10 Things Sobriety Is Not
By Kelly Fitzgerald 03/29/16
We often think sobriety is the end of the world, that our lives are over, and we’ll never have fun again. But that’s not true.
10 Things Sobriety Is Not
Let’s face it. Getting sober can be the scariest time in your life. We often think it’s the end of the world, that our lives are over, and that we’ll never have fun again. But these are all just a few common misconceptions about the sober life. Although getting sober can be tough, it’s rewarding, and to shut down any fears you may have about sobriety, we’re talking about exactly what sobriety is and what it isn’t.
1. Sobriety is not boring
This has to be the one number one reason I didn’t get sober sooner. I was convinced that sobriety was synonymous with boring. I used to see people at parties who didn’t drink and actually felt bad for them, viewing them as people who had boring lives. There was nothing worse to me than living a boring life, and that kept me drinking for a long time. Surprisingly, when I made the decision to stop drinking and using drugs, I began to feel better physically and see much clearer. I found friends, activities, and an entire life outside of my addiction. It was anything but boring, it was exciting and freeing.
2. Sobriety is not easy
Too bad we can’t just snap our fingers and be sober. Life and sobriety would be so much easier. Unfortunately, sobriety is not easy, it’s hard. You’ll have to feel emotions, get through hard days, and learn a whole new way of being you. At first this can seem like a daunting task, but luckily we don’t have to complete it all in one day. Sobriety is a process and a lifelong journey that takes hard work and dedication. It’s worth every second that you put into it.
3. Sobriety is not the end of your life
It’s common to think, “I’m sober and my life is over.” We often associate parties and anything fun in life with alcohol and drugs. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to believe that life will end once you stop drinking. I was shocked to find out that my life didn’t end when I got sober, it actually truly began for the first time. A woman once told me when I was four days sober that I would “live a life beyond my wildest dreams.” I didn’t believe her then, but now I know exactly what she meant, and she was right. Sobriety has given me my life back and has allowed me to construct a happy and healthy life I never had during my years of using.
4. Sobriety is not only for alcoholics
Contrary to popular belief, sobriety is not just for alcoholics, it can work for anybody. For me, I was hesitant to label myself as an alcoholic for a long time. In fact, I didn’t say the words “I’m Kelly and I’m alcoholic” until over a year into my sobriety. The truth is, I wasn’t sure if I was going to stay sober forever or if it was something only alcoholics could experience. Labels aside, sobriety is a lifestyle that everyone can benefit from, whether you have one drink a week or 50. So if you’re afraid of determining whether or not you’re an alcoholic, save the labels for later and give sobriety a try.
5. Sobriety is not a sign of weakness
We often come into sobriety feeling bad about ourselves, wondering why we can’t drink like others can. I felt weak and inadequate and asked myself, “What’s wrong with me?” In recovery, I’ve learned that sobriety is not a sign of a weakness, it’s actually one of the bravest things someone can do. It takes courage and heart to admit you have a problem and to take steps toward change. You’re not weak, you’re strong for making a great decision for your life.
6. Sobriety is not something to be ashamed of
There is still stigma associated with addiction, and therefore, sobriety. You may run into reactions from people that include assumptions that you’re an addict, that addicts are bad people, or that you should be ashamed of your sober status. Shame can keep people drinking and using for years and is not a positive feeling to have when sober. Most of us carry some sort of shame into sobriety from our drinking days, but there is absolutely no reason we should be ashamed of being sober. We should be proud we’ve changed our lives in a healthy way.
7. Sobriety is not a secret you should keep
You’ll hear a common phrase in recovery that goes, “secrets keep you sick.” For many of us, addiction taught us how to lie, take advantage of people and situations, and live a dishonest life. In recovery we learn how essential it is to be honest about everything. Secrets can cause you more pain and guilt, and can be detrimental to your sobriety. My advice is to be honest about your new life so that you can be your best authentic self going forward.
8. Sobriety is not the norm
Once you start your sober life you may notice that society revolves around alcohol and other drugs. We are constantly being fed advertisements and media that are geared towards drinkers and send the message that we need to drink to numb emotions and cope with life. Once I stopped drinking I quickly found out that sobriety is not the norm. Being sober is different and it feels good to make this choice for myself. In a world where everyone drinks and uses, it takes a special person to stand up and be sober.
9. Sobriety is not just about quitting alcohol and drugs
It was a wake up call when I heard that sobriety does not begin and end with abstinence from drugs and alcohol. It’s much more than that. Becoming sober allows you to get in touch with who you really are, to make amends to those you have hurt in the past, to learn new coping mechanisms, and how to deal with everyday life. It’s a complete transformation of the mind, body, and soul.
10. Sobriety is not for everyone
With all of this being said, it’s fair to say that sobriety isn’t for everyone. That’s because it takes commitment, honesty, faith, and working through a lot of pain. It requires facing yourself head on. It requires dedication and time, and not everyone is ready to give what is needed.
If you no longer enjoy the way drugs and alcohol are making you feel, sobriety is for you. Sobriety is not boring, it can be the first step to the rest of your life.
Kelly Fitzgerald is a sober writer based in Southwest Florida whose work has been published on the Huffington Post among other sites. She is best known for her personal blog, The Adventures of The Sober Señorita, where she writes about life as a former party girl living in recovery.