A while back, I heard a comedian who had a routine about what happens when you die. Unfortunately, I don’t recall the comedian’s name, which is a shame, because I’d love to give him credit for inspiring this article. (If you know the routine or the comedian, please feel free to leave his name in the comments).
The joke goes like this: “…people ask, ‘what happens when we die?’ I’ll tell you what happens, everything happens — the garbage man still comes; traffic still builds up on the interstate; leaves fall in Autumn and sprout back in Spring; the sun rises in the East and sets in the West — everything happens when you die.”
I am only recently sober, and by no means an expert on sobriety, but I do believe my observations in my early days of not drinking will be helpful to me in my later days (and hopefully helpful for you, the reader).
I’ve been sober for a week — that’s 7 days in a row, including a Friday and a Saturday, something I thought impossible just 8 days ago. Not overly impressive, unless you consider that for the last 20 years my alcoholism had progressed to the point where I was drinking every day, with a complete inability to stop. Through that lens, 7 days looks like a lifetime.
For this entire week, the sentiment from this joke has been running through my head. In some ways, becoming sober represents the death of a part of me. Drinking was like an old friend who’s not there anymore. An old friend who was destroying my life, but nonetheless, we had some good times together.
And what I can’t help but notice is, just like the joke, everything still happens now that I’m sober. The New York Mets game still comes on; dinner still needs to be made; homework still needs to be checked. How about that! The world didn’t stop because I stopped drinking.
So when people ask me, “what happens when you get sober?” my response is, “everything happens when you get sober.”