July 24, 2013

Be Proud to be Sober

I have been outing myself more and more. I hope I am not going against the AA traditions, but I am feeling like what is the point of being in recovery if no one knows and I can't share it and hopefully help someone else. So here and there I have just been disclosing more about being sober and my recovery. In talking to few people, I have realized that I tend to be more bothered by being the one not drinking than the people around me. People just don't seem to care as much as I think they do. Strangely enough, we are the one who still carry all the shame associated with alcoholism.

I know that being sober I admit that I have a problem, I admit that I am an alcoholic. Yes, it sounds rough, leaves a bit of a bad taste in the mouth, huh? But it is the truth. I have the disease of alcoholism, no matter how you phrase it. At the same time I am a sober alcoholic which means that I have been able to turn my life around despite the low statistics - only about 3% of people that try recovery, actually succeed. But I didn't do it alone! It's time to share with others what has freely been given to me in hope that they too find the strength and are encouraged to do the same. We don't have to suffer alone!

I know there is stigma still surrounding alcoholism and addiction. I know some people still believe that it is a lack of self control and no moral standards that cause our addictions. But you know what, that is just not true, you know it and I know it! If I could have willed it away I would have! And today,  I'd rather people say, oh there is that boring girl who doesn't drink anymore, than oh there is that drunk girl again, wonder what fiasco she will cause tonight! And, you know, really, what other people think of me is none of my business, because if it is not this, then there will be something else they will find to talk about.  I am no better or worse than others!

Acceptance is the key here. We are all exactly how we are supposed to be. We are all where we are supposed to be. We all have issues to deal with. I am an alcoholic. That doesn't make me a bad person. It just makes ME.

I wish I felt this way in early sobriety, maybe I wouldn't have done so much research, and questioned it so much: am I? am I not? Who cares, really. I knew the answer long before my last drink. And if getting sober seemed like an amazing thing to do, like running a marathon or climbing a mountain, maybe I would have gotten to it sooner! But getting sober seemed shameful! Why?

The point is that sobriety should not be shameful! We who find sobriety have worked our arses off and continue to do so to stay sober! That is a lot of work and perseverance! Getting sober IS amazing and for me the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. If everyone out there understood how horribly difficult it is to deal with this cunning and baffling disease of addiction, they too would be proud!  And maybe the people still struggling with their addiction would find it easier to raise above and get sober! And then you can run a marathon or climb a mountain too! We should be proud! I AM proud!

YOU. Should. Be. Proud!


  1. OMG awesome post! I love this:

    "And if getting sober seemed like an amazing thing to do, like running a marathon or climbing a mountain, maybe I would have gotten to it sooner!"

    Hell to the yeah! It should be seen as equally as hard and cool as running a marathon, because it IS!

    I read a post on Crying Out Now (http://www.cryingoutnow.com/) earlier today that also touched on that issue of shame in sobriety and how a lot of it is in our heads. And I've also had a couple of people lately tell me how amazing they think it is I've quit drinking, which felt pretty good.

    So, there unquestionably is a stigma in society still for sure but I also agree that a lot of it is in our own heads and we need to be proud.

    I was thinking lately that a lot of it is probably how you roll it out to other people too. Like if you act all ashamed and fucked up about it people will pity you. But if you're 'Hey I'm sober' and be all bold and proud about it, well, chances are they'll envy you. Maybe even feel a little intimidated.

    Great post.

    1. Oh, thanks for the link, great post, and yes, I didn't want to be an alcoholic either, and I am sure none of us did!

      And I totally agree, the way we deliver the message matters too. Even when I say - I don't drink - the tone makes the difference in how the other person receives it. I think it's important to deliver the message that sobriety is amazing and attainable! So it definitely comes form us not being ashamed and being proud and hell yeah... Bold and loud!

      Thanks for the great comment!

  2. What a great post! i'm always surprised when i hear people say AA anonymity means we're not allowed to 'come out' as alcoholics. [i'm reminded of how Ebert was criticized for 'breaking anonymity' by writing an article about finding recovery in AA.] For me, as it says in Step 12, my mission is to achieve sobriety and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety, and if people know i'm in recovery, maybe it will encourage them to seek the same.

    Anyway, i'm with you! i spent so much of my life in fear and shame and secrecy... Having the capacity to be open and honest with people feels so good that i'm tempted to do it all the time.

    1. Hi Al, I totally agree, and I am really tired of living the double life, seriously, if to thine own self be true than I have to be one and the same. And yes, I hope that I would be able to help someone else because it is so hard to do this alone, and I am so grateful for everyone that has been and continue to be here for me and for all of us in this journey! I know that I couldn't have done it alone!

      Thanks Al!

  3. I love this. Awesome post. I have been quietly debating this whole thing too. Not to ruffle the Traditions up, and yet, not feel that I have to be secretive about it. There will be AAs who will bristle at some of this, but I don't see "coming out" as a disrespect to AA. If I am checking my motives and being right with God about this, then I am good. It doesn't mean trumpeting out to everyone, but when asked why I don't drink, I am now apt to say that I am an alcoholic. It hasn't happened lately, but been thinking about it. Food for thought. And it's inspiring to see you leading the charge!


    1. Hi, Paul, I know what you mean, yes, yes, yes, have to check the motives and make sure that my ego is in check on this one. And I am not all ready to shout it out from roof tops by all means, it's gonna be a process, but I am ready, I am ready to be one person, I ready to feel proud about being sober, and I only hope that I can pass this positive spirit onto others!

      Thanks Paul!


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