Marking 3 Years of Sober Bliss…

My husband used to enumerate at cocktail parties, the number of years of “wedded bliss” we had endured. With his English accent and studied, straight face it was obvious he was being ironic. We had some great times, but it was not all familial rapture: no marriage is without its ups and downs.

I was never offended by his little, theatrical claim. Ever practical when it comes to the murky territory of “feelings”, and our relationship was difficult at times. This little vignette sprang to mind, because it is my 3 year sober anniversary today and for some reason, my ex’s witticism seemed apt.

Now that I have what can be legitimately described as “a few” sober years under my belt, I do not feel as keen on celebrating the milestone as I have in previous years. In fact my desire to laud myself seems to wane in relation to years gone past. I feel more like standing in someone’s kitchen with a glass of gassy water in a wine glass and saying, “Yup. Three years of sober bliss…” I think anyone who’s been on the wagon for a few years will get what I mean and smile knowingly.

The Dips and Flow of a Wave…

I often describe my recovery by using my hand to form the dips and flow of a wave. Sobriety has not been easy for me. I am still waiting patiently for the pink cloud to appear. There’s no craving for wine anymore, and do not want a drink, but I am occasionally surprised that after all I’ve been through, I am not wildly happy as a person in long term recovery.

Don’t get me wrong, I certainly have my moments of great joy. Quitting drinking saved my life. I am a recovery advocate! But I also feel angry sometimes, and sometimes defeated. I still find it difficult to be at parties where people drink – not because I am craving, but because I run out of things to say. There are days when my sobriety feels a bit like drudgery.The normalcy of it is even boring.

There used to be a guy in a dissipated pontoon boat, next to our slip on the dock at Beach Marina. He would get up on a beautiful Florida morning, step over his bow rail with a toiletries bag in his hand and pause for our benefit. He would look up at the sky and say with perfect irony, “Another day in hell.”

You’ve Got to Roll Up Your Sleeves

You can’t be properly sardonic without having rolled up your sleeves and experienced all aspects of a situation. There is no way I could have made light of sobriety in the first months. I do not think my husband would have had the same effect at neighborhood events had we been newlyweds. The guy on the boat was down on his luck, but he lived on a boat in Florida. In all these examples, it’s the long term commitment to living this crazy life that makes the sarcasm funny.

And that is what I want to get across to myself today. On this august anniversary. No life is without its ups and downs. That after all those years of anesthetizing – of softening the slings and arrows – I am living. This is living. In all its mundane glory.

And isn’t it grand? Isn’t it bliss?

Today I’m not drinking because I am three years sober today.

How come you’re not drinking?