As per what I learned during the time I spent in the rooms of AA, I cannot say that tomorrow will mark my three year anniversary of sobriety; rather, I have to say that, if it’s the Lord’s will that things happen the way I want them to happen, I’ll celebrate three years of sobriety. I’m not allowed to count the chickens of the next few hours. What I can say right now is that I’ve gone two years and 364 days sober.
Back when I was still drinking, back when a period as long as two weeks was worthy of celebration, if I would have had to imagine what three years of sobriety would be like, I’m sure I would have foreseen more blissful potential than three years of sobriety actually is. You see, for the addict or alcoholic in recovery, sober living is no easier than living for anyone else. I think I had the notion that living a sober life would afford me with lots more happiness than that of the boozing life, but that really isn’t the case. The case actually is that there is a lot less sadness. That’s a great thing, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that life is a less stressful ride than it is.
Life is difficult and stressful for anyone who is upwardly mobile and striving for a better life. We just manage the stress and hardship better once we get sober.
For those of you who have not had to live through such an addiction, this may not seem worth the mention; however, anyone who might read this, and who may still be trying to get over the hump that leads to the sober life, should find it worth every letter. We put our potential sobriety on such a tall pedestal when we’re in need of recovery. Surely, we think, if we could just make it over that hump and get our new life off to a running start, all of our cares would cease to exist. To a point, this is true. Many of the cares that we have in that life do cease to exist when we get sober. The thing is, the thing that we can’t foresee from that perspective, is that those cares are only going to be replaced with new ones.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to make you think that my life is not happier these days than it was when I was still drinking, because it is. It’s not as happy as I thought it be, however. “Happy” may be the wrong word; “carefree” might be better. In the throes of our abuse, we do imagine that a life of recovery would come without stress and problems. It just isn’t the case, however; the life that awaits us in recovery is just as difficult to navigate as the life we have in our lives of abuse, we just deal with the stress and problems better.
Failure to realize that life is going to continue to be stressful and difficult in our sober lives is one reason for recidivism. We’re just so certain that if we can get sober, all of our cares will be behind us. Then, when we have a bit of success and life doesn’t turn us into bubbly and blissful fools, we get disillusioned.
If this is your path, and you get to that point, don’t lose heart. Keep plugging and get through those growing stages. Believe me, this life I live is not without its stressors and problems, but I wouldn’t take anything to trade it for the life I used to live. I thank God all day, every day, for helping me get to this point, and you’ll do the same when you get here too.