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Being sober means making a commitment to yourself that you will not ingest any mood or mind-altering substances. Making the decision to lead a sober life means taking life’s challenges head-on. I no longer use alcohol, drugs, or self-destructive behavior to numb my feelings, so I had to learn how to deal with both happy and sad emotions without alcohol or drugs.
Sobriety means learning who you truly are without the cover or guise of drugs and alcohol. For me, I had to figure out who I was outside of my “party girl” persona. Through being sober, I have learned how I feel about important issues. I’ve also learned what my true passions are.
In this post, I’ll provide an all-encompassing rundown of sobriety, including an explanation of why sobriety is important, how to get sober or stay sober, as well as eight suggestions if you’re new to sobriety.
What is Sobriety (and Why Does It Matter)?
Sobriety is a way of living. It is a choice one will make to live authentically as themselves, without any drug or substance which will numb feelings and experiences. However, not using is really only one layer of sobriety. The main purpose of sober living is to find yourself, to heal and to learn how to be healthy emotionally, physically and spiritually.
How do you live a life of sobriety?
One day at a time. I know, cliché, right? But, it’s true. The emotions we have to process on a daily basis can be intense and painful and heartbreaking. People who choose sobriety have to do what everyone else does, but without an escape. We have to learn how to be “adults,” to let go of toxic people, places and things, and learn how to navigate through the traumas, the funerals and the break-ups. It’s not easy. So why do it?
I do it because I want to be on my deathbed, at an old, old, age, thinking, “what a life I got to live,” and not, “what did I do with my life?” I choose sobriety because I want to remember the small moments and the big moments–like when my dog hobbled around in her hot pink cast because of a toenail injury–or my wedding day, where my closest friends and family gathered together to support and love me in a new adventure with my husband. On the opposite hand, I want to support and love my family and friends when they are going through a difficult time. I hope to always be the person who is reliable, who is known for always bringing McDonald’s and ice cream, rather than weed and wine. Being sober, for me, is knowing that I will always be cared for and in return can always care for others. It’s that simple.
I can’t answer if you should be sober, because only you know that. I can ask you, however, if you’re ready to try to live a life without using the escape route. And if you answer yes, then I will always be here for you.
Does sobriety just mean being sober from drugs and alcohol?
To me, sobriety also means not participating in anything that keeps me from reaching my full potential. Recovery is also about participating in life with focus and enthusiasm that I can’t attain when I am participating in self-destructive behavior. I have a history of self-harm. I haven’t hurt myself in over 10 years, but it is something that still crosses my mind when I am stressed out. In our society, so many things can keep us numb, including porn, sex, social media, eating disorders, shopping, and self-harm.
How to Get Sober or Stay Sober
There are a couple of ways you can get sober and stay sober. The first would be to go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Talk with people who have made the decision to live a life free of substances. Everyone in that room wants to see you succeed, so please do not be afraid to share your worries with the group. No one has an agenda and everyone wants to help. The second suggestion is to look up treatment centers. Many people first got sober in rehab and were able to begin their journey in a closed-off, safe environment. This is a personal choice and one that only you can make!
Staying sober is your choice and your responsibility alone. Reach out for help and know that just because you have to decide every day to stay sober. You do not have to wrestle that thought and those demons alone.
You can also check out my post about how I stay sober using My Sobriety Toolbox.
Terms to Know
AA = Alcoholics Anonymous
NA = Narcotics Anonymous
Belly button birthday = day of birth
Birthday = sober birthday
Acts of service = unpaid acts that help the group
Anonymity = “What you see here, what you say here, let it stay here.” Do not tell people outside of the room who you saw or what you heard. This is to protect people’s identities.
For more terms, click here.
Find an AA meeting: http://www.aa.org
Find an NA meeting: https://na.org
Download the Big Book app on your smartphone for daily readings.
I’m not going to pretend that living a sober life is always easy, but it definitely makes my life easier. I don’t wake up with hangovers, or regret the night before. Now, I make a conscious decision to be present in my life, to be empowered by my responsibility and my creativity. Plus, I no longer let my thoughts be dictated by alcohol and drugs. Being sober looks different for everyone because every person is unique.
What does sobriety mean to you?