No “Buts” About It – The 6 Things I Love About Sobriety

No one has ever accused me of being too giddy. So, it is unlikely you will hear me tell you I love being sober without adding the “but”. I don’t know why I feel the need to do this. Waking Up the Ghost is a sobriety blog, after all. Why can’t I just post photos of me grinning on hilltops, crowing about the wonders of my “new life” and shut up about the dangerous things I keep locked in a shed in the back yard? The sharp objects I’ve collected are buried beneath a smelly tarp in a corner and may never see your light of day.

Selling the “unique fixer-upper” of sobriety…

It’s like selling a beautiful house. My daughter Lauren is a realtor, so I know what I’m talking about. You make sure your clients see the skylight and the Italianate garden, help them imagine themselves star gazing and pruning privets, and disclose those things that are wrong with the joint, in the best possible light.

You don’t say, “Oh, by the way, the owner’s shed will be cleaned out before you move in, but right now, under the deflated tent in the corner you will find a hatchet. And it looks like there’s blood on it…”


The 6 Things I Love (without a “but”) About Sobriety…

1.  Morning

I wake up. Stretch or yawn or do that Pilates “rollup” I can perform like a champ. I do not look at my phone with dread, run a tongue over my teeth to make sure they are intact or wonder if I am alone. And I do not look for blood on the sheets. The previous night comes back, without a trace of fear or confusion.

2. Which Brings Me to Memory

My children used to say, “Mom! Remember?” in the most pointed way. They would be talking about a conversation we’d had or something I had promised or a milestone that was important to them. And I never remembered anything. So I’d fake it. Like some carnival fortune teller, I’d watch their faces for a sign I was on the right track. I remember everything now and my brain is bigger and better than ever.

3. Which Brings Me to Truth

A wise person once said, “No one is smart enough to lie.” Alcohol makes pathological liars of us all. We lie to protect our addiction and to cover our bad behavior. We lie to explain our lies. And because we operate on “addled” most of the time, we forget what we lied about in the first place. It is difficult to explain the half-filled wine bottle tucked in the deep pocket of a winter coat. Especially when you don’t remember hiding it there…

4. Good Health

There is great joy in realizing that some of the unhealthiness I experienced in past, was the result of being continuously, legally impaired.  These days, I have ZERO hangovers, panic attacks, heart palpitations, weird auras or queasiness. I have an appetite. I have timely bodily functions (if you get my drift). Yay.

5. Hair, Nails, Eyes

If you don’t believe me, that sobriety makes you more attractive, go back and look at photos of yourself when you were drunk.

6. Making Decisions like an ADULT

Most of my old drinking stories began with the words, “I ended up…” as if I were blown in on some ill wind, not responsible for my actions. The devil made me do it I couldn’t  help myself. And the ever popular, OOOPS, my bad? And because I did not take responsibility for my actions, I was also unrepentant. Not a good combination. Now that I’ve been sober a while, my actions are more deliberate. I probably won’t be the one dancing on a table, but if I am, it will be done with aforethought. Afterwards I will be appropriately responsible (and embarrassed).

See? No “buts” about it. I don’t even feel like sneaking in a caveat or a postscript.  I’ll end here and just say to you, what I said at the end of my group session on Friday:

“Sober is an excellent way to be. I highly recommend it.”

Today I’m not drinking because, no “buts” about it, sobriety is great…

How come you’re not drinking?