It’s no surprise to most people when I tell them I don’t drink.
Whether they’ve seen me out of control in the past or have read my articles, I am finally open about being sober these days- and that’s a breath of fresh air.
I’ve made mistakes, though.
There have been many relapses (or “slips,” as some may say) since deciding to get sober in 2011, including a full two and a half years where I went back to drinking consistently. I damaged relationships and racked up many, many new stories during that period of time, yet I learned a lot about myself- and what I do and don’t want out of life.
I went back to drinking several times while living in Boston, racked up even more stories, and learned that a structured recovery program gives me more anxiety than it does comfort and strength. Although community helps many people, I am more of a one-on-one type of person. I believe in therapy, working on yourself, and taking responsibility for your actions.
This may be controversial, but this is my truth:
I don’t want or need entities or other people to determine the quality of my sobriety.
I’m the only one who has to determine what is best for my life- and I want people to judge who I am based on my character, not my sobriety date.
I have a serious issue with groups who judge or push others to open up about things to they don’t want to. There is no “one size fits all” method for anything in life, and putting down the booze is no different. I have put so much pressure on myself over the years and have had immense anxiety about what other people think of me- but I am done with that.
I’m honest with my family, good friends, and even strangers online- and that works for me.
There are several friends of mine who aren’t “in recovery” who have told me the same thing- that I don’t have anything to prove to anyone but myself. “You don’t drink now,” two of them said. “That’s all you need to say.”
Below is something my friend of 22 years texted me yesterday:
It’s also no one else’s business if I am on a prescription, if someone has Medical Assisted Treatment, or what “date” someone put down the drink.
It’s my life, not theirs.
People have the option to do what works for them. For me, it’s connecting with people who are healthy and aligned with my spirit. It’s nature, writing, and self discovery. It’s mediation and mindfulness. It’s been open and honest about who I am and what I stand for. It’s living in my truth, and living a spiritual life of reflection and growth.
I hope my own journey can inspire someone who go on their own journey, no matter what way it may lead.
Never let anyone make you feel bad about choosing your path- you know what’s in your heart and in your soul.