Non-alcoholics do not entertain these ideas

CrackedI remember hangovers about as much as I remember childbirth. Only if I try, but it’s not on my checklist of tasks for today. It’s not that I tried to forget. It’s that it just leaves, seemingly disappears. I am left with the softer memories.

While this is mostly good news, it does not necessarily serve me as a recovered and recovering alcoholic. Forgetting the hardships of drinking is the catalyst to my continued drinking. This is one of the (many) reasons people participate in 12-step programs,  SMART Recovery, and online support groups. It is our way of not forgetting. To fully forget is to be hooked into thinking we have outgrown our personal intolerance to ingesting alcohol.

When we “conveniently” forget the hardships we created in our drunken (and many times not drunken) state we do our self a disservice. Thinking our drinking a little bump in our maturation gets us into trouble. We begin to entertain that we are healed—healed enough to drink again. We fantasize that alcohol will somehow complement our new and improved personality. We begin to dismiss it all as a sort of glitch. Yes, a mishap that lasted years we tell our self.

It wasn’t a mishap. A mishap is once or twice, three times at the outside, type of thing. It became an outright choice for us to exercise our right to drink. We were entitled to cope with the hardships of life any way we chose. To complete this beautiful package we adamantly told others to get over it. We professed that we didn’t mean it. We didn’t mean what we did and said when we got so drunk, so we should not have to pay the price—at least not for very long.

Sorry to sound so harsh to my fellow alcoholics, but I honestly feel like many I encounter are quick to forget the damage that has been indelibly burned into people’s mind about our character, or rather, lack of character. Alcoholics are too quick to blame the past on their disease.

Here is what I believe needs to be said. If you think you have crossed the line with alcohol and can’t or don’t want to stop you are an alcoholic. If you’re not sure if you’ve crossed the line, but wonder or worry, there’s a good chance you are an alcoholic.

Non-alcoholics do not entertain these ideas. Drinking or not-drinking is not an issue for them.

It’s a non-issue.

It is not a notion to even inquire about. If they drank too much one time they don’t do it again. They stop. They don’t make rules for drinking and dates and times and hours and promises and count days. They stop. And they do it with little to no effort. They do not have the response to alcohol that alcoholics have. We want more. They want one or none.

So if you’re sitting around wondering guess what? The chance is good that you’ve got issues with alcohol. We call this “alcoholism.”

This isn’t rocket science people. You either have a dependency and give a sh*t or you don’t.

Which category do you fall into?

I gave sh*t. My kids are fortunate to have a mom that continued to work at remembering what it was like to drink. (Because we start forgetting at about day ten or fourteen of sobriety. Then again at 90 day and then six months and, and, and … )

Despite what my head tries to tell me, I didn’t drink pretty like a lady. I drank messy, secretly, isolated, lonely, and confused. I blacked-out, puked, passed-out, and over-slept. I lied, cheated, and stole. I missed deadlines, displayed drama, and blamed everyone. I was as misguided and selfish as anyone I have ever known.

I go to meetings, not to beat myself up but out of gratitude. Yes, sheer gratitude for the new life I live. I go to meetings to support the new person with two days of sobriety. I go to meetings because I like sharing, remembering, healing, and helping. It’s a luxury to remember.

I sponsor, coach, and blog to help those who seek solutions to their problem of getting sober and remaining sober. It is a way of life. A meeting is a luxury. Life and recovery coaching is a luxury. Blogging is a luxury. None of it’s a chore. It’s all a luxury. I get to do these things because I get to keep my sobriety when I do these things. My family gets a sober me when I do these things. What a gift!

I relate to your three weeks sober. It feels like sh*t. The difference between me and you is that I’ve learned how to work through that day and wake up the next day sober. I’ve learned how to work through year one and get to year two. And today … I will get through today without a drink or drug. Not because it’s is necessarily easy (or hard) but because it is how I have chosen to live my life. I am not afraid of life today. I am not afraid to feel today.

Sober … I choose sober.

If you’re not too busy pretending you don’t have a problem—ask for some help. The blogs I follow are individuals doing the same thing I am doing; finding healing and recovery through sharing and community.

My hope is that someday you feel the way that many of us feel … we feel we have recovered from a hopeless state. We live each day engaged in life, nor surviving active alcoholism. Don’t get me wrong here. I could be back there in a heartbeat, but I’ve made my choices. I choose not to drink.

If alcohol and you (together) are a problem and you’ve seen evidence of this, then make a choice.

If you don’t make a choice the choice will get made for you.

And there will be nothing luxurious about it.


Grab my book HERE and see what I did.

(Again, not rocket science.)

No Responses to “Non-alcoholics do not entertain these ideas

  • Thank you, Lisa. We’re gonna FB this one, if you don’t mind. This is what it’s all about, in a nutshell, powerfully written. Not much to add without subtracting.

  • When I first found the rooms of AA, and heard people with 20 years who still come to a meeting every day, I thought, “how sad, that they STILL need a meeting after all these years.”

    Luckily, I hung in there, despite this horrific attitude.

    Now, I think, first, “Thank God for those people with 20 years, who still come every day to show me how to live my best life.” Second, “God willing, I will be alive in 20 years, and have the opportunity to give back what I was so freely given.”

    I used to believe alcolism was a life sentence; now I believe that recovery is a gift from God.

    How did I get so lucky that He chose me to be a part of this amazing group of people?

    • I like to think He chooses all of us. I think we don’t choose our self. As for me and you. You make my sober world so, so bright. lots of love, me

  • You are right about the non-issue. I watched my sister struggle until she died with it. For her, it was an hour-by-hour choice. xxx

  • I couldn’t have written this any better nor as powerful…and compassionate as you did here. Bravo. I think what you say is not harsh at all – it’s pulling back the curtain and showing others what we saw for ourselves, in our time, with our own pain as the device pushing away the excuses and denial. We have gone through enormous amounts of hurt and anguish and just as importantly, have put our loved ones and others through the same. We were just too selfish and self-centered to see it. Some still don’t see the wreckage.

    I have said what you have said so eloquently on many occasions – “normal” people don’t question and try and figure out the “drink problem”. I don’t ask others about my lemonade intake. I don’t measure out my lemonade, make oaths about cutting down my lemonade, hide my lemonade or just say that everyone drinks as much lemonade as I do. I don’t, but people would think me mad if I did. But when we do the same with alcohol, we don’t think anything is wrong with that. It’s just a phase. It’s just a rough patch. “I’ve got it”. I never got it. It got me.

    And yes, I have to remember what it was like. I don’t dwell on it, but now and then I remember how crappy I felt, inside and out. And I get these reminders regularly, through working with my sponsees, or talking to newcomers, reading other blogs and talking to others online via recover sites. Going to meetings for sure “keeps it green” at times for me, and not only puts me in a place of gratitude, but of compassion. I need them as much as they need me. Because helping others keeps me level, keeps me in the Sunlight of the Spirit, and shows me where I have come.

    There is so much to mine in your post, Lisa, time doesn’t permit me to comment on it all, but it’s a marvelous piece, and one to keep and show to someone who is on the fence (well, they *say* they are on the fence, but we see them splashing in the pool on our side, if you know what I mean).

    Truly wonderful stuff. You make the sobersphere a magical place 🙂


  • Great post! Thanks for this! I love how you say it’s all a luxury. I was just thinking today how damn grateful I am for this sober life! Sometimes I don’t feel like I deserve it because of all the past stuff, but I choose to live in joy and acceptance and not worry about the rest!

    • Isn’t it nice when that feeling hits you, “sober life is good, everything’s going to be ok, (maybe even great).” I wish it would stay, but for me it doesn’t. It’s all good though. Glad I finally stopped looking outside of me for something that was already inside of me. Great to see you commenting too. I love getting to know new sober people. We really help each other quite a bit. So thanks for speaking up. Lots of love, Lisa

  • If you don’t make a choice the choice will get made for you.
    And there will be nothing luxurious about it.

    I love the way you ended it, very powerful! I couldn’t agree more. If I change the word “alcohol” to “food”, it is so relevant to O.A!
    Again, I couldn’t agree more with what you wrote at the beginning of your post, remembering is the only thing keeping us from falling back into the trap again. It is truly a gift not to be thrown…
    Thanks for sharing this heartfelt post 🙂

    • I love how you have this way of making it all fit. You see how things work together. Your sense of harmony is beautiful. This post fits ALL my addictions. I’m so grateful someone taught me I have the power to choose.
      ps. thanks for the introduction to Chopin AND the new photo category. Excitedly awaiting your jpg vision. Lisa

  • I choose sober, too. It’s a damn good choice, one I make every day. It’s not a hard choice, not anymore, but it has not stopped being a conscious one, not in 8+ years of sobriety.

    I choose sober. I choose ME.

  • You are so right! I wrote to you the day I relapsed after 16 years sobriety. You were lovely! After unpacking the thinking behind that choice I realize that I had allowed myself to completely detach from the drunk that I was. I forgot how out of control I was. I’m really concentrating on gratitude now. That helps me remember. I’m going to meetings again and duh ….I also realized that the reason people still do meetings after 20 years sober is to help the person walking in the doors for the first time. Don’t ask me why but I NEVER got that before. I always said to my husband – I want to get on with my life now that I’m sober . . what’s the point if you never move past the rooms? Of course, now I see that there’s a whole lot of a point! Thanks Lisa.

    • This is so exciting to hear from you. You were so kind to reach out especially having had so much sober time. I love your insight. I’m feeling your awakening all the way through cyberspace. I feel confident in saving you’ve helped me stay sober too. I’ve had all the thoughts that you’ve had. “Why do they go after 20 years …. ughh?” I too get it now and people like you have helped me stay sober. Nothing good ever happened when we went out to drink. Lot of love, Lisa

  • Just this morning I was thinking about those wicked hangovers from my last few years of drinking. They were worse and more plentiful then, but I always had them because I never had a healthy relationship with alcohol. I’ve never really tried forgetting how much hangovers hurt because I believe they saved me. I also never thought about how important remembering them (and the other bad stuff) might be to my future sobriety. That was helpful to hear. Thanks for the wake up call.

  • Hmmm.. Lots to think about here as I wander around your old posts on this lazy rainy Saturday evening.

Trackbacks & Pings

  • The Straight-Shootin’ Reality | Dorothy Recovers :

    […] Lisa, over at Sober Identity, recently wrote a straight-shootin’ post that tells it like it is for those in doubt about their alcoholism: Non-alcoholics do not entertain these ideas. […]

    11 years ago

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