If alcohol is an elevator that only goes down, you can decide to step off now. No one needs to drink.
And that booze elevator? Make no mistake, it is going down — no question — as the consequences of drinking go up. Problems with relationships, problems at work, missed opportunities, missed deadlines, missed middle-of-the-night calls from your son in the next room.
Not feeling proud of yourself. A problem looking in the mirror. Motion sickness. Down down.
Some people think they want to wait for a low bottom before they try something different. Continue drinking through the small disappointments, quickly on the way to bigger issues. It’s grim. Can see it coming like a freight train. An elevator train. (Mix metaphors much?)
I can see you there. You’re nervous. You’re over-drinking and not sure how to get off the elevator.
You stand at the back of the elevator. You don’t want to make a scene, don’t want to draw attention to yourself. Don’t want anyone to see, to look, to notice you.
You see people getting off the booze elevator. You see them step off at higher floors. That has to be easier than waiting for this to get worse.
And then you see— really? — other people who have previously gotten off are re-entering the booze elevator, and you’re like
“What the hell? Don’t you know how hard it is to get out of here? What are you doing coming BACK on this trip that only goes down?”
This part is grim but true: Some people do not get off the elevator before it hits bottom.
You’re pretty sure that won’t be you, though this hope you have isn’t based on evidence. You think “maybe I’ll drink for a few more years, and stop later. How much more drinking can I fit in?”
After weeks and years of waiting for the right time to quit, you realize with a shock that the doors on this booze elevator do NOT open on every floor. You can’t just step off when you want to. It’s harder to get off than you thought it would be.
The elevator goes down.
Now you push your way to the front of the elevator.
“I need this, I have to stop drinking. I’m not living in integrity. I have a fitness business, I’m a lawyer, I’m a therapist, I’m an elementary school teacher, I’m an addictions nurse, I’m retired. I’m someone’s daughter (mother, son).”
Some people don’t ever find a way out. The voice in their head that says “Drink Now” shouts loudly, they don’t reach out for help, they don’t tell anyone. They keep drinking, roll the dice, gamble. They get lost.
But that’s not you. You’re here. You’re here reading this.
You know that sobriety is not just for alcoholics any more. You know that no one needs to drink alcohol.
You see the doors open — oh thank god, a breath of fresh air, a whiff of hope, a sip of support—and you see the elevator doors open and you step off. Right now. Right this minute. You’ll figure out what you’re doing later. You’ll figure out how to live without booze. Yes, there is stuff to figure out.
But. That elevator door doesn’t open very often.
And while you see a chance, you take it. Steve Winwood be damned. You’re not riding the booze elevator any longer.
Thanks for reading. Can you click on the little ‘clap’ picture? 👏🏼 Helps people find the stuff I write. Merci.
Belle Robertson, sober 7.5 years, blogs and writes and records free sober audios. She has been sober penpals with 3,095 people. She works as a text designer, a baker & caterer, and as a sober coach. She thinks that running, however slowly, fixes a shitty day. And a doughnut doesn’t hurt, either. This blurb updated January 2020.
Exit painting, done by mr.belle, for when you need a visual reminder.