A – Z Challenge ~ S is for Sober

image: recovery-gifts.net

Sober is a way of life for me.  I did some soul-searching (like I always do) and asked around.  Apparently I am breaking the Anonymity rule by mentioning AA on my blog.  So there will be no more of that. Apparently I read the text differently.  I can talk about “support groups” and “help” and “alcohol” and “alcoholics” but AA is a big no-no.  I certainly do not want to be “that girl.”

I will be sober six years this May.  I got to say, in the beginning, I didn’t know how I would function.  When I was out there, I hated myself and the thought of a day without drugs or alcohol was so foreign to me.

How would I deal with life?

How would I feel normal?

How would I fake the persona I came to be and make people like me all the while loathing who I really (thought I) was inside?

These were honest, legitimate questions I pondered the first three days of getting clean and sober.  Those three days were spent locked in my apartment (a room) with water, cigarettes and the Military Channel. I have yet to feel as sick as I did for those three days.

But I got through it.  I had two choices:

1) get sober.

2) die.

There is a whole slew of crap that goes along with this.  I have entertained writing a memoir. If my reaching out, writing and sharing helps one alcoholic or addict than it is all for the best.

To keep what I have, I have to give it away.

Thanks for letting me share.

Comments

  1. I assume the problem is realizing that the choices are only two – get sober or drink and die – and that the third choice – just taper off a bit – does not exist for the addicted.
    Glad you made the “right” choice – for yourself and your friends and family. And to be selfish – for myself, as I’m glad to have met you through the ROW80 writing community.
    All the things we go through in the past – positive and negative – have contributed to who we are right now, so the journey should be appreciated for who it produced.

  2. 6 years is a long time! You have a lot of courage for doing and than for posting it here.

  3. Congrats, Darlene! Sticking around for the miracle to happen definitely pays off! The AA founders never dreamed that the internet would come into existence for so many people. So we are left to apply the Traditions to our everyday choices (hmmm, how clever of them). The AA program is not anonymous–the members are. Tradition Eleven states (in part): “We need always maintain personal anonymity…”. I take that to mean my full name or anything that could identify me personally. FYI: The 2007 AA member survey showed that 1% of the surveyed members stated they came to know about AA through the Internet. I have no doubt that the number has grown since. You’re part of the process for someone’s sobriety–keep on keeping on! ~Pam T.

    • Hey Pam! Thanks so much for stopping by.. I agree.. I don’t think Bill W. and Dr. Bob knew that we would go into the digital age and that one day meetings would be held on line via video or that there would be on line chats and message boards (intherooms.com). Also, there are a few AA meetings I go to that members state their full name.
      Thanks again and enjoy the rest of your day. :)

  4. Congratulations, Darlene – six years is fantastic!
    You have great courage to post this part of your story.
    I do not understand how that is breaking a rule, as long as you do not divulge the comments from other people in the group. I know, and have known, many people who speak about the fact that they go to AA. So, I am not sure how you have done anything you should not have done.
    In any event, be sure to know how brave and courageous you are, to have made this public post. you need to be proud.
    Stay strong, Darlene.
    Patricia

  5. Joanna Aislinn says:

    Hey Darlene, this was a great little post. I hope you commend yourself EVERY DAY at a time on your accomplishment, especially in this drink-driven society we live in. I’ve heard that maintaining anonymity at the level of press, radio, tv and films (and I’m guessing internet, lol) helps keep outside folks from saying, “Yeah, I tried that program too. Didn’t work for Fred and Frieda Hollywood Stars so don’t expect it to work for me.”

    Part of my schooling involved getting to know AA and life has shown me other 12-step programs. What’s awesome about the 12 steps is how they really provide a groundwork for dealing with life on so many levels. Pretty heady stuff when you see how lives are saved and changed. You, dear, are proof.

    Wasn’t I just checking email and getting back to my character sketches, lol?

    Enjoy your day!

    • Hey Joanna – thanks so much for your kind words.. I was on a website the other day and saw they now have twelve step programs for more that just drinking, drugs and gambling. And it does fascinate me that the steps work! :)
      Enjoy your day, Joanna.. thanks so much for stopping by.

  6. i think – stress think – you’re old enough to know who roger ebert is. in his recent memoir, he has a chapter about his experience with AA and discusses that anonymity thing. it was very well explained and talked about, and he got grief but defended his position well. you might want to look it up to ease your own thoughts – unless you’re well at ease already.

    i’m asking a question from pure ignorance as i know nothing about what an alcoholic deals with, so please forgive the question if it seems abrupt. here’s what i don’t know but would like to know:

    why is that every time i hear about an alcoholic going sober, it’s always going from 60 to 0 – going from drinking lots to drinking zero? is it not possible for someone to just ease up and drink a lot less? or is it that the temptation is just too great and one must have zero drinks because otherwise there’s the risk of always having too much?

    • Joanna Aislinn says:

      If I may, Rich, I’d like to address your question to the best of my limited knowledge. (Part of my full-time internship work was in a dually-diagnosed day program; that is, patients usually had a primary diagnosis of some form of mental illness often coupled with a substance abuse issue.

      I imagine the 60-0 approach is rooted in the brain’s physiology. To achieve the ‘high’ associated with alcohol, the body and brain need more of it, as tolerance increases with ongoing use. Even a brain that’s been sober a while needs higher amounts of alcohol to get back to that ‘place’ before going sober. And MHO says, b/c drinking is such a social activity–and being drunk or buzzed okay in our society–that temptation to drink to excess probably does become overwhelming.

      Let’s not forget that alcohol is a depressant that impairs one’s judgment. And over time, with severely excessive use, brain damage can and often does occur. Among the many deficits are poor judgment and an impaired ability to control one’s impulses (such as not having that next drink).

      Hope my mini-dissertation helped, lol. Didn’t mean to get so long-winded. Take what you like and leave the rest. ;)

      • HI Joanna… first of all, kudos to you for working with the dually diagnosed. That is no easy task and it takes a special type of person to do so,
        You’re absolutely right about the “higher amounts of alcohol to get back to that place.” I have heard people who “go back out” (fall off the wagon) pick up right where they left off.
        Thanks so much for your input, Joanna. Have a great day…

        • Joanna Aislinn says:

          My pleasure, Darlene. Always awesome to meet those who understand and speak a common language, lol. Enjoy your day.

    • Morning, Rich. Alcoholics don’t “drink less” because our brains are not wired that way. Believe me, I tried drinking less many times before I realized I could not drink at all.
      When I put alcohol in my body, I have an allergic reaction that prevents me from stopping.
      Someone that drinks socially can have a few drinks with dinner and be okay. An alcoholic becomes obsessed with drinking after the first one. There is an overwhelming craving after that first one. The thought of having another drink becomes paramount over all other responsibilities. An alcoholic cannot stop until something stops him (passes out, goes to jail, goes broke, etc).

    • mimitabby says:

      People in later stages of alcoholism do need to be tapered under a doctor’s care; with hospitalization because they can get life threatening DT’s Anyone else is a lot better off just stopping. Darlene says it all perfectly…

  7. One day at a time, leads to a lifetime of days. :-)

  8. It takes a lot of courage to put something like this in the public domain, and I applaud you for it.

  9. Fantastic Darlene! Congratulations! You should be really proud of yourself.. I am proud of you!

  10. *Applause* Amazing. 6 years. That’s awesome, Darlene! I think it’s a great idea to write a memoir. You should start and don’t stop until you’re done. I’m sure there are lots of people it would help.

  11. Congrats on the 6 years Darlene. You’re one strong woman.

  12. Good for you. Keep a clear head and let it stir your imagination until you wake up one morning with a new story that demands to be put between the pages of a book.

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