When people begin thinking about getting sober, one of the topics that regularly comes up is how boring they think it is to be sober. A person facing the idea of getting sober is still living with the fantasized idea that somehow, one day, their drinking or using will be fun again. Many alcoholics and drug addicts chase that dream for years – and they actually believe that it is attainable…maybe even the ‘next time’ they drink or use.
When I first arrived in treatment, I was convinced that I would never be able to relax or have fun again if I was sober. In reality, my life was pretty ugly – there hadn’t been anything relaxing or fun about my life in a long time, but I was confident that fun and relaxation were just around the corner waiting, and I’d miss out if I were sober. This was absolutely real for me, as it is for many people who are in the depths of their addiction. Alcohol was my escape from the mess of my reality. I had an idea of what was waiting for me in reality and no idea how to face any of it sober.
In truth, early sobriety was not easy. There were a lot of feelings to learn how to feel and live through. There were people to face and make amends with; relationships to clean up; things to learn and apply in life; and, a lot of personal growth.
But, along with all of these changes, I also learned how to have fun again. I learned how to be a part of a group of people, and enjoy the company of others. I learned how to accept love and friendship. I learned how to be a friend and how to be of service to others. And, I learned how to live through any experience, feeling or emotion, sober…one day at a time.
In the years I’ve been sober, I have repaired relationships with many of my family and friends, and I am married to my best friend (who has been sober for more than 30 years). We ride motorcycles with a sober riding group; we have a group of sober friends that we travel, camp and boat with on a regular basis. We go on long camping and boating trips and have friends who are able to show up when they can – we laugh, play games, cook great food and have a lot of fun – more fun, actually, than I ever had when I was drinking and using.
I became employable and have had some fantastic jobs that have taken me all over the United States and Europe. I currently work as a freelance writer and can work from anywhere I have cell phone service. I just returned from a road-trip through Yellowstone National Park with our small grandchildren. I’ll spend the remainder of the month working from the side of a beautiful lake. Friends and family will join us there for a few days at a time. We will fish, play with the jet-skis, have sobriety meetings around the campfire at night under the stars, and close each day with gratitude.
The truth is, getting sober was difficult and frightening. Staying sober has been challenging at times. But, I wouldn’t trade the life I have today for anything I fanaticized about before I learned that sobriety was a choice I get to make every day.