Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Being Sober and Happy

(this is obviously an old photo - it has my favorite tablecloth... )

I am tired tonight and thought of writing about how hard I have worked today but thought of how uninteresting that is to read. So, not having any better ideas, I went to my site meter and looked at the last search that brought a reader to my blog. It was "being sober and happy." What a nice topic.

If you were going to make a judgment on this based on information found on the internet I guess you would decide that people are pretty miserable once they quit drinking. That is not my experience. It is not my personal experience and it is not my experience of knowing lots and lots of sober alcoholics. Of course, sometimes it is the case that a sober alcoholic is a grumpy angry surly individual, but I always wonder what they were like before they got sober - and I think they are the exception not the rule.

When I got sober, I was so happy to be relieved of the prison of living with active alcoholism, I felt like a hot air balloon, set free from the earth. I was so delighted to live in this new way. I was so delighted to not worry about getting drunk, and what I would do once I drank too much. I was not worried about who I would run into or who I would call in a drunken need to tell someone what a jackass they were or how much I loved them.... maybe both things simultaneously. To wake up every single morning feeling good was something that took me years to get used to. Each spring I would hear the arrival of the birds and wonder how I had never noticed this in my entire life previous to getting sober. I felt like a new woman, and I was a happy woman.

This is not to say that I had no problems, because I had plenty. But I also had the ability to make reasonable decisions for the first time in my adult life and behave responsibly.

Maybe if you are not done drinking being sober is torture. But if you have been through the hell of alcoholism, being set free from that is a blessing that is indescribable.

Tonight after work I stopped at a birthday party for a friend from work. They were all drinking. I was not. I always limit my exposure at these events... the first hour and no more. And as usually happens, with the first drink, they get that lovely glow that is the reason people drink alcohol - it is pleasant. But then some people leave and some people continue to drink. And what usually happens is that I end up having more fun than anyone, and sooner or later some genius realizes that I am drinking a diet pepsi. Tonight there was a policeman present, and he told me I was having too much fun with my diet pepsi, that I should have some booze so that I could tone it down. ha! If he only knew. And then it was time to go, and I happily drove away. Not guiltily looking in my rearview mirror for anything.

Being sober and happy? Yeah. It is possible. It is good. Because AA works.


14 comments:

Ros said...

"who I would call in a drunken need to tell someone what a jackass they were or how much I loved them.... maybe both things simultaneously"

Oh NO!!!!!!!!!!! You're telling my story!Great post, thank you.

dAAve said...

Learning to handle good feelings in sobriety can be a challenge (for this now-sober alkie).

Pam said...

Lovin' my Mary.

Scott said...

AA does work... for nearly 14 years AA and God and I have worked together to produce a calmer, happier more peaceful me. It isn't perfect but I can deal with that today!

Lou said...

I absolutely hate watching the progression from warm glow to obnoxious fool in people I know.

Scott W said...

I attended the meeting last night where I got sober. I loved how I felt so completely different than I did that first night. What a blessing!

Willa said...

Getting sober, besides quitting smoking has been one of the best and most important decisions of my life.

Mary LA said...

Alcoholism is hell. I love being sober.

Syd said...

MC, I asked my wife about your tablecloth and she looked it up:
Put the tablecloth in the freezer. Once the wax is hardened, scrape off with a dull knife. If wax remains, rip open a brown paper bag, place part of the bag over the wax and iron the area. The bag will absorb the wax. Keep placing an unused part of the bag over the wax and iron until the wax is removed.
She also said that there is a candle wax remover that you can get at Bed, Bath and Beyond. It works on tablecloths and other fabrics.
I am the sober one at parties. I hated to watch what would happen as the evening would progress. Foolishly, I stayed around to watch. I don't do that anymore.

Kim A. said...

I have always loved the phrase, "We are not a glum lot." for the reasons you posted. For alanon, it would read, "We are not a bitchy lot." I think.

Loving it that your are surfing today on some peaceful and happy waves.

namaste

Ed G. said...

Sober had happy - seemed like an oxymoron to me but the happiest days of my life have been the sober ones. Thanx for writing this.

Blessings and aloha...

Kathy M. said...

Lovely post. I love the inspiration of getting a topic from a google search for your blog, the image of a hot air balloon set free from earth, the idea of not guiltily looking in the rear-view mirror.

In my experience, the unhappy sober alcoholics are not in recovery or have not embraced it. Thanks for your blog.

wheelboy said...

you can be drunk happy or sober happy. Personally I prefer sober happy. At least I know why I'm happy while sober

Anonymous said...

What I really miss is thinking I am playing it safe by drinking at home by myself, only to wake up the next day to realize I went on a drunken rant on facebook in front of a few hundered people the nite before. Not! Thanks for the blog!