When is it safe to just be ?

I spent about 30 years being a "Functional alcoholic" . I always took care of business , but my priority was when I could start drinking again . I've spent the last 3 months as a "Functional Recovering Alcoholic" . I still take care of my business , by my priority is staying sober . And I have put a lot of time and effort into that cause . So I've realized , in both scenarios , alcohol (addiction ) is still the priority in my life . Sure , 3 months sober is a good thing . And I'm very happy to be sober. But staying sober has become so important , that perhaps some other important things get pushed a little farther into the background .

So I've been asking myself recently , "When can I just be ?" Quite honestly , after 30 years , I'm not sure I even know how to "Just Be " . But I'm thinking , it has to happen at some time .

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  • @TWSJ hey you! that is a great question.

    first of all, congrats on 3 months sober. that is pretty amazing and i'm sure it feels great. it's still "early recovery" for you, so i imagine a large focus should still be on recovery.....we can so easily forget in early recovery why we're choosing the sober life, so daily focus on sobriety and growth is pretty important.... many in recovery say, recovery first, then the rest is a balancing act.

    life is a balancing act really. so many areas of it and things that are after our time...whether it's work, family, hobbies, chores, etc.....for me keeping it balanced is an art and it is a roller coaster ride at times.  

    "just be"....this is what we all want i suppose. if there is an area of two that you are not pleased with, write down ways you could put them in focus more often....  like, if it's family, make a goal and write it down and put it in a spot you can see daily. like, "i want to spend quality time with my wife this many times per week" or a hobby, "i want to fish one evening per week"

    i hope this helps...but i do believe you will over time be able to balance it all out better. :)
  • @dominica ,

    Thanks . I think I've just looked around at some things (mostly people) outside of my new "Sober Life " and realized I have put so much time and energy into fixing my problem that I ignored their problems . Frankly , using the excuse " Well at least my drinking isn't causing their un-happiness anymore '' . But with some people in my life , and I assume many here as well , they deserve and need more than my sobriety to help them along their path . And maybe , my drinking wasn't the only thing hurting them to begin with . Have I been totally blind and in-sensitive all these years ?

    And , on a lighter tone , I think you've realized that fishing is never a problem for me ! Maybe I need to give that time to the others . That might be harder than the sobriety .

  • @TWSJ... Dominica is so right. Life is one bigass balancing act. There's no doubt about it. At any given time, we all have so many things that we're juggling. And from time to time, certain things demand more attention than others. Because of that, the other things may suffer a little bit. But... Such is life. 

    I, too, would love to "just be." Unfortunately, I think we have to take that luxury in little doses as it comes. In my case, maybe that's a Saturday afternoon when all I have to do is sit and read a book on my deck. In your case, maybe that's a day spent fishing. Yes, we need to give some of our time to others. But we're also worthy humans and we deserve to give some of our time to ourselves, too. (Damn... There's that balancing thing again!)

    Life's a series of ups and downs and give and take. We do the best we can and that's the best we can do. Just remember that your recovery is incredibly important; not just to you, but to the other people in your life, too. Without your recovery, one of those things you're juggling may end up being a chainsaw. So don't feel bad for focusing on your recovery, okay? 

    I don't know if any of what I said helped. Just know that I get where you're coming from. :)
  • @DeanD ,

    Well , I make time for leisure . And I make time for work . And I make time to stay sober . I have to learn how to make time to Share the emotional experiences of my loved ones . Not just go the game , take them in the boat , cook them dinner , but truly care about what ails them . But I guess that is part of "Balance" . If you have enough people in your life , someone is always hurting . And I think I'd make a terrible hermit .  

  • Do not let yourself to be placed in a group by anyone and certainly not by yourself. I believe that you can stay sober by changing the priority and let the sobriety become your everyday thing. Something you just do without any pressure and you just go with it like when you drink water or eat. It needs practice and a strong will but you have this already I think.
  • Yep. I concur, life is an overwhelming balancing act. Is really an outstanding to keep you sober for 3 months without any help.

    Your words reminds me the famous "To be or not to be" from Shakespeare Hamlet. For me is simple, you are your current being and your future self. Not  drinking alcohol nor sobriety necessarily defines you. Most effective way to make happier the people you love is to take care of yourself to be happy in first place. Think in everything that truly makes your happy and struggle to adquire it to your own.
  • it takes a conscious decision daily to just try to stay balanced. take a few minutes and think, Hmmmm....how can i nurture myself today AND bless my loved ones? (time, love, etc.)   learning to be led by Love...and a higher power....it's a trip! but we're all learning lessons and that's great!
  • I feel like we're different people now, than we were, so many years ago, when we began drinking. Now we have to figure out WHO we are today. That takes time and some selfishness, on our end. I know it's hard to feel like we're still not living up to our loved ones' expectations of us, since we already have so much guilt for all our years of drinking, and therefore, neglecting so many of their needs. But I think this is just part of the process we MUST go through in order to figure out WHO we are NOW. I believe (and hope) that as we begin to figure that part out (with each passing day) we will become better and stronger for the ones we love. They stuck with us while we were at our shittiest and are proud of us for taking these first steps but they're also going through this with us. They're also having to learn how to relate to the "new us". I'm so glad you posted this because, like you, I've been pretty self absorbed lately, while getting a handle on this new way of existing in this world we left behind, all those years ago, when we began living as "functioning alcoholics". I'm rambling and probably haven't helped, but I appreciate your question so much, because it's one I have to try and figure out too. The nice thing is, we get to, with clear minds, learn how to become new, better versions of ourselves, now. 
  • @melfield ,

    Thanks for the thoughts , and I think you are on the right track . Since I wrote this , I've come to realize the answer to the question lies with-in the individual . I was in fact feeling very self-absorbed as you said . Spending all of my time here , trying to save others while saving myself , and not seeing what was in front of my face .

    I'm not saying hard work to stay sober is a bad thing . And we are all wired for self-preservation to the same extent that we often succumb to self-destruction . I spent 2  12 hour days Saturday and Sunday doing repetitive shop work . The repetition lent itself to a lot of free thinking time ( and sore muscles ) . But I spent that time thinking about the current state of my life , and what alcohol means then and now. I determined I've gone from being Excited about "Getting Sober " to being "Content with living sober " . Excitement wears off , but Contentment at it's purest  level should stay with us . So , I think I'm close to "Just Being ".

    I've followed your journey since the day you started and commented on some of your "Newbie" posts . I think you are doing fantastic ! Keep living the good life !

  • Hey, I'm 8 months sober now, and still wondering when can I finally let alcohol stop being the fulcrum of my life...every evening out, every concert, every dinner, I'm centering the experience on "whether or not I drank", and congratulating myself for not drinking. 

    About three weeks ago, I stopped doing that, I just enjoyed my evening, pushing away the aperitif and wine, and went home to bed without dwelling on "wow, I'm awesome, I never drank tonight, again... go me".;...; it has actually helped. I think I've had to put so much emphasis on the effort and the reward of not drinking, that I sort of have replaced drinking with self gratitude. Dangerous. We fight so hard to stay off the stuff that it becomes a focal part of our lives... and then we feel the need to cling on to that battle or that upper hand.

    By giving up the drinkn, we have let go of plenty of feelings, attachments, guilt, regret, demons we had lurking away in there, and I see this "need" to dwell on the alcohol as just another one of those things we need to let go. Have you got to the bottom of why you drank and looked at that? It's possible that until you fully let go, you'll still be governed by this central point of "whether or not you said "no" tonight".




  • @zozzie ,

    How are you doing ? It's been a bit . I've been laying a little low and working on the "Just Be " thing so to speak .

    Your last paragraph really sums it up , and asks the tough question . Yes , I've let go of all of those things . But the root of my drinking is a deeper question. The easy answer is that dad , both grandfathers , etc were alcoholics and that it was hereditary . But that's too easy . I think the real answer is even more confusing . I am a very social person who suffers from social anxiety . In other words , I love people , but I'm not comfortable with myself . The problem was , I spent so much time around other people ,the drinking carried over to alone time , and ultimately " All the time ".

    But now that I'm older , and have had a clear mind for a while . I've realized 2 things 1) I don't always need to be around large groups 2) If they don't like the sober me "Eff em " !

    Good to hear from you ! 

  • @TWSJ,
    I've been working a lot lately, and not had time to pop in, I'm very like you, in that I put my drinking down to my father being an alcoholic, and went further on, to say tha it was a social thing, it was a relaxing thing,s It was a "merit" and "reward" thing, but ultimately, there must be something else in there, because I've let go of all that, analysed it to death, and still find myself angry, nervy, confrontational, sleepless, and still patting myself on the back for not having that drink.

    i have told myself that I'll start being "normal" again once I stop dwelling on it, but to be honest, I  am not sure it's something that'll just come along, and I think I need more work before I figure out what is really bugging me, deep down inside. I have booked an appointment with the hypnotist, to work on that, starting with looking into my relationship with my mother, and see where that gets me, but there is definitely something bugging the hell out of me, it can't just be "habit" to be this wound up.

    I am still telling myself that I just have to shut up, go in a bar and drink a pineapple juice and come out and NOT EVER tell myself I did well, because that's what normal poeple do, they leave the bar and think about what's happening next.... I leave and wonder how long it'll be till I can stp "having to think about this as a problem", and it seems that the answer is up to me... maybe it stops being an issue when I stop making it one??
    Does that make sense?

  • @zozzie ,

    It makes a bunch of sense . And that  was the jest of my original thoughts when I posted this . I was feeling a bit narcissistic at the time .

    I've been working a lot also . I have a bunch of work right now , and I'm trying to focus more on that , and my family than the " I'm doing Good" . I am doing good , but there's more in life than just being sober . But sober sure does help ! 

  • Congrats on 8 months, @zozzie!! That's pretty badass! :)
  • @Dean D, thanks, mate, I am still beating myself up for congratulating myself, lol.
  • @zozzie... Be kind to yourself!! You deserve it!!! :)
  • Been working a bunch lately . Hope you are well . How's it going with not making an issue of it ? I had an interesting scenario with that yesterday .

    An old friend I had not heard from in 10 years called me yesterday out of the blue . We talked for about 30 minutes mostly about his exciting life as an artist . He then said he was coming to my town soon to paint a mural in a local restaurant and wanted to "Hang Out " . Well ......... I told him " I'd love to see you BUT .........I don't drink anymore " Why did I feel I had to WARN him ? Why does it matter ? Admittedly , every time I "Hung Out " with this guy booze and marijuana was involved .
    Well he responded " Man that's awesome ! Tomorrow is my 8 year anniversary of sobriety !" Amazing how things change with time , huh ?  We'll get there !
    Hope you are doing well !
  • Hey @TWSJ, I've gone back to full season mode with work, so I'm not on here as often, and to be honest, It's a little hypocritical of me, advising wines to people ,to go with certain dishes, and saying that "Personally, I prefer a Rhone", when I no longer drink, lol. I also had a couple of tables that were "apologetic" almost for NOT drinking, and I was only too happy to whip them up a cocktail that was alcohol free. 

    I also have this guilt trip of having to "announce" my intentions to not drink ahead of meeting with people, but I've decided to not do it anymore, meet the person, either in a restaurant, bar, or their house, and when offered a "drink", to just have something non alcoholic and make no frickin excuse for it. Why should I?
  • @TWSJ... I'm doing well, thanks. Glad to see you back here. Don't work so much!!! ;)

    @zozzie... Great idea about not making excuses about why you're not drinking! People can drink whatever they want and shouldn't have to explain it to anyone!

    Hope you both have a great day!!!
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