Is Sobriety a Gift or an Albatross?

To Thine Own Self Be Tru Unity Service Recovery XXIIIRecently I came across a video, boasting the health benefits from eating fermented vegetation, a euphemism for rotten veggies. For 20 minutes I watch some skinny gal shred buckets of cabbage, carrots, golden beets, and celery, pressing  the compost-like mixture  into Mason jars. sobriety

As she’s twisting the lids onto the jars, I wise up. sobriety

          “Wait, I’m not eating that!”

Not ready to give up, I think up an alternative I can stomach… sauerkraut. I like it, sort of.  Next, I turn to google, searching for a home-cured recipe. As I scroll through dozens of choices, I remember my husband’s remarks the last time I ate sauerkraut. sobriety

            “Oh, (gag), that’s nasty stuff. Can’t you eat that outside?”

Next, a perfectly timed pop-up ad appeared on my screen. It happened to be a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon (my old favorite), with flashing red font, claiming the same heart-healthy benefits as rotten veggies. This should be an easy choice. I mean come on… a bowl of sauerkraut or a glass of Sauvignon? sobrietyglass of red wine

Right?

Problem is, next month I will celebrate 24 years of sobriety. That makes choosing a tad more difficult. The big picture question becomes two-fold:

            Part 1: Could I have a single glass of wine every day?

And  …

          Part 2:  What size glass are we talking about?

Seriously, after more than two decades abstaining from alcohol, I can’t help wondering if the alcoholic label has expired.  After all, I’m a new person. The loud mouth woman, slurring words and falling down is behind me. sobriety

Or is she? sobriety

What if she’s lurking in my soul, smacking her dry lips, day dreaming of a 36-ounce tumbler of Cabernet Sauvignon?

Frankly, I believe God put my old self on a bus, out of my heart, years ago. With caution, I confess, I don’t think having a single glass of wine would cause me a problem today. I’m not certain I want just one glass, but with God in my life, I believe it’s possible.

So, why would I choose sauerkraut over red wine?

For starters, gratitude. Sobriety is the gift that keeps on giving. Why would I stand in the return/exchange line for a refund? I certainly don’t want back what I paid for it. That’s a scary thought.

“Here you go, ma’am… 24 bags full of heartbreak, disaster, and shame.”

Am I saying a sober life is a life of sauerkraut? No! That’s just how these ponderings began. Quite the contrary, sobriety for me means:

I see… hear… taste… smell… feel… love. I have character, maybe even integrity, from which relationships thrive with God, my husband, children, grandchildren, friends.

My life means something today. I stand for things. Such as an alternative lifestyle, one  lacking representation and prominence in this world. Too many of us have modeled the American dream, boasting age 21, as a time to receive our prized first drink. Our children see us glorify liquor, resembling the proverbial rabbit chasing the carrot. They hear us say things like “I NEED a drink,” or  “I’ll drink to that.” We honor our time spent with booze by giving it pet names like Miller Time, Beer-thirty and Happy Hour. We even warn the end is near with Last Call. Then, when our children prematurely race for their first drink, we have little tolerance. Yet, we’ve dangled it in their face, adding allure, by tagging it taboo.

God help me!  I imagine by now you’re picturing me banging my tambourine, like one of those prudish Victorian women from the Liquor Prohibition Temperance Movement. Banning alcohol Liquor Sobriety Funny Photoconsumption is not my intent. I envy families who’ve modeled drinking as a choice no more exciting than peas and carrots. I am asking that we quit portraying drinking as a glamorous rite of passage. Certainly the media does not need our help brainwashing youth to believe college equals parties, problems are solved by drinking, and bars and clubs are the only venues for good times.

What I realized contemplating sauerkraut versus wine, is that I like and appreciate my sober life. I’m proud to represent a lifestyle option that I hope reflects contentment, joy and excitement, without the need for additives. sobriety

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8 thoughts on “Is Sobriety a Gift or an Albatross?”

  1. Hey Deb I was so glad to come upon your post. It’s been almost 3 months since I had a cigarette. I was sitting hear thinking how good a cigarette would taste. Have been for about a week. Luckily I don’t have any. Been going through a rough time with my son and I really thought a cigarette would really help. After reading your post I remembered why I quit . Being around for my grandchildren and just being healthier came to mind. Thank you for you’re post. Love you

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    1. Peggy… you made my day. Nothing better than helping a friend. I am so proud of you for quitting. You know, that I know, how difficult it can be.

  2. i don’t want back what i gave up. a lot of it, i gave up with a struggle. am i cured? don’t know. don’t think so. do i want to find out? nope. i love the life God has given me because i don’t drink

  3. I agree that the sensationalism of alcohol so prevalent in our society, is telling our kid’s it is “fun”, or “it’s the time of your life” or all the other messages they see today! I myself am an alcoholic who believes this disease is hereditary & I have spoken with all my children about what that “demon alcohol” tends to do to our bloodline! When I explained what happened to my life while in the throes of my addiction; all the gory details, they really listened! I am currently working on my addiction to tobacco which has proven to be even harder to quit than heroin-for real! With a loving God, my own deep desire to quit & my families support I pray this day comes soon! I love everything you write Deb & I always can relate!

  4. Great post-Deb. I hit my first alcohol bottom in the spring of 1985 and stayed sober 18 years. Then one day when the divorce papers were served I began drinking again. It took eights years of misery before I sobered up. That was almost 5 years ago. Yes, sobriety is a gift and I make the best of this second chance. I know alcohol isn’t for me today since God has rescued me from its destruction. Congrads! God bless you, Sandy, family and friends!

  5. Well I for one did trade in 14 years of sobriety to “JUST HAVE ONE”!! Without one thought of what I may be giving up, my friends, my family, my daughter I took that plunge. Within 3 days I was every bit as insane and dangerous to myself and others as I had been 14+ years before. My feelings as far as sobriety goes differ but my commitment to it on this day, May 12, 2016, is exactly as it was when this period of sobriety started. April 8, 2008. Nothing on God’s green earth, including God, is more important. I say that as I know that w/o sobriety there is no God, no good, no spirit, no soul, no life…..

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