TOOLS TO STAY CLEAN AND SOBER
THE SAME THINGS I DID TO STAY SOBER NINE YEARS AGO I DO TO KEEP ME SOBER TODAY. TEMPTATION STRIKES AT NINE YEARS SOBER! DOES THAT MEAN MY SOBRIETY IS NOT QUALITY SOBRIETY?
I used to love to drink the frothy brown head on the top of a cold Amber Bock or Dark Heineken beer. I preferred my beer nearly frozen. I would chug down the first one till I remember getting a warm fuzzy feeling in the pit of my stomach. Then I felt the alcohol coarse through my veins almost like a shot of heroin straight into my blood stream. I would sit around with my friends connecting on a level that made me feel brotherhood and a sense of belonging. I had found my place in life and it took alcohol to get me there.
So when I walked to my neighbor’s house yesterday to pick up my little dog I was a bit taken by the ice cold cooler full of Amber Bock and the fellowship that I found. At nine years sober I must admit my mind went to a place where I asked myself, “Can I safely drink? After all I am a different person now.” When they kindly offered me a beer I laughed and told them that I quit nine years prior and that drinking got me in trouble. They laughed and said, “We thought that was the whole reason TO drink….to get in trouble that is”. I kindly laughed-back enjoying the prospect of being enabled by alcohol to do the things that my pesky conscience wouldn’t allow. And is that the “why” behind the wealthy man’s reason to drink as well as the poor man’s? Who knows? All I could remember were the good times and that’s ok temporarily that is. I did have some good memories of drinking and met some wonderful people.
The counselors at Bridge house Rehab gave us a little sobriety tool called “play it through”. This tool, if you really do want to be free from the miseries drinking brings, works. It works for me and it works for those I got sober with back in 2006 who are still around.
My brain’s travelling neurons then took an abrupt turn into an exit ramp and caught my pain-staking-ly built sobriety bridge. By doing the “next right thing” and by God’s grace I have built a bridge over the carved out and well used roads in my brain labelled “This way to Hell”. After nine years of recovery my minds neurons have learned to travel on the well-lit highways or “neural-pathways” of sobriety. And what did I find on my well lit road leading me away from the Hell that I have had enough of? You guessed it, I found awareness. I recovered the memories of the hangovers, the regrets, the wrongs I committed, and my destructive actions. I found memories of throwing up, of waking up so thirsty from a black-out that was so deep it could only have been induced by poisoning my brain. I remembered crashing my vehicles, and the regret of sleeping with countless men just so I could feel I had some value. I remembered the jails. I remembered my moral compass and self-esteem being crushed even further into the dirt. I remembered doing the things that a hurt child of God does while just trying to make sense of a young life filled with betrayal, evil, hurt and pain. And so I knew then as I sat on my neighbor’s porch that drinking was not my choice, not today and hopefully never again.
SO IS MY SOBRIETY QUALITY? I DIDN’T DRINK, I USED THE TOOLS, I DIDN’T DISRESPECT OR JUDGE MY DRINKING NEIGHBORS, I AM NOT ASHAMED OF WHO I AM AND MY THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS. QUALITY SOBRIETY HAS MANY FACES INCLUDING A FACE OF PAIN. BUT THROUGH IT ALL IT HAS A FACE THAT HAS EYES TO SEE PAST THE EVIL INTO THE GOOD. YOU BE THE JUDGE.