The statistics speak for themselves; according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health 88,000 people die from alcohol related causes annually, making Alcohol the fourth leading cause of death in the United States alone. As a culture, we seem to underplay the pervasiveness of people who suffer or die from alcohol related accidents every single year. The uncanny part of this equation, is that social drinking is looked upon as the ultimate way to enjoy yourself, kick back relax, and have some fun!
Summer time can be notorious for the culture of drinking and general overindulgence. Everywhere we turn, it seems to be there. A simple lunch on the patio, barbeque get togethers, weekend getaways and not to mention vacations, are all within a backdrop of a drinking culture, as the ultimate way to treat yourself.
We seem to equate ‘excess’ with treating ourselves. But, can we simply enjoy the moment being presented to us without being intoxicated? For those of us in recovery, we simply have no choice. It may not have started out as an option for us, but the commitment to stay is ours entirely.
Usually being around parties and bars where people can be indulgent does not normally bother me. What I can find challenging at times in sobriety, is having little choice of healthier options such as Komboucha, greens and exotic mocktails. It can sometimes feel limiting, and the feelings of scarcity start to rise.
Like come on, how much Perrier and lemon can one drink?
Why does the freaking world feel that people need to be infused with alcohol constantly to have a good time? Can we not be in the present moment without a fix, a distraction or any mechanism that will make us forget who we are? What is wrong with our society that we are the freaks, if we choose to live happy and healthier lifestyles with a commitment to sobriety?
Drinking is so pervasive in today’s culture, so much so, that if you don’t drink you may be looked upon strangely, sometimes resulting in feelings of separateness and inadequacy. Perhaps you may have felt belittled for your choice, when it is one that truly deserves applause?
It can be lonely not conforming to what is typical and against the popular norm.
Making a commitment to yourself and being comfortable with your choice is the ultimate gift you can give yourself.
I entered Recovery in 1993. Sobriety, for me has never been quite so clear and simple. Relapse has been part of my recovery process over the years, but it doesn’t have to be a part of your story.
It took many years before I could understand that it was my ‘thinking’ I had to harness, in addition to my using susbtances. Being mindful and present in every moment, is learning how to
live life on life’s terms without having to change the way we feel. It is one of the many gifts of sobriety.
I have been someone who has been on both sides of the fence with this equation, with occasional social drinking after years of abstinence thinking maybe I have my substance issues beat. Waffling between my sobriety and wanting to ‘fit in’ or just feeling like I will approve of myself more, even if it is artificially induced.
Suddenly, I feel more confident in every aspect of my life; smarter, prettier, slimmer, to name just a few of the attributes that being mildly intoxicated can do for you (albeit temporary). Historically I have found it is easier to approve of myself with the addiction of “liquid courage.” But, there is also a down side to this equation; the remorse or regret on the other side, when I know in my heart that the real courage is when I don’t need to take anything to enhance my feelings, and the strength comes from standing firm in my decision and my truth.
Experience has shown me that everything is in motion, our thoughts, feelings, and moods which ebb and flow with the natural rhythm of life. I don’t need to react to everything that I may feel and have learned to press pause, and process what is coming up for me, knowing that to lean in is the only way through.
Nothing feels more empowering and intoxicating then being high on life. Committing to a life of sobirety is a sign of strength, not weakness, because the ultimate commitment is you have chosen you and your health, and set yourself up for the best life ever!
To know that you can enjoy the present moment without having to take it any higher, is the only moment that matters, nothing else!