Monday, April 16, 2012

On Long Term Sobriety

Going out in my pajamas to take photos of flowers in the snow
Yesterday I went to my home group with my daughter.  It is funny that we have the same friends.  They are mostly all my age.  They are mostly all sober about the same length of time as me.  I can talk about my sobriety with gay abandon with them.

A couple of weeks ago I saw a psychiatrist for the first time in many years - well, except for those who are my friends and former co-workers.  I had never seen him before and he asked me a bit about my story.  When he asked me if I drank, I told him I had been sober for 27 and a half years.  (I don't know why he asked me that because in my chart the first diagnosis is "Alcohol Dependence - Sustained Full Remission.")  I got to talk to him about that silly diagnosis too.  I am certainly NOT dependent upon alcohol - but I am certainly an alcoholic.  That is the problem with ..... oh, never mind....

He asked me about my sobriety.  He was thrilled that I have been sober for so long.  And I started crying.  Because I have gotten to be almost defensive about my length of sobriety.  As if you can't say how long you have been sober without it turning into a pissing contest with someone who is sober for a year or two and wants to judge the quality of your sobriety or thinks it is some kind of well, contest.  I truly don't get it.  I don't preface every sentence with it.  I don't boast about it.  But it is a grateful fact of my life.  I could weep each time I really truly think about it.  Like I did on Dave's post today - he said he hadn't had a beer in the middle of the night for eight and a half years.  If you drank like I did, and I believe Dave did, eight and a half years is freaking incredible!  A miracle!  More miraculous than a lunar landing!

I always encourage people to "be where they are" especially with respect to their sobriety.  I loved my first couple of years of sobriety and I am glad I had people around who told me to enjoy it and not waste my life away wishing for more years of sober time, and therefore wishing to be older!

I am grateful that at my home group, I can actually feel free and not apologetic about my time sober.  It is a revelation to me after years in a group where I felt defensive about it!

As one of my old buddies says, "it gets greater later."   I believe that, but I also believe that any day of sobriety is a miracle and each day is to be relished.  I also know on a cellular level that I could be drunk tomorrow.

But not today.   By the Grace of God.

13 comments:

Furtheron said...

Early in my sobriety I talked to one guy I was getting some significant respect for. I said "I want what you have". He said "Stick about then" I'd of course wanted more, wanted the quick route the easy path - he was right, if I wanted to be 8 years sober I needed to hang about 8 years... only a month to go... that guy, still respect him greatly and still would love some of what he has now, guess I best stick around some more then

Linda B. said...

Love your post Mary Christine and Furtheron's comment. I am 9.5 months sober and certainly in no position to let down my guard and relax. I want what you have and I will keep working at it! Linda

Lou said...

Letting people be where they are..so important.

Maybe you are feeling somewhat defensive in blogging, as I have been lately. I'm feeling a bit "judged" but not sure why.

Kristin H. said...

I have the pissing contest person in my circle of meetings and when I see him I immediately get on edge. Dude can't string together any significant period of sobriety yet insists on challenging those with any kind of time about the significance of theirs. The guy is a major irritant to many and I imagine I could go elsewhere but I truly do love that meeting.

Kary May said...

Save some for me! I sure am glad there is enough to go around. 227 days sober and relishing it.

Mary LA said...

It thrills me to hear how long others have been sober, reminds me what is possible.

dAAve said...

Sober time is relative.
At least, to those relatives that care.

Annette said...

Pissing contest drain me. Almost immediately... the minute I find myself being pulled into one, I back my way out FAST. Even parents in Alanon want to compete about who has had it the worst with their kids....who wants that to be their identity?! My kid has suffered more at the hands of his/her addiction than yours has. Thus so have I. I just give it them. You win.

I love your humility of tears and gratitude at the years you have continued to remain sober. Its a beautiful thing MC.

Syd said...

Your sobriety is a wonderful thing. I am so glad for that. I don't understand why anyone would want to make it a pissing contest. Thanks for being here.

Anonymous said...

If you are tired of being defensive, then stop being defensive.

Mary LA said...

I wish this anonymous poster would go away and get a life, I really do.

(Hums chorus of 'So Long, It's been Good To Know You'...)

Pammie said...

1. Anonymous is a good example of why I want to continue to grow and change in our program.
2. Daves middle of the night beer was very familiar to me too!
3. Every day that goes by and we don't drink....is so awesome.
4. I can't believe you have snow on the ground !!!!

Patty said...

At first I thought, what beautiful white carpeting!