[Sober Living] Five Years Sober

Today marks five years since I last drank. I’ve since been in many bars, been around many people drinking, but have had good enough friends to respect me, and steward me through. “If I saw you with a bottle in your hand, I’d knock it out and ask ‘what the hell are you doing?’[1]” My external resilience has enough fortitude to endure pretty much anything now. I think it’s the internal weakness that kills us.

That sense that life is too overwhelming…

That sense of needing to escape. Most escape because they’re just a little stressed out from work or for fun. Drinking for me is always that survivalist escape route from the pains of dealing with an unfiltered reality that, honestly, isn’t all that bad after I let that moment of intense suffering pass.

Usually.

When it gets deeper, it hurts more. It’s not just a nihilistic escape from that which temporarily binds me to suffering. In those moments of my greatest potential moments of weakness, where I’d be unable to safely be in a bar, is when I feel like my life is backed into a corner, trapped, and the lights are coming down.

I’m already being killed on the inside.

Those intense moments I occasionally get when I’m dealing with what may seem like benign hardships. Stuff that’s silly when you externalize it. In that moment, though, it’s a weight so terrible that breaking sobriety to escape seems like the best possible option. I got enough of a taste where I’ll always know that option.

Being drunk is engraved into my psyche.

Because here’s the thing I haven’t told anyone yet: it took me over four months to get to my sobriety date of March 29th 2013. I thought I could handle moderation. I told one cashier I hadn’t drank in a while. “Oh, my sister hasn’t drank for a while, either.[2]” Not that she should have refused to sell that bottle to me.

I just didn’t really know the influence inebriation had over my life.

It was the substance to make any pain go away. Bad day at work? Have a glass or three and eventually enjoy that comfortable dizziness. Recollections of work would fade. Anything I didn’t feel like dealing with could be ignored for that evening and it likely wouldn’t need to be addressed the next day.

It’s a little different now.

I take full responsibility for my actions. It permeates into the smaller details as well. When I am late for an appointment with someone, it’s not because of traffic, it’s because of poor planning on my part. It’s not that I’m some holier person now, or that people that indulge can’t act similarly. I just drank to avoid responsibility.

Now I face it head on.

If you can drink while still fulfilling your obligations, I’m happy for you. I can’t. If you can’t respect that difference, go away. There will be nothing but conflict between us.

Otherwise, ‘here’s to another five more,’ right?

Sources: My life.

Quotes: [1] IDKFA. [2] Cashier.

Inspirations: My sobriety date.

Related: “Four Years Sober” and this whole category.

Picture: Just a stylized pixel art calendar.

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Author: Zombiepaper (Anthony)

My big goal is to write. My important goal is to write "The Story." My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame a fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. Let's strive to be better everyday. (Avatar)

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