Monday, July 23, 2007

Another word for Sober.

There are many times in the last 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...

It gets a little better as you head towards middle age and people drink a tiny bit less, or at least stop clubbing...

Very thoughtful post; you are very wise.

Teresa Finney said...

I am so glad I came across your blog. I am harboring the same feelings and ideas in my own sobriety that are expressed in this blog. Go sober chicks!

koffiekitten said...

Good for you, alot people don't seem to understand that life can still be fun without a drink in your hand.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this.
-11 months sober in New Orleans

Anonymous said...

Very nice! I'll do my best to be sober all the time too. It seems like it's a norm of life to drink once in awhile, or every day, depends, but, let's break it, actually my Dad never drinks, anyway, thanks

Anonymous said...

My chest became tight with intensity while reading this post. I found your page off of Wikipedia while randomly typing the word "sober" into the search engine.

It's only been 19 days sobe for me so far, but that's a long way from where I spent the past few months of binge drinking (and to be honest, the past several years of just plain drinking too much). My last lengthy bout of sobriety felt like one long battle of sober-me against drunk-world and it finally beat me down. I got tired of feeling like I was fighting the good fight alone. Drinking is EVERYWHERE. I finally caved.

It was refreshing to see what you'd written, to be reminded that there are others who have felt the same frustration and felt like they had to justify NOT doing something (how backward is THAT?) My last girlfriend, of all people, was one of those that just could NOT leave me alone when I told her I was sober and fine not to drink (I was). She, like other "friends" would push it on me. One guy even told me that I was weird for not drinking. Ugh.

I've finally just decided to see it as a healthy, loving choice for my own damn self. I want to grow old with a functioning body and mind, not a saturated, corrupted old shell that is so dependent on poison that I would get sick if I stopped.

Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I also recovering alcoholic and social drug user. I had hopes for my life until partying and not dealing with life made me loose myself and everything I believed in and dream of. I was rotting inside out. I have battled before against it but tricked myself right back into it by making excuses, being dishonest,not facing lifes ups and downs and loosing faith. There was a little light left enough to help me wake up again. Today I have been sober for a month and have noticed amazing changes.... SOBER RULES!!! I never ever wish to destroy myself like that again or hurt those around me in the process. Sobriety girl it is great that you share your story... Wish you the best in your path... My path today I will not drink !!!! The practice of this everyday (sobriety) will make it become a habit!!!