I’ve been writing more than ever this year and want to thank each of you for reading. As the year wraps up, I’ve gathered the ten most popular “Exploring Sobriety” posts of 2020 into the list below.
If you’re a new reader, this list is the perfect starting place. If you’ve been following me for a while, it’s a great way to catch up on any posts you missed or wanted to read again. I hope you all enjoy these and find them interesting or helpful.
“One of the things that non-addicts rarely realize about alcoholism is how much planning goes into it. This is especially true among so-called ‘high-functioning alcoholics.’ My drinking days required constant calculations, as I tried to balance law school and work with getting drunk every single night.” …
“Will sobriety always be hard?”
I asked myself that question a lot when I initially quit drinking.
My first week sober was certainly difficult, but I had expected as much. I had tried to stop drinking many times before, so I was already used to the headaches, confusion, cravings, and insomnia. I knew that in order to get sober I’d have to suffer through some serious withdrawal symptoms, but that was a price I was willing to pay.
The entire first week, I kept telling myself that all the misery would be worth it. If I can just get through this, I thought, then I’ll have finally reached the happy, sober life that I’ve always dreamed about. …
Drinking alcohol is often considered the norm, however abstinence is far more common than many people realize: in America, nearly half of adults haven’t had a single drink in the past month. In fact, even our new president, Joe Biden, doesn’t drink.
According to the New York Times, Biden has never had an alcoholic drink in his entire life. We’re just two decades into the 21st century, yet it’s already the third time that America has elected a president who completely abstains from alcohol.
Teetotaling presidents have become the standard. Barack Obama — who famously brewed the first White House beer — is the only exception since Bill Clinton. …
Before getting sober, I used to drink beer every single day, almost always to the point of drunkenness. I typically had no less than a six-pack each night and often drank much more.
Despite this heavy drinking habit, my life hadn’t fallen apart as much as it could have. I only drank in the evenings, and during the daytime I managed to remain a more-or-less productive member of society.
While maintaining a daily drinking habit, I also was able to get into a great law school, graduate with honors, pass the bar, and become a lawyer. …
As an alcoholic, I was used to watch life rush past me. Before getting sober, I spent most of each day either drinking or in a hurry to get home so that I could start drinking.
The myth that I told myself was that my drinking habit was fine because I was a “high-functioning” alcoholic. What I meant by this was mostly just that I never drank at school or work. It wasn’t exactly a high bar.
Although I wasn’t drinking during the daytime hours, alcohol was still constantly in the back of my mind. …
I was a daily alcohol drinker for about ten years, and in all that time, I don’t remember ever having just one drink.
There were rare nights that I took it easy, and had just a few. There were even a handful of days that I didn’t drink at all. But, as far as I can remember, I never once had a single beer and then called it a night.
More often, I was on the other extreme. I typically tried to get as drunk as possible without getting sick. …
When I first quit drinking, I was filled with doubts about my sobriety. One of the ideas that I struggled with was the fact that I’d no longer be able to celebrate special occasions with alcohol.
What was a birthday without beer? Or new year’s eve without champagne? Was a celebration really a celebration if there was no booze involved?
I thought that getting drunk was an essential part of having fun. I really couldn’t imagine how anything could feel like a celebration if I was sober.
Now though, after I’ve been sober for a few years, I look back on these doubts and laugh. The idea that alcohol was a necessary ingredient at every party or event no longer makes any sense to me at all. …
I used to think that all recovering addicts fell into two categories, and I hated them both.
The first category was made up of the ultra-cheerful crowd who never seemed to stop smiling or shut up about how much sobriety had changed their life.
The second category was composed of the other extreme: the bitter former drinkers whose only joy in life seemed to be wallowing in their own misery.
When I first decided to get sober, I dreaded talking to any of my fellow recovering addicts. …
“Progress, not perfection.”
This pithy piece of advice is so popular within sobriety communities that I sometimes take it for granted. That’s a shame, because it perfectly encapsulates a mindset that has been instrumental in helping me stay sober.
When I was still a daily drinker, I was obsessed by the idea of perfection. Although my life was at its worst, I always tricked myself into believing that I was just one day away from turning everything around.
I used to stay up late getting drunk and daydreaming about a perfect life that I was just sure would begin the very next morning. …
When I quit drinking, one of the most common pieces of advice I heard was not to make any major life changes during my first year sober. Conventional wisdom holds that career moves, new relationships, and long trips should all wait until at least year two.
The idea behind this advice is simple: big changes are stressful and distract from sobriety. During their first year without alcohol, recovering addicts already have enough on their plates; there’s no need to add even more.
In addition, personalities change a lot during the first year of sobriety. There’s a strong chance that big decisions made within the first few months of sobriety will end up as big regrets one year later. …