Anti-Sobriety Myths

At this writing, I’ve been sober 16 years.

Getting sober  takes time.

I’ve seen a few myths derail more than one person’s chance at getting sober.

One myth says: “I am sober when I stop drinking.”

Wrong. Not, somewhat wrong, or a little wrong. Wrong. Dead wrong. You’re clean, as it were, when you stop drinking, not sober.

Here’s the reality (fact) that replaces the myth. You have to stop drinking in order to get sober. Getting sober takes time. Trust me.  If you’re fortunate enough to be in your early strides of the experience, you don’t yet realize how unwell you are.

Another myth says: “I can do it alone” and yet another is some family member or loved one thinking that they can save the alcoholic-addict.

Reality says: “Not only are you wrong, but don’t you think it’s nice to find out there is at least one massive life challenge you don’t have to face alone?”

I do.

There is another unflinching fact. Being an active alcoholic results in one of three endings: jails, institutions, or death. This is fact.

One other thing, another expression I learned. You’re not allowed to kill yourself in your first three years of sobriety because you’ll be killing the wrong person.

 

 

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The Perplexity of People

People baffle me.

What makes us believe the things we do? Or, what makes us unwilling to accept the realities that confront us, even when we know (or do we?) accepting them is what we must to manage and get free of  life’s more debilitating and, at times, deadly challenges?

If you find yourself hoping this essay will offer definitive answers, forget it. Honest observations for sure, but answers? Definitive ones? Not likely. Not from this pen.

While this is not a political column, some of the more baffling aspects of people show up in their political choices. Take Sarah Palin. First, she is blatantly dishonest. She resigns as Alaska’s governor to fight for Alaska (a confusing rationale to say the least) and takes a job with Fox News. The woman comfortably lies from sea to shining sea, says God told her to run for VP (I thought he liked us!) and yet millions adore her.

Let me switch gears now, or, better put, terrain.

Why, when so many recognize their opponent, I am thinking of alcoholism or addiction, brain injuries, along with other maladies, do they not choose to accept the reality of what they are facing (acceptance does not mean giving in) so their lives will grow the level of independence they deserve?

Let’s face it, when, on some level, you choose to surrender control to an addiction, injury, eating disorder, anger management issues, or similar maladies, including the wounding components of your history, the very last thing you are is independent.

The answer to the proceeding question may revolve around the person’s belief that they do not deserve their independence and, in some cases, their life. I’ve seen cases like this end in death – real death. Not the death of an idea or the death of a dream – death – end of breathing death. And, it is wrenchingly heartbreaking.

By the way, if you manage life by using dishonesty, you lose. Dishonesty breeds carnage in all forms and on all levels.  It is moral poison.  Without question, honesty is the most powerful weapon in accepting and managing life’s challenges.

Being honest requires stepping up to the plate and taking accountability for your own life, for managing your own life. Many use dishonesty to manipulate those around them, to get others to manage their lives for them. The tragedy is, when these folks reach the end of their days, it may or may not dawn on them that they never got to live life as themselves.

I wish I had the magical gift to help people recognize and believe, or dare to believe, that they are now and always have been valuable and worthwhile. That their independence rests in their willingness to accept and manage their own lives.

Independence is a state of mind, not a physical condition or physical level of functioning.

I’ve known and  know people resistant to taking medication or going to psychotherapy because they mistakenly believe if they do they are not handling things independently. Were that misguided belief accurate, then it has been many years since I’ve read a book independently because I wear glasses.

Wearing glasses is independence because by wearing them I am controlling the poor vision rather than allowing it to control me (and, by the way, rob me of my favorite pastime, reading). Taking medication or going to therapy or get free of some of wounds or abuse you suffered in your history is independence. Why? Because you are taking charge and you are managing your life, not the ailment or your history.

Now I am going to get some sleep. That would be me managing my fatigue, being independent, if you get my drift.