Celebrating Sobriety from Alcohol – It is achievable

Celebrating sobriety from Alcohol. An excerpt from a blog written by Brene Brown as she celebrated 23 years of sobriety on 12 May …..some wise words.

“For now, I want to share three inspirations that form the cornerstones of how I live into my sobriety.”

Three inspirations from the cornerstones of Sobriety from Alcohol

1. I went to AA meetings regularly during my first year of sobriety, and I still work the program. It’s not for everyone, but it makes sense to me. And, I’m unapologetic about taking what works……

This passage from the AA Big Book is the truest and most important touchstone to my recovery:

“That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality — safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is our experience. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.”

For me, this means that if I stay in fit spiritual condition — boundaries, vulnerability, honesty, authenticity, connection to God, healthy food, exercise, and sleep — I will experience the miracle of neutrality. I won’t be running toward or away from cold beer or warm carbs.

2. Ten years after I got sober, my breakdown spiritual awakening started. In addition to not drinking, I had just quit sugar and bread for the first time. I thought I was going to come out of my skin. I sat across from my therapist, Diana, and said, “You need to give me something for my anxiety. I can’t take it. There’s nothing to take the edge off anymore. I’m freaking out.”

Diana calmly replied, “What do you want me to give you?”

Infuriated by her calmness, I said, “I don’t know! Medicine. Something for the anxiety! I’m like a turtle without a shell. I have NO SHELL! No booze, no muffins, nothing! I’m a turtle without a shell in a briar patch. Everything in the briar patch is poking me and jabbing me. It hurts.”

She said, “Maybe we should talk about getting out of the briar patch?”

I was pissed. “Get out of the fucking briar patch? That’s your advice? Instead of giving me a new shell, you want me to live somewhere less prickly? Seriously?”

Diana said, “You don’t need to find a different place to live. Maybe we could just think about a different way to live. One that doesn’t require that heavy shell.”

DAMMIT.

We spent the better part of a year identifying the briar patch, and I learned how to be a turtle without a shell. Today, when I’m feeling poked and jabbed by life, my first instinct is still to reach for the shell, but now I catch myself. My briar patch is not enough sleep, too much work, too many expectations, resentment, perfecting, pleasing, proving, and a few other thorny things.

Celebrating Sobriety from Alcohol

3. This last one is a quote from Mary Karr. I read it in an interview she did for The Fix. I recommend you read the entire interview – it blew me away.

Gonna keep me sober

“That schoolmarm part of me — that hypercritical finger-wagging part of myself that I thought was gonna keep me sober — that was actually what helped me stay drunk. What keeps you sober is love and connection to something bigger than yourself.

When I got sober, I thought giving up [alcohol] was saying goodbye to all the fun and all the sparkle, and it turned out to be just the opposite. That’s when the sparkle started for me.”

Today, I’m grateful for my sobriety and the sparkle it brought to my life. While I don’t do “fit spiritual condition” perfectly, I’m grateful for knowing what it takes, doing the work to get there, and for the gift of neutrality that it brings. And, I’m grateful for the ability to recognize the briar patch and to know the freedom of not always lugging that shell around.

If you’re struggling, reach out and ask for help. Find a meeting. Get a therapist. Call a friend. We don’t have to do this alone. We were never meant to.

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