If you’re sober and you’re happy clap your hands…

It’s really easy in sobriety to feel sad for the life you think you have lost. To feel angry that you can’t just have one drink without going on rampage that gets you talked about down the local for the next six weeks. To wonder why me, why can’t I drink like others can? It’ s also normal to feel like actually your drinking really wasn’t all that bad. That you should probably try again, see if it is different this time. We all go through this I promise. I can’t honestly say I will never drink again; I pray that I won’t but what I do know right now is I won’t drink today. I was unlucky to get addicted, but I am beyond lucky to have this second chance.

I have been thinking about this because I recently heard that someone I really like has possibly relapsed. I immediately thought, oh why did they drink and why did they not just stay sober. Then I remembered just how many times I have come unstuck and got back on to the horrible cycle of drinking.

Marketing

Staying sober isn’t easy at all, especially in a society where alcohol is EVERYWHERE! and the marketing is top notch. I am attracted to pretty things and it was only today I saw some bottles of prosecco in the supermarket that were just so pretty; I was like a moth to a flame, immediately my eyes went to them. Luckily, I realised what I was doing quite quickly and carried on walking, but it attracted me. The wine looked glamorous and fun and isn’t that how we are sold alcohol? Same with bottles of spirits and cans of beer, all made to look fun and aspirational and designed to distract us from the reality of the situation. Parties, barbecues, weddings, birthdays even kids’ parties are all centred around alcohol so no wonder it is bloody hard to quit and stay sober, everything points us back to alcohol being the only way to relax and have fun.

And even without all of that, we have been used to alcohol for so long it’s like giving up a limb. Tired – drink, sad- drink, happy – drink (you deserve it), disappointed – drink (drown your sorrows), shocked – drink (that will calm your nerves) and on and on. The world does not make it easy for us.

The reality of addicted drinking

There were 7,423 alcohol-specific deaths in 2020, up 20% on the previous year and the highest annual death toll since records began in 2001, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. In population terms the rate rose year-on-year from 11 to 13 per 100,000.

The guardian – May 2021

The reality of the situation with alcohol addiction is that eventually if you carry on there is a massive chance that you will die from or because of your addiction. Addiction being the operative word. I don’t believe anyone would want to be in this situation if they had a choice.

Freedom

If you are reading this and you are sober (even if today is your day one) you are amazing and so very lucky. It’s so easy to feel very down and frustrated that we can’t drink, but you know what? some of us just can’t and if you carry on then I am sorry to tell you that it will not end well.

Think of all of the positives that come with sobriety and then think of you the morning after a heavy night, what did you feel, shame, guilt, horror? I know I did. Now think about going to bed sober and waking up sober, always being available for your kids/family/friends. Think about never feeling that horrific shame and guilt at daft o’clock in the morning when you wake and promise yourself that you will never do it again.

If you are a little bit shallow like me, think about your appearance too, your skin, nails and hair will be healthier. You also are no longer putting in all of those excess calories anymore, so you may lose weight (disclaimer, I replaced alcohol with lots of chocolate in the first months, so this was not the case for me immediately!)

Peace of mind

I think possibly the biggest benefit of sobriety in my peace of mind. I can now attend events knowing that I am not going to make a complete tit of myself (well I might but it won’t be because I am drunk). I have the peace of mind that if my kids need me at any time of the day, I am totally available, I will not have had a drink. I have the peace of mind that I am trying my hardest to stay healthy, I am not filling my body with a toxin, which could not only cause disease but can also cause accidents. I have the peace of mind that I can still be angry/sad/horrified at the drinker I was but know that I am not her anymore. And you, as a sober person can have this peace of mind too.

Be aware

We always need to be aware that the evil alcohol voice is always going to be around, but hopefully they will quite down. There will always be a moment when we wonder if we could just have one, or if we really were that bad. But remember this, our friends that have relapsed and may not be able to get back on the sober train will not be celebrating listening to that voice I am sure, they will be wishing they had told the voice to sod off and leave them alone. So stay doing what you are doing now and don’t get complacent.

Mostly though, I am just celebrating that I am sober right now, I am so bloody lucky to be here and I appreciate it every day and if you are reading this and you are struggling, please know that there is a way. It may take many times and many setbacks, but I promise you, it is so worth it in the end.

Much love,

B xx

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