After a few conversations last week with fellow sober women including my sponsee, I got to thinking, there are some absurd things that keep me sober. There are a lot of things that keep me sober: my recovery program, exercise, my health, my relationship, and being an aunt to my nephews, just to name a few. But the following reasons are somewhat untraditional and it’s possible not everyone can relate. In sobriety everyone has their own story, that’s what makes it so important that everyone shares their experience, strength, and hope. On some days here are the absurd things that keep me sober.
1. Nasty ass hangovers
Not just regular hangovers. Nasty ass ones. I’m talking near death experiences. I simply cannot understand the people who say they never get hangovers because I got one literally every time I drank. Even if I only had 3 or 4 drinks (which was rare) I would still get that fuzzy feeling when I woke up. My head wasn’t quite right and I was exhausted. On nights of binging the hangovers would be killer. I often threw up multiple times the following day. I would have pounding headaches, my whole body would hurt, and I could never drink enough water. I would chronically sleep through my alarms. When I was really into cocaine, my heart would race for hours the following day. There were times when I really felt like I was going to have a heart attack, or that I was in the middle of one. I thought this was all part of the “fun” that partying entailed until I realized a lot of people don’t get hangovers like I did. I didn’t realize being sober could physically feel so good. Memories of those nasty hangovers are something I think about every day. They keep me sober. If I didn’t have such bad hangovers it might have been harder for me to get sober.
2. One drink isn’t worth it to me
This is one thing that led me to finally accept the fact that I am an alcoholic. One drink never was and never will be fun for me. I watch people who have one martini with dinner, drink one glass of wine, or have one beer and it actually hurts me to watch! There is nothing fun about that in my view. The last six months of my drinking life I tried really hard to moderate. My objectives were: don’t black out and still have fun with only having a few drinks. My plan obviously failed miserably. Trying these tactics made me miserable. Today when I think about why I’m sober, I always think, well would one drink be fun? Would I enjoy it? I don’t think I would. One was never enough. Throwing one back today wouldn’t be worth it to me.
3. I like staying home on the weekends
Part of my drinking life, and really my disease of addiction, was the constant desire for “more.” It was a chronic feeling of being unsatisfied. I always had to be doing something and I can pinpoint feeling this way from the age of 10, when drinking and drugging were not in play yet. I wanted to have sleepovers every weekend, go to the movies, play with my friends outside, go to birthday parties. I wanted it all and it was never enough. Today I can honestly say sobriety is easier for me because I like staying home on the weekends. Home was never a place I did my drinking, unless it was during a party or before a party. I’ve also moved in sobriety several times and currently live in a house where I’ve never drank. I’ve been able to make it a place where I love to spend time. I don’t miss being social every weekend. Staying sober has definitely become easier because I like staying home on the weekends.
4.FOMO is gone
FOMO, or fear of missing out, was something that plagued my drinking years, and even when I first got sober. I always felt like I needed to be at whatever party or social gathering was going on and if I wasn’t it was a fate worse than death. I couldn’t stand feeling like I was missing out. I felt like I was missing all the good gossip, stories, and funny things that would happen during a night of drinking and partying. I think FOMO actually stems from feelings of low self-esteem and inadequacy; the grass is always greener mentality. I thought people were doing something better, more exciting than me and I was dying to be a part of it. Through the process of self-discovery recovery has given me, I have learned to love myself and FOMO has melted away. It is no longer a thing in my life. I no longer feel like I’m missing out on life because I am in love with my own life. Sobriety has gotten easier and more enjoyable because FOMO is not a factor for me. I am a believer that once you are happy on the inside, life makes you happy too, and you won’t be feeling like you’re constantly missing out.
5. Decaf coffee
People are going to think I’m really weird for this one. I’ve been thinking about how to incorporate decaf coffee into a post for weeks. I was considering writing an entire post about decaf coffee – about how it gets a bad rap, about how delicious it is, and how it keeps me sober. It’s no secret that sober people love their coffee, but I feel like I’ve become quite sensitive to caffeine. I believe it could be related to cocaine and alcohol use in my past. When I drink a really strong coffee, my heart starts racing and I get anxious. It’s the same type of feeling I would have when I was hungover, or the day after I went on a cocaine binge. There were times when it really bothered me, but I love coffee. I toyed around with quitting coffee and I do drink tea, but I finally settled on coffee moderation. Then I found my friend decaf. Decaf is like the non-alcoholic beer of the coffee world. It still has a small dose of caffeine, but not an overpowering amount. I see countless memes on the internet about how stupid decaf coffee is and I have to say that it has been a lifesaver for me! On some days, decaf coffee keeps me sober! I am not ashamed to admit that. I’m not sure I could give up alcohol and coffee within 5 years of each other.
The point is, on some days you might find the most unusual reason keeps you sober. Whatever it is, grab it and hold on to it. The things keeping us sober are not always profound. It’s not always a life-changing experience. Some days, it’s having a second cup of coffee that’s decaf and other days it’s witnessing someone’s nasty hangover and being glad that isn’t me anymore. If the only reason you’re staying sober today is because you’re too tired to socialize or because sparkling water tastes better than beer, I say that’s good enough, just for today.