoic in the middle of a party while everyone around me has an awesome time. I decided to replace all references with the word(s) not-drunk.