To be honest, being sober for three years has been the hardest thing I have ever done. It's a daily struggle, a daily commitment, each day I honor my emotions and tune in to my true authentic self. And I celebrate each day that passes, not just the years, but each and every day of being sober.
I no longer count how many drinks people have at parties. I can sit down at a dinner party next to a person drinking wine and I can hear them. I can actually hear them! I can hear their story, I can see them and experience our time together. Because we addicts, there is an entirely different mental game that goes on in our heads. As you casually sip your wine, we can taste it in the back of our mouths. Which then leads to wanting a sip, and then the mind bounces through thoughts. And that desire for a drink is all encompassing, it feels like we are drowning. And you continue on talking as we pull out our plethora of tools; breathing techniques, counting, focusing on something other than each sip you take or how you hold your glass in your hand and so we look at your hair and we try to change the subject. And if the mental game becomes too much we excuse ourselves to the bathroom. That is where I can be found doing downward dog, right there next to your bathtub. I reconnect with my breath, I make the commitment to myself to be sober another hour, another night, another day. Once I feel steady, I return to the party.
These moments have happened less and less for me this year. But then another mental game begins to play out, I start thinking maybe I don't really have a drinking problem. Am I really an alcoholic? Maybe I can control it and just have a glass of wine every now and then. But I know this story is the same story so many addicts have lived through before me. I remind myself of the blackouts, the mornings trying to feed my kids breakfast while fighting the nausea of a hangover, the dinner parties and conversations that I don't even remember. I know by listening to other addicts that have been sober for years more than me, thinking you have control over this addiction is a false sense of security. Because we don't have control!
Each year that passes I feel stronger. I feel more in tune with my purpose and I feel less shame about being an alcoholic. It's a label that I can wear proudly because I am sober. And I feel so much better in my spirit and in my body than I ever did after a bottle of Chardonnay.