May 10, 2013

Why Sobriety is My Priority

A conversation with my coworkers about the cost of childcare and working vs staying at home has left me feeling a bit... Ah I guess feeling like... Oh should have stayed at home with my kids. I have three kids and they are all growing up in daycare. I can't help but feel like I am not doing enough. But honestly I can't be a stay at home mom; the time alone is just too slippery for me and I am afraid that I would start drinking again.

See, today sobriety is my priority. It has to be. If I drink again I will lose everything, I am sure of that. 

When my oldest was born, my ex and I decided that I would stay home with her. When she was three months old, I started drinking again; when she was five months old, I lost custody. In just two months my drinking was completely out of control and I ended up in rehab. And I didn't get sober until she was 5 years old. How crazy is that!? So I am scared.

So I have to keep reminding myself that my sobriety has to come first. I often hear people say that they don't have the time for meetings and "joining" a group, that it takes too much time out of the things that are important in life. But the truth for me is, that the time I put into working on my sobriety benefit everyone. I know that when I go to a meeting, or call my sponsor, or work on steps, I always feeling better, I am more relaxed and able to deal with life with more compassion and patience. And sometimes taking care of me means not putting myself in slippery places, where I might or might not be ok. I don't need to challenge my sobriety anymore. I just need to take care of it.
This had to be a lifestyle change for me, I suppose sort of like people who are highly allergic to let’s say peanuts, and have to make sure they do not eat anything that might have had even a trace of nuts. It they don’t take this precaution and change their diet, they might die. The most common barrier to taking care of oneself is the belief that we are selfish if we do. But in fact -if I don't take care of me, then I am useless to everybody else.

The best example of putting yourself first are the pre-flight instructions: when the plane is going down and the masks fall out of the ceiling, passengers are instructed to make sure to put the mask on first, and then help others; you can't help others if you die first.
My kids know the days that I go to the meetings, sometimes I have taken my daughter with me if I needed to, (with a portable DVD player and head phones) but I don't miss my meetings. This is my medicine. This the medicine that works for me. And people ask, after five years, you still have to go!? Aren't you cured? Well, YES... Yes, I still have want to go. Just like anything worth keeping, I must take good care of my sobriety. This means continuing doing the things that keep me sober, or avoiding things that might not, like staying home with the kids.

On a side note: I had a tough day at work yesterday, very overwhelmed with a project that we are to release in six weeks and it seems like an impossible task! My coworkers talked about dealing with the stress with bourbon. I got resentful! What about me? What the hell do I have? –
I have the gift of sobriety and awesome sponsor who emails me this:
"What could you not accept, if you but knew that everything that happens, all events, past, present and to come, are gently planned by One Whose only purpose is your good? Perhaps you have misunderstood His plan, for He would never offer pain to you. But your defenses did not let you see His loving blessing shine in every step you ever took. While you made plans for death, He led you gently to eternal life. "


  1. I love this post...and the new look around here!

    Yup - we need to keep this way of living up, or we slip back into the darkness. That is what I have to remind myself. I know many who started to get their life back together - the girl, the apartment, the job, etc and the fellowship and steps took a back seat. Bad news. Not saying all drank, but many did. Sobriety has to come first. I recently went about a week or two with no meetings and I could feel it. I need to be with my peeps, need to be talking to newcomers and need to be sharing and hearing the message. If I let anything come inbetween that and me, I lose that thing, as you mentioned.

    People ahve asked if I have to go to meetings forever...and I said, yup, if I want to stay alive. Or not go batty. I have heard of people getting institutionalized in sobriety. I'ts not the booze, it's the causes and conditions, and I need to be on top of those.

    Great post, really. I love the strong message and the plane analogy. Awesome!

    Happy Mother's Day!


    1. Thanks Paul, I like to change it up every so often! Yep, heard that too. This post was one of those eye opener moments too. When I am not ok, when I am not spiritually connected, then I know that I am not taking care of me and my sobriety. I saw a post once, title was "when does this end" - this was in a reference to staying sober. I had to giggle... But I have had that though, also. Well, I hope it doesn't, right!?

  2. i remember the moment i first realized i had to put my sobriety before my relationships...even my kids. i wish i'd read your awesome oxygen lask analogy then! Really, that is so spot on.

    When i first got sober, someone in the rooms said, "Whatever you put in front of your sobriety, be prepared to lose."

    Isn't that the truth.

    Hope work gets better!

    1. Hi Al! I heard that one too! Seems kinda unreasonable, but so true. And thanks, work is going to be crazy until this project is done! But I am using the tools; one day at the time and focus on what's right in front of me! And call my sponsor! Thanks for stopping by!


Keep moving forward!