Posts Tagged ‘sobriety’

For those of you who are deep enough into your sobriety to pay attention to what’s going on in the world around you, you might have noticed that the Oscars were held this week. I don’t typically pay a lot of attention to these kinds of things (if watching people half your age win awards for wearing tacky dresses and making bad movies isn’t reason enough to drink, what is?), but it does get me thinking about the roles that appreciation and public recognition play in early recovery.

It’s ok to admit it: some of us just like to be recognized from time to time.

There is a good side to this, and a bad side. Just as some Oscar attendees can only manage to halfheartedly clap for the terrible actor who stars in a string of predictable flops, it can be difficult for the people in our lives to “recognize” the hard work we’ve done in putting our lives back together. In their minds, the fact that we haven’t been thrown in jail, lost our jobs, or slept outside for a few months on end doesn’t really seem worthy of a lifetime achievement award.

In fact, bringing it up ourselves can make us look even more terrible, since it’s a reminder of just how often we’ve failed at the box office of life so many times in the past.

As I mentioned, however, there is a good side to all of this, too. Your non-alcoholic, non-addict friends and family might not know how hard you’re working, or understand why it’s such a big deal that you’re making the effort… but others who are in early recovery do.

That’s why it’s important, especially in the first few days, weeks, and months of your sobriety, that you make it to a regular meeting and make friends with people you can lean on for support. They know what you know: that every single day can be a struggle, and a victory.

Take the time to appreciate how far you’ve come – even if you can only measure that in hours – and it will give you the strength to keep going.

With the Oscars right behind us, and most of the country thinking about whose work they do and don’t appreciate in Hollywood, keep both of these ideas in mind. It isn’t fair to expect your loved ones to give you the red carpet treatment just because you’ve managed to string a bit of sobriety together. At the same time, though, don’t be afraid to give yourself a little acceptance speech now and again, to reflect on how far you’ve come, and be as proud of yourself as you should be for making each and every day of sobriety possible.

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chipsI’m a chronic alcoholic who relapsed over and over. I had enough 1, 2 and 3 month sobriety chips to tile my bathroom. After every relapse and my sheepish return to AA, the first thing I’d hear was, “Are you done now?”

That question bothered me because I figured, yes I’m done or I wouldn’t be here, (at least for today anyway). The oldtimers would give me that look, as if to say, we’ll see. The fact is they were right, I wasn’t done until I was done (another saying that bothered me, but was true nonetheless). I had my foot, half in, half out. I was doing the hokey pokey with the rooms of AA.

Another thing someone said to me was “you’re using AA to control your drinking”. I was suitably pissed off at this remark and told them so. What the hell did they know? I was trying my hardest, obviously I was just more of an alcoholic than they were. I had it much worse than anyone would give me credit for (and I was totally self absorbed – but didn’t know it then).

When I look back on those days of doing the dance with AA, I realize just how sick I was (and still am). The difference is now I have some idea of what I am up against. Back then, I knew nothing of the disease of alcoholism and how I had a ‘broken thinker’.

Getting sober is hard, staying sober is harder. If you are in early recovery and have no idea what to expect, here are some more articles and information that you might find helpful – click here
Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down