18 Months

As of September 24th, I’ve been sober 18 months. I was hoping to do some sort of retrospective letter to my newly sober self, a la Off-Dry, but I’m feeling too disorganized for that. Maybe I’ll try again when I have two years. For now, here are some quick, sobriety-related developments :

  1. My guy and I got engaged. A year and a half ago, I didn’t quite believe this would ever happen. I wanted it to happen, but it seemed like there were all these big obstacles standing in our way. Turns out, the only real obstacle was me being an active alcoholic! Stay tuned for updates on being a sober bride.
  2. I still go to AA but am feeling less dependent on it. I also switched sponsors. I could write a long, emotional entry about my current feelings around AA, but it seems like I’m in a transitional period of some sort, so I’ll wait until things settle down. I’m interested in hearing from others, though–how has your relationship with AA changed throughout your recovery? Or if AA isn’t a part of your recovery, what do you do instead?
  3. I rarely crave alcohol anymore. When I’m hungry or tired, I’ll sometimes have some nostalgic feelings around getting buzzed, but for the most part, I have no desire to actually drink. I’m even sober in my dreams. Well, almost. I had a dream where I was hanging out with Mary Kate Olsen and told her I didn’t drink, but then I asked if she had any coke. So not totally there, but further along than when I was dreaming on a weekly basis that I was still secretly drinking.
  4. I’m on Twitter. When I was drinking, I had to essentially ban myself from social media because I kept doing dumb, drunk shit. But now that I can trust myself not to black out and post incoherent rants about Occupy Wall Street, I’m trying it out again. My other problem with social media is that it tends to trigger my addictive impulses (surprise!). I’m trying not to be too hard on myself around this. I consider myself openly sober online, meaning I don’t want to hide my sobriety. But I did remove an article I wrote for The Fix from my website after an old student started following me on Twitter. It was probably good to realize that I can’t keep my teaching and writing selves TOTALLY separate, as I would like. But while I don’t want my students to know all the dark details of my alcoholic past, I don’t see any reason to hide the fact that I’m sober.
  5. What’s new in your sober life? Or not sober life? I’m trying to catch up on my reading backlog but fear it’s overtaking me . . .
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7 thoughts on “18 Months

  1. Great post and congratulations on your 18 months!

    Over the past 30 years I have gone to AA every day and have gone 5 years without attending a single meeting. I have not had a formal “sponsor” in some 25 years. Most recently, I attended 1 – 3 meetings per week for the last 7 or 8 years, but for the past year I have not gone to a single meeting. Why?

    I have come to see AA as a single tool in my recovery kit. I could not tell you what really has been the biggest influence on my last year of non-attendance. I know that I started blogging quite a bit more. I have several individuals I have been in regular relationship with around recovery issues – and in part, the regular meeting I attended most recently – well, I felt I had heard everything everyone had to say a bunch of times over and over . . .

    But what has been absolutely critical in my recovery is that I am aware and act on a daily basis that I am a recovering addict and that I do something about it, and recognize that my actions and behaviors are impacted by both my active addiction of the past and my current recovery.

    Most importantly, I can say today that “I have nothing in the world to complain about that is not of my own making” and I truly believe that. If something is not going well in my existence, I know that I can make peace with it through what I have learned in recovery, or I can get back into my old behaviors, which I know will ultimately lead to relapse. I am grateful today to know that as recovery is a process, so is relapse – there is a lot of relapse behavior that goes before picking up the drink.

    In sum, I know that I will attend AA again some day on a regular or irregular basis. I am eternally grateful that for the past 30 plus years I have always found the recovery tool that was appropriate for any point in time that has allowed me to remain sober the entire time.

    And I really am finding more and more overlap between all of my various existences – was too difficult to try and keep them all straight, so I really have stopped trying.

    By the way, I really like the Mary Kate Olsen – coke visual.

    Best wishes,

    Robert

    • Thanks, Robert; this was so helpful to read. Sometimes, I feel like there’s this idea floating around AA (as I’m sure you know) that if you don’t have a sponsor or go to a certain number of meetings, relapse is inevitable. That doesn’t feel true to me or my experience, although AA has definitely been a critical tool in my recovery. It’s so nice to read others on here who have stayed sober through a variety of ways.

      And yes, I totally agree that this is key: “I’m aware and act on a daily basis that I am a recovering addict and that I do something about it, and recognize that my actions and behaviors are impacted by both my active addiction of the past and my current recovery.” Although I find that in AA, I’m finding it in other daily places, as well, including my own writing, relationships with friends in recovery, yoga, etc.

      And yes, I would so like not to compartmentalize aspects of my identity! I’m trying to strike that balance between hiding things and oversharing. As with most problems I invent for myself, the solution is probably to just be honest and do the next right thing. Thanks for sharing your experience and wisdom!

  2. Hello
    I’m 22 months sober.
    I was never a huge AA meeting attended, but I did go with my hubby occasionally. I have read the big book and worked through the 12 steps on my own.
    I never had a sponsor.
    I blog and read blogs regularly. I live yoga, both the physical and spiritual philosophy. I teach yoga, I volunteer at the local recovery centre.
    I go to therapy once a month. I take medication for depression and anxiety.

    I have an awesome life. I’m generally content and happy.

    I do whatever I can to support my self care and family care do that things are supportive and nourishing.

    And we have fun. Tattoos and vegas and concerts. Healthy food.

    Life is beautiful sober.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your experience and congrats on almost 2 years! It’s comforting to read others on here who’ve found lasting sobriety through a variety of methods. Yoga also speaks to something deep inside me, but I don’t do it often enough. Antidepressants/therapy have been a bit part of my recovery as well.

      Life IS beautiful, isn’t it.

  3. Right on. I don’t have much to add. I’m coming up on 23 years, because of a gracious God. I’ve had years of meetings 5-10 x a week, and years with maybe one meeting. In my personal experience , the 12 steps were absolutely critical in finding my way out of the sad existence that the drugs & booze had given me.
    Having recently moved across country from “my peeps”, it’s interesting to see how the meetings here vary. (Not much)
    I’ve been going to Celebrate Recovery, now, which feels like where I’m sposed to be right now.
    It sounds like you’re doing well, now. It makes continued recovery so much easier if I make sure to have frequent reminders of how it (I) was. 🙂

  4. Congratulations on getting engaged! I think what you’re feeling towards AA is normal, and as long as it isn’t affecting the nature or quality of your sobriety, a little time away or a lessened intensity isn’t always a bad thing. Much like a relationship, a break can be beneficial to sort out what’s really important and what hopes for a future moving forward. Congratulations on what is now 2 years?!

    • Thank you and sorry it’s taken me so long to reply! I just got married, and it’s been a crazy few months, but in a good way. It seems I’ve abandoned this blog since sobriety has become a more natural way of life and not something I’m thinking about constantly anymore… I really appreciate you reading and commenting!

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