Sobriety

Friday, August 12, 2016


There are a lot of things that happen in life that are out of our individual control. On the other hand, life is also made up of many choices. In August 2013, I made a difficult choice (cold turkey)... and I haven't looked back since. 

I CHOSE SOBRIETY. 

Now, don't go feeling bad for me, thinking that I no longer have fun or know how to enjoy life. That is, in my opinion, the biggest misconception about sobriety. Trust me when I tell you--in addition to deciding to become a parent and having my son; marrying my husband; and attending Penn State and law school; it was one of the best decisions of my life. 

It wasn't an easy decision but it was necessary and doing what's necessary is very often difficult. Though brought on by negativity, I made the conscious decision to turn sobriety into a positive life event. After all, it has taught me so much. 

I know how to be a leader. Before, I'd join the crowd in slinging drinks back. I'd try keeping up, only to (very often) surpass all others. I was a follower and in doing so, I'd embarrass myself and sometimes those around me. I'd get into unwarranted arguments. I'd disappointed myself and loved ones. Most times, I wouldn't remember a thing after a certain point. (I thought that was pretty standard, that everyone "blacked out" almost every time they drank. I've since learned it is not nor is it safe.) Now, I do my own thing, along with Tim if he's with me since he's also been sober since August 2014! I follow my own healthy, happy lead and I have fun doing so. I am not ashamed of being sober (though, admittedly, I used to shy away from divulging that I am) -- I am proud to be. 

I used to think (mostly in college) that I needed to drink to have fun. I'd even judge others who didn't drink or drank very little. As an adult, I've come to the responsible realization that I don't need alcohol to have fun. In fact, I enjoy my time more now. I can dance to my favorite song and still feel on top of the world. I can have a great night out with friends and make memories that I'll remember forever. 

Choosing not to drink alcohol is a decision I make whenever I am confronted with it, which is often. I am an expert at exercising self control in this aspect. Whenever I am out to eat and I am told of the drink specials, I choose to pass them up. Whenever I go out to bars or clubs, I choose to drink water or soda. Whenever I think about pre-sober me having a glass of wine following an exhausting day, I choose to indulge in coffee instead. 

I now know how to live my best life. I have much fewer apologies--neither to myself nor others--to make. I am safer and can take care of myself. I do not have to rely on others to make sure I get home, to keep "creeps" away, to make sure I don't fall and hit my head, to carry me. Now, I can rely on myself and that feels so good and so liberatingI live a much healthier lifestyle, void of excruciating hangover headaches and episodes of dry heaving. I can wake up early after a night out and do house work, watch the sunrise or go for a run. Simply waking up early and energized after a night out feels amazing in itself. I certainly don't take it for granted. 

If given the chance to go back in time and have life pan out differently, I'm not sure I would want to. I truly believe God brought me through the tough times to teach me how to love myself and my loved ones better... and to get me sober. 

These days, I celebrate my life. I no longer resent the reasons I am sober; I am actually grateful for the journey that brought me here. I always knew I would have to cut back on or eliminate my alcohol intake and thought it'd probably happen when I had kids. I thank God it happened much sooner. 

After all, I have no doubt that sobriety has made me a better parent, partner, friend, lawyer, family member... and person.


*If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol abuse, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Hotline at 1-800-662-HELP; or speak with a therapist or people whom you trust. It's okay to ask for help --even the strongest people need it sometimes. 

3 comments :

  1. I love that you shared this! You are an amazing person!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post, Jackie! You are an excellent role model, especially for others in your profession! I know how stressful it can be.

    ReplyDelete

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