4 (Sober) Absolutes

Door open to the new world, for environmental concept and idea

So often we arrive at alcoholism’s door expecting that we will be okay with the fact that we want to quit drinking.

Most often (if we are lucky) we do not.

If we are completely resolved to giving up the drink/drug the odds are that we have done something fairly horrific to land us there. Most of us addicts will need to settle for the less-than-horrific realization that we are members of this not so popular group.

Not believing I’m an addict does not make me a non-addict. It simply makes me unaware. The question then becomes, Do I choose to become aware of who I am? A confrontational inquiry for anyone, but a necessary inquiry if we are to face the challenges that sobriety entails.

Life without our beloved addiction is not our old life minus the alcoholic/drug. Sober life is a new life. Who among us is excited to start over? None of us … As best I can gather.

Who did start over? The ones who were determined to have something better.

Was it easy? No.

Were we ready? No.

Did we find what we needed to get us through? Yes.

As a coach I am often hit with the question, “Am I an alcoholic?” right at the forefront of a coaching relationship. It is never an answer I can give. It is always an answer one can find.

If …

If …  you are willing to do some work. Do some self inquiry.

Most do not want to do the work. I think it is because we are scared of what we will find. At least that was my excuse. Why look when I don’t want to see what is there. I only search for things I want to find.  I did not want to find the word ‘addict’ attached to my name. Who does?

These are my four absolutes for recovery. These, I know with certainty, are required for me to grow into my new life with my old thinking. Over time my new actions will become my new thinking. And to date my new thinking has become my new life.

Absolute No. 1
Be 51% (or more) sure I’m ready for a change: Less than 50% will not be enough momentum to get me there. Don’t wait until I am 100% ready to change. The trail of destruction I will have left in the wake might be irreparable. This rule applies to every difficult challenge I face. I have to come to the plate with a measure of fortitude and conviction for what I am choosing to achieve.

Absolute No. 2
Find support: I need to connect with others so I can keep my thinking in check. My subconscious will drag me back to my old thoughts in a heartbeat. Another’s sustenance can carry me through the moments of hardship. (And it will get hard.) Another can call me on my deceptions. Another can cheer me to the home stretch. I will need both.

Absolute No. 3
Be willing to grow: I needed, desperately needed, to see that I did not have the answers. I had to be willing to soak up new knowledge. I had to find a way to stop resisting. I didn’t have to agree philosophically. I simply had to agree to make some changes that were in alignment with my philosophy. (BTW: Some of us don’t know what our philosophy is at the onset. That’s okay. We learn.)

Absolute No. 4
Quiet my mind: Until I can lessen the noise in my head, I am stuck listening to the constant chatter. For me, it was more like an ongoing disagreement, coupled with an inferiority complex or an extended ego. The feeling of peace and tranquility I chased with a drink/drug was available within my sober mind. I just had to be willing to seek it.

I wish I could give you what I have found.

However, it is not a thing to be given.

But a thing to be earned.

I hope you see your worthiness today and make the decision that has been so long in the making.


I wanted to dedicate this post to Dawn Nickel @ SheRecovers and all the women with whom I retreated over Mother’s Day weekend. You are forever etched in my heart as we support one another.

If you are looking for support you can start at the SheRecovers Facebook page.

Never stop seeking—ever!



40 Responses to “4 (Sober) Absolutes

  • I remember a friend of mine telling me that he went to an AA meeting where a very famous singer was in attendance and sharing what she was up against. She said that she had used alcohol to numb her out from her fear of singing in front of live audiences, and now she was terrified when singing while sober. I have another friend of mine who was a blistering guitarist in his genre of music, and he’s now lost his ability to play because of hand tremors. His medical tests tell him that he has liver damage, but he refuses to believe that 40 years of drinking has had anything to do with it.

    • Most days I feel blessed that I have given up fighting for the right-to-be-right. As the sober days extend I can see, more often than not, how this philosophy applies to everything in my life. I am far from who I plan on becoming, but for today I feel happy for the gifts, thus far acknowledged and received. You are a very special part of my journey. VERY! Thank you for the love and support you gave and continue to give. You are one of my blessings.

      • I am blown away by your transformation, Lisa! You and I have both experienced amazing transformation within our lives. I remember having a session with a palm reader some 20 years ago and he looked at my palm and said, “This is the palm of someone who has been through a lot of transformation.” And I’ve been through so much more transformation now some 20 years later! 🙂 It really stunned me to learn from this man that as we change and evolve within our own lives, the lines in our palms change and evolve, too.

  • So nice to read your post back again! Is it I who has been skipping days in my “Reader” or have you been absent on WordPress lately?
    I am focusing a lot on my painting lately & on being abstinent as I went through too many relapses I’d care to mention 🙂
    So, I took out back again my O.A literature, follow online meetings & pray to stay sane… for the moment, as promised, miracles are happening, nevertheless I am really glad to get your words of encouragement on my reader!
    So, if you have been away… glad to have you back 🙂

    • Ohhhh, I, too, have been a busy bee with family, coaching, etc. (life I suppose). I will be over to visit shortly. My extended hiatus from my blog has been only that, a break from the blog. I am still enjoying the fruits of spirit filled life and Creator seems to keep me plenty busy with those in need. I adore you and consider you on of my dearest blogging pals. Seems you have supported me from the start of my blogging journey. Sending lots of love to you as we journey together today. Your words always help me so I’ll be over shortly. XO lisa

      • Glad you have been busy with good stuff! It is good to take a break from blogging for as long as needed & brilliant to relish the moment & the fruits of your labor. That is living in its true sense!
        I didn’t realise we had come practically at the same time to WordPress. I have opened an instagram account so I’ve been busy promoting my work that way too. I sometime need to close computer & phone to slow down & enjoy what I have around me 🙂
        You always have such kind words about me that I have the impression you are describing someone else & that’s not false modesty, I mean it.
        Thank you! Wishing you all the very best & a healthy summer too 🙂

        • I believe I feel this way because you possess many skills and all of them creative. I admire that in you. There, simply said … and yes, I am talking about you!

          • You are very kind! You always have that way of generously showering compliments on to another, not everyone has that uncomplicated (I tend to think too much so I work on keeping it simple) generosity…And yes, I am talking about you too 😉

  • I read this at least 2x a day I love it

  • Amazing Amazing Amazing. Thank you for the beautiful reminders. I’m totally an alcoholic. I’m willing to change and grow and learn and get support.
    Thank you. 💟

    • What a lovely comment to open up and read. After a short hiatus I will be over to your blog and see what you’ve been up to. Believe me when I say I love your sober support just as much as you like mine. We truly journey together. I am grateful for my blogging companions.

  • Thank you for the words I needed to hear. I have already re read your post because of how much it hits home. As a lady next to me in the circle said get off on the first floor you can because the elevator only goes one way and that’s down. And it makes it a little challenging to stay resolved when I made it off relatively unscathed. But it’s just a matter of time to lose it all if I go back. I love your absolutes and I will come back to this post often as a source of inspiration.

    • Thank you for your kind words. I love what you shared. It’s true too. I was, what I would consider, far from my worst drinking days. The bottom line is that they were bad enough. I didn’t need anymore evidence that I was in trouble. It takes a tremendous amount of fortitude to stop and stay stopped no matter where you are in the sober process. Looking forward to hearing your progress. I too need to read inspiration on a daily basis. It is what keeps this girl sober.

  • Hello Lisa. Finally got to reading your book all the way thru. Of all the books I have read in the last two years yours gave unique prospective and useable tools. I incorporate these tools, along with other AA concepts and principles, into my own little program of action. Here is my current concept I am working on: Oh, Lord, please let me be the person my dog thinks I am.

    • Robert, I LOVE YOUR CURRENT CONCEPT! I have two dogs over here and they work with me during the day. I sometimes think clients come to see me so that the dogs can shower them with love. It’s coaching/puppy therapy over here. 🙂

      What’s interesting about what you say that strikes me, as wonderful, is that you’ve combined what you needed and made a plan that worked. So many of us quit before we find what works. There is no right or wrong way to get sober. It’s a seeking and a finding. I am glad to have been of service in your journey. Thank you for your support of this blog and the kind words on my book. Blessings my fellow journeyer. Lisa

  • I almost forgot. Today is day 440 for me to be ethanol free. My thought process is still becoming clearer, but I am afraid I did permanent damage to my soul. Still hard to feel anything. Really working on that. Constantly counting my blessings and not my problems.

    • Robert, I can say with absolute certainty that there is no permanent damage to your soul. In my opinion, and TWL (typed with love), there is nothing bigger than the beauty of who you are—Nothing. Your soul will awaken as the days unfold. This is a promise. Keep working on Robert. Love wins because nothing is bigger and grander and better than Love.

  • today is day43 for me and I know that I want to be sober as life is much better for me and all my family this way. I have relapsed more times than I care to mention because ive always tried to manage my drinking…..which I never could do. My thinking is still all over the place and I keep thinking I am not doing this the correct way. I go to aftercare from my time in rehab one day a week, yoga twice a week, I read about recovery daily and I do try and practice mindfulness. I feel as though I am emotionally stunted, I am still numd to feelings. I am a little scared to as I am due to go to holidays in july and my addiction is telling me I can sneak a drink!!!! is this normal?? I know I cant because I will end up a mess back were I started and I don’t want that. Thankyou for your blogs

    • Go to AA. They have the same experiences you are going thru. They will embrace you and give you a game plan to send you to the next level.

    • Congrats on your 43 (now 44) days. You are so, so, so, so normal. The fact that we think we will stop drinking and it will be easy is the affirmation of the screwed-up-ness of our mind. Truly, we are all but crippled when we finally get the clue that we have a problem. Believe me when I say this … 44 days sober is incredible. If you can do that, you can do anything. Just don’t drink today, Tuesday, that’s it. That’s all either of us has to do today. As time rolls forward you will be inspired to do more and more in your sober life. And it will be amazing because you will be mindful, present for what you are facing. There truly is a high to facing life unaltered. It gives one the biggest sense of humble pride and it makes us oh so strong. You can definitely do this. Keep it up. Lisa

  • I just love when you post Lisa. It makes me so excited when I see you in my feed and you never, ever disappoint. Thank you for this.


    • I love you darling. After a hiatus from blog fellowship I feel rested and ready to rejoin my cyber-tribe. It is wonderful to see “SoberMom” pop up here. I am looking forward to catching up over at your blog. Lots of love, Me

  • Had to come back and read this again. Thank you for being one of my absolutes (if that makes sense tee hee)


    • It makes total sense to me. Funny fact* I got your beautiful email while I was editing this rough draft and I felt touched by the beautiful relationship I have found with you. You are one of the “perseverors” (is that even a word? it should be) You inspire me because you never stop looking and you keep coming back for more growth. BTW: I’m sending over a worksheet today, hope you read this before I send it. Love you dearly.

  • Thanks for the great post, Lisa!. Learning to move away from doing what I wanted – to doing what I needed – was my biggest struggle.

    • Always a gift to have you read my words and relate. Love your sentiment here. I, too, see that what I thought I wanted always tried to override what I ultimately needed. A harsh lesson for us humans and especially confrontational for addicts. Looking forward to getting back into the groove with my cyber-sobers. Love you. L

  • Reblogged this on Stayingsober and commented:
    This was very true and informative

    • SoberJan … Thank you for the reblog. I shall come over and visit your blog and see how your sober journey is faring.

  • Keri Cruzat
    9 years ago

    Hi Lisa, My daughter needs to find a sober living home. She quit drinking 4 days ago. Any advice for her. She has no insurance. Her name is Lisa and she is 43. She is currently with me, but I am having my own ongoing issues with alcohol. Thank you, Keri Cruzat

    Sent from my iPad


    • Keri, Thank you for reaching out. If you get this reply please come and find me. I will be happy to help you move in a new direction. What city, state do you live? Also, you can email me direct for a referral. lisa@ogelcoach.com

  • catlinwellness
    9 years ago

    Lisa, thank you for another thoughtful post.

    I totally relate to the fear of discovering who I truly had become… I was terrified. But what kept me going is the Hope I felt (and still feel) in the rooms.

    Thank God for the experience shared at meetings, it’s what kept me going through the muck when looking at the mess I created. The power of a supportive community helped me inch to the 51% desire, without it I don’t think I would have recovered. That person to person contact is so valuable, as you point out.

    • Thank you for the visit and your lovely thoughts. I’m with you … It was the love and support that carried me through. Not the reprimands. I still feel closest when I am in the company of similar spirits. You are one of those similar spirits. xox

  • I LOVE the idea of 51% ready being ready enough. Sometimes, it feels like it’s only 51% of me that wants to stay sober, but that’s still greater than the part that once to drink. I’m going to share this at the meeting I secretary, where we often talk about the third tradition–the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. But you can still want to keep drinking 49%. The desire to stop just has to be the slightest big stronger! This is a very powerful message; thank you.

    • I love that you gleaned this one small bit from the post. I often feel I could write a book (or another book) on some of these bullet points—alone. You know, I am 11 years sober and a thought of a drink still arrives, ludicrous as it is! But at that moment it seems plausible even if just for that second. I am fortunate to have had (and still have) many good teachers. I would be thrilled to hear these words at a meeting, because they give me hope. Stay strong and teach. That’s when we learn the most, when we teach. Excited to hear more about your journey in sobriety. Abundant thanks for posting a comment. <3 Lisa

  • Charles
    9 years ago

    I tell everyone im an addict, not that im proud of it. Im proud to be living to tell of it, and how it still could take my Life! ♡☆♡

    • I love your perspective. I read most recently, “Addiction isn’t a choice, but recovery is.” I love it, too. Thanks for the visit and your thought proving insight. Lisa

  • Lisa, my new current concept for this week involves how alcohol taught me to fly, but then, without warning, took away the sky.

    • Robert …. Tell me more. I like the poetry in this.

      • With the sky gone I had nowhere to soar to. I came crashing down. But alcohol did not kill me; it consoled me and told me I did not have a problem. Until I wised up and took alcohol out of the equation. My life now is not life without alcohol it is a brand new life. Now the journey is my reward.

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