when I was perhaps six months prior to my sobriety date, I was at a stage where life was a party that had stopped being any fun whatsoever. and one day a thought gatecrashed that party, which was this:
“Primrose, if you can’t moderate, then you’ll HAVE to stop drinking completely.”
which terrified me. because that felt like death, to me. and as I continued to not manage to moderate, the question started to come into my head – how will I know when that point has arrived?
what would stop me drinking?
and having mulled it over, one thought that sprung to mind was this:
I would stop drinking if I was driving under the influence of alcohol, and a person died as a result.
that was my touchstone – which horrified me, intensely. did someone have to die to ‘prove’ that I was drinking too much? who would that person be? a stranger? a child? me? one of my own children? is that really what it would take?
because make no bones about it, no-one who has ever died from alcohol related causes, or killed someone else when under its influence, ever signed up for that. there is no piece of paper, no contract, no 28 day cooling off period. it just bloody, tragically, world-shatteringly, happens. which means there is no reason why it couldn’t happen to me, or to you, if we continue to drink.
which brings me to my first power of yet, which is when we add it as a suffix to all the reasons why we are ok to keep drinking. I heard this one on the Bubble Hour and it’s well known in recovery circles, I think. for example..
‘I haven’t had a DUI….yet.”
‘I haven’t lost my job….yet.”
‘I haven’t lost my marriage, and my children…. yet.”
those are all the lower floors on the elevator. which we may not have reached…. yet. and if you are reading this and have reached those particular floors, then I am sure you will be all too painfully aware of where the elevator is going next.
my decision was to not wait until that happened. my decision was to pre-empt that tragedy, for which I am profoundly grateful, every day.
and that’s a fear spur, to not drink. and that may make you rebellious and resentful, and more in need of the temporary emotional broom-cupboard that alcohol provides.
so if that’s the case… bah, ignore me. but the other power of ‘yet’ is more positive. it’s when we use it as a suffix for all the things we think we can’t do.
“I can’t go to a wedding sober….yet.”
“I can’t do Christmas sober… yet.”
“I can’t deal with all my other problems sober… yet.”
because what we really mean when we use those justifications is
“I can’t easily xyz sober… yet.”
as the Bubble Hour ladies again would say – is that even true? possibly, yes. but you will be able to, because after you get sober, you will evolve into the sort of person who can. I am 20 months sober and dealing with life’s challenges every day, stone cold sober. which is fucking amazing, to be honest. and I didn’t believe I would be able to – but I am learning, every day. and so can you.
as Crazy Horse never said* – “Today is a good day to be sober!”
so have seconds, even thirds if you like, of ‘yet’ – and go forth, my sober tribe! and be sober! Prim xx
post edited to add: because it’s Friday and you deserve a treat… go and meet this wonderful blogger at thebeerportal. she’s on day 39, and entirely awesome, as is her very newly sober husband.