Why Bother Staying Sober?

The question nearly every recovering addict eventually asks.

Benya Clark
Exploring Sobriety

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This essay originally appeared in the Exploring Sobriety newsletter.

Trees spraypainted with question marks.
Photo by Evan Dennis on Unsplash

Strange Expectations

“Why bother staying sober?”

It’s a question that I used to ask myself and a question that I’ve heard from many fellow recovering addicts. We tend to ask it when our life is at its worst, when sobriety seems to have fixed nothing, and when we’ve run out of hope.

I came into sobriety with a bizarre set of conflicting expectations. There was a part of me that was still denying that I even had a drinking problem. That side of me approached sobriety as nothing more than a way to save a little money and lose a little weight.

But, there was another part of me that thought of myself as a total degenerate alcoholic. That side of me blamed every problem I ever had on my drinking. That side expected my life to do a complete 180 as soon as I quit.

Of course, it’s easy to look back on those days and wonder how I could have held such paradoxical and confusing thoughts. But, I think that one of the hallmarks of an addict is our ability to hold illogical, conflicting thoughts without even realizing it.

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Benya Clark
Exploring Sobriety

I’m a lawyer turned writer from North Carolina. I write about sobriety, mental health, and more. Subscribe to my weekly newsletter at exploringsobriety.com.