Happy, Happy, Happy Sober

forsythia bush - representing spring and sobriety


I work in a women’s addiction treatment center. But I don’t actually work there. You will remember photographs of my office, with the uber-chic Eames plywood side chairs (a double treat for any office because they are beautiful and sculptural but also nothing anyone would want to lounge on and chitchat for long…). I do get to Sanford House at least once a week where I host a Friday afternoon group session. In the session we read blog posts and articles, tell stories and laugh. There is usually a theme, sometimes a challenging theme like “Lying” or “Isolation” or “Sober Sex, ” but I will admit to attempting to be the comic relief. The women and I have all had a long, rigorous week, it’s Friday afternoon and I believe that laughter cures a lot of ills…


Sometimes I will come into a group session with a bunch of ideas circling my head like unruly moons. I will ask the women in the session to help me bring the thoughts together into something cohesive. Last week for example, I had a Ted Talks video on the value of relationships, several blog posts on “Addiction” and “Isolation” and the fleeting memory of Tom Hanks and his trusty volleyball “Wilson” in the movie Castaway. It all came together beautifully when we talked about the fact that addicts fall in love with an OBJECT. And that we expect the object to love us back – or at least satisfy our emotional needs.

Aren’t you DYING to join us?


At the end of my sessions, I always say, “That was really, really fun. Is it okay for me to say that?” And there is always a chorus of, “YES!”


Positive Change


So, I was thinking of what I want to do today, and it’s a gorgeous morning and I feel happy. Happy, happy, happy sober – so I am going to get all inspirational, exclamation pointy and drag out every article and blog I have written about the JOY of being sober and I am going to fire up the group like Tony, bloody Robbins (I am obsessed with him by the way…).


And I was thinking about the fact that I only see the Sanford House residents once a week, so I am the person who, like their family members, see the culmination of the gradual changes in them that are perhaps transparent to those who see them every day. And they look fantastic! Hair and skin and eyes and minds all bright and clear… even after only a couple of weeks.


Positive change is often so gradual that it’s difficult to notice it, while the damage done in just one night of drinking or using can be catastrophic. I am here to tell you that the positives of sobriety, the cumulative effect is like a beautiful, energizing spring morning after a long winter (told you I was going to get inspirational!). I am not suggesting we forget how we got to this point. Just that where we are now, is bigger somehow, more vibrant than the season that came before….


Today I’m not drinking because I want to be like Tony Robbins! (He doesn’t drink does he?)



How come you’re not drinking?