Tuesday, January 3, 2012

“What’s the use of staying sober?”

Do I sometimes wonder; “What’s the use of staying sober?”

Sue de Bruyn a good friend asked me this question today. And it seems it one of those questions we know the answers to and even know we knew the question was there somewhere, but never really considered exactly what the answer would be unless the question is physically asked.

In the beginning of my sobriety this question haunted me probably every waking moment of every waking day. However as time went by I think there is somewhere in every drunks sobriety a fine line in time. A line where the idea of alcohol and planning your life around it, and being constantly conscious of the need for it is crossed in sobriety. It has certainly been for me a line that I was not consciously aware of crossing until I was confronted with this question. It was then that I realized within myself. How I used to be and how I am now with regards to that constant awareness of alcohol and the need for it that needs to be suppressed.

Looking back on the year of 2011 I can honestly say that every single reason to drink again was represented to me by life.

Things ranging from deaths of close friends, a struggling business, having to let go of people that has been loyal to me because of the necessity of cutting down on expenses due to a divorce, a wife that has had an affair before and disguised a second one with blaming me for everything that has gone wrong in her life while separating from me without having the decency to ask for a divorce. But rather chose to pursue a second relationship without honesty. Honesty that I had given her when I felt that need.

Those are but a few things, and if I had to start listing the individual events, it would most certainly take me along the route of considering drinking again, as has happened on numerous occasions.

However I think that line that gets crossed of being constantly aware of a craving or need for a drink becoming less prominent leads to another line, one where we become aware of the things we have gained by staying sober. And for me the value in my darkest hour of sobriety far surpasses the state of my life in its best hour while drinking.

Thinking back on a chaotic life where there was no direction no plan and no real friendship or relationship worthwhile and comparing that to what I have found in sobriety makes the choice so glaringly obvious that the action of drinking would equal having healthy legs amputated.

I have gained three years of a sexual relationship with my wife, as well as a relationship as a whole. I have also lost her through choices of both my own and hers but the time she gave me still remains precious. And that I still value daily.

I have gained a life shared with my son, one that was marred by drinking every day, the lack of respect from others because I was present but absent. And I managed to turn that around in sobriety. Becoming a man he can look up to because I am not constantly under the influence.

I went back to exercising, I lost my massive stomach (23 kg so far) and go to gym, because the drinking time is now gym time. This gave me an ability to do physical activities with my son that I would never have been able to while drinking.
I can go swimming with him sober and not drunk and incapable of looking after myself never mind a 5 year old.

My now separated wife agreed to joint custody. A trust I would never have deserved or gotten in a drinking life.

 The business decisions I make I can make with confidence and without regret.

I have gained a state of financial independence, I am not rich and there are still months that are rough. But I can manage to stay credit worthy. Pay my bills and even buy my kid a present every now and again. Even though I am now paying for a household on my own that used to be supported by a substantial second income. I am surviving, something that would not have happened while I was drinking.

Sobriety have given me so much that the days when I ask myself whether there is use in staying sober I only have to look at what I have gained in sobriety to prevent myself from amputating my legs while they are healthy and functioning. 

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