‘block of fake pumice shaped just like a penis’ was the first line of Captain Kirk’s personalised rendition of ‘These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things’.

hello! and welcome back to part 2 of the Star Trek posts, people!

so, what are a few of my favourite things about sobriety?

firstly, sobriety is my shield.

I first blogged that I consider sobriety as my shield about eleven months ago. and I think that is still its primary function, for me.


when I see it as a shield, I think of one of these Saxon shields, a circular shield with a central boss. the point of these shields is that when used in a shield wall, as above, it can protect not only the holder but those alongside. we are stronger when we are together. I protect you, and you protect me.

my first inkling that sobriety could be protective came on day 8 of my sobriety. I still have the notebook from those early days and on that day it says:

Amy – ‘Forever makes me safe.’

which is taken from a really wonderful post of Amy’s from (bloody hell!) September 2013. I remember the feeling of huge relief I had when I read these particular words:

‘It could be totally OK to wrap yourself in the security blanket of never again.’

which just shows you should be careful what you write on your blog – you might just change someone’s life and they will keep quoting it back at you for years 😉

and forever is a mighty long time. the idea of forever might not suit everybody. take it if it does, leave it if it doesn’t.  but safe…. there’s a good word.

how does sobriety makes me safe sound to you?

in day to day life (with the sad exception of certain self-destructive behaviours in my past) I am generally a highly risk-averse person, as my choices for example of career or even clothing would testify. security and safety are very important to me.

being sober gives me the absolute certainty that no-one or nothing, including myself, can ever be damaged by my drinking, ever again. that is immensely valuable to me. I don’t often share my drinking war stories here – partly out of fear, I think, in case someone I know in real life finds this blog. also, as Paul said on an episode of Since Right Now, it’s like telling a room full of used car salesmen about how to drive a car – all of us here know how to drive the car.

but primarily because, after the first few months, I found looking at negative experiences in my past demotivating – I would rather look forward. but just because I don’t share those stories, doesn’t mean I don’t have them. and I really, really don’t want any more.

secondly, sobriety is my keel.

The Oseberg Ship: a Viking ship discovered in a burial mound in Oseberg, Norway.

the keel of a ship is that part which projects downwards into the water. it holds the ballast that keeps the boat upright. its invention was a breakthrough for Scandinavian seagoing marauders. according to the website of one Viking museum, it is thanks to the keel that the Vikings were so superior at sea, because their vessels could be built more broadly, and could be sailed as well as rowed.

the keel keeps a ship stable, enables it to right itself. without it, any mast raised would just cause a ship to capsize. with it, a vessel can be steered, and can use the power of the wind to move forwards, even sailing into the face of the oncoming wind.

without the stability provided by my sobriety, I am at risk in the high seas of life. but not only does it provide stability, it also helps propel me forward. the sails do the visible work, but my sober keel acts in the same way in the water, invisibly moving me along, like a wing flying beneath me.

so, I am safe, and stable, and being propelled onwards. but how do I know I am making the right choices in my journey?

lastly, sobriety can be my touchstone.

here’s my favourite image for this – a very tactile piece by Antony Gormley. wouldn’t you just like to pick that up and keep it in your pocket?

a touchstone was originally a hard black stone, used to test the quality of an unknown alloy of gold or silver by examining the colour of streaks that it left on the stone.

in many ways I consider my sobriety to be an example of the finest behaviour of which I am capable. I love the words of Brene Brown when she says (in Daring Greatly):

‘We will practice courage in our family by showing up, letting ourselves be seen, and honouring vulnerability.’

if that is how one defines courage, then sobriety meets all those criteria in spades.

so if I am in a scenario where I am uncertain as to my best next step, then comparing it to the touchstone of my sobriety can show me the way forward.

for example a few days ago I was feeling hurt by some remarks made by an acquaintance. one of those people who know exactly where your most vulnerable point is, and how to stick a pointed remark into it whilst you stand there gaping and thinking afterwards of all the things you should have said.

and I had several options, including:

  • telling myself, “Oh, that’s just Catbumface, you know what she’s like!” but letting the kernel of shame fester
  • saying to Mr P, “You’ll never guess what Catbumface just said to me!” and letting him hold the grudge for me (he’s even better at that than I am)
  • letting myself be cross and hurt for a short time then getting over myself WHILST determining to protect myself better from this toxic individual in future. which is what (I hope) my best sober self would do.

oh and calling her rude names on an anonymous blog helps too, obv 😉

I’m not quite sure how this ‘Wither sobriety?’ post turned into something more like a Key Stage 2 history syllabus?! I blame the team at Horrible Histories… so in the words of their Viking soft rock classic:

sobriety makes me feel as if I’m going home….. whoah-whoah-whoah……