What Is Your Reason to Stay Sober?
What is your reason to stay sober? Recently I went to southern Missouri for a family reunion. We're Scot-Irish, and we drink like fish. As an alcoholic, relapse was tempting, especially when they broke out the hard root beer, but I stayed sober. As one of my relatives observed, you have to have a reason to stay sober. What is your reason to stay sober?
What Happens In Active Addiction -- No Reason to Stay Sober
I started drinking when I was in college and became an alcoholic almost immediately. I had no reason to stay sober. I did, however, have several reasons to get drunk, ranging from "it's payday," to "I need to self-medicate." The more I drank, the worse my psychiatric symptoms became. I drank myself into the police station as a suicide risk on one occasion, but justified that as "my brother is missing." An alcoholic has a nigh-infinite supply of excuses (Alcoholism Symptoms: Warning Signs of Alcoholism).
In Alcoholics Anonymous, there are two sayings about the path of active addiction. The first is "Jails, institutions, or death." The second is "Alcoholics either get sobered up, locked up, or covered up." You do not have a lot of options when you're in active addiction. You will end up either in jail or prison, in a psychiatric facility, or sober. The choice is yours.
Active addiction is progressive and deadly. Thankfully, there are many screenings you can use to determine if you might have a problem, ranging from the C.A.G.E. test (Cutting Back, Annoyed, Guilt, Eye-Opener) to the one on this site (take the Alcoholism Test). If you think you have a problem, you probably do. You have a reason to use--in fact, you probably have several reasons to use. You need to find a reason to get sober.
Finding a Reason to Stay Sober
One of my relatives told a story about a homeless man with a puppy. He'd rescued the dog from a trash can, identifying with the dog because, "People think I'm trash." He soon realized that he could either drink alcohol or buy food for his pet. He chose to get sober and buy food for his dog. The dog was his reason for staying sober.
In my active addiction, I managed to drink myself into court-ordered rehab at a state-run psychiatric facility. Abuse and neglect were common at this facility, and I was so miserable that I attempted suicide while there. When I got out, fear of getting sent back there kept me sober for three years. But fear is a poor reason to stay sober, and I relapsed for no readily apparent reason. Eventually, I discovered that I could not write while intoxicated, so I got sober so I could keep writing. Writing was my reason to stay sober. I just celebrated two-and-a-half years.
It is vital to have a reason to stay sober. It can be anything--your family, your freedom, your health, anything. You have to choose between your addiction and whatever is more important to you than that next high.
Possible Reasons to Stay Sober
There are many possible reasons to stay sober, and you have to choose the one that works for you. It can range from getting sober for your health to getting sober for your family. As we said in the Army, "If it's stupid but it works, it isn't stupid." That goes for addiction--it doesn't matter why you get sober, only that you get and stay sober.
I have several reasons to stay sober. One, I want to be there for my nephews and niece. Two, I don't want to end up in the psychiatric ward at the hospital. Three, I don't want to have a hangover or any other physical symptom of alcoholism. Four, I want to write, and alcohol is not "writer fuel." Five, I like my life the way it is now, and drinking will obliterate that. These reasons are more important than self-medication with alcohol.
What are your reasons for staying sober?
Oberg, B. (2015, October 13). What Is Your Reason to Stay Sober?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2015/10/what-is-your-reason-to-stay-sober