Sobriety is confrontational

How can it not be? How delusional we’ve become to think we are prepared to suddenly step in and handle life—be fine. Call me pessimistic, or even cruel, I prefer to think of it as REAL. I think if we know something is going to totally suck, then we are more prepared for the long haul. And it’s a long storm of emotions.

How can we comprehend the bitterness of early sobriety when those in long-term recovery repetitiously tout its greatness? If one more person said, “keep coming back” I was going to strangle them. Didn’t they know, didn’t they understand how hard this was for me? What was wrong with them? My life at 8 months sober appeared worse than my life with no sobriety. At least if I wasn’t sober I didn’t have to feel it. Now I had to feel. It sucked. (A vulgar word, but it drives the point.)

I was no more prepared to be sober than I was to travel to the moon. What made me think I could do this?

Here’s the issue—It was no longer an option.

The stakes were high. High enough that I could hear the inner voice pleading, “Enough, I am not willing to risk losing more. Despite the agony of not drinking and the agony of drinking … I must figure this out.”


Now here’s the killer. We think at that moment that the battle is over. After all we made a choice, a decision. Now we’ll just tough it out for a little while and be fine. Wrong!

What that Bam really means:

  • Not only are we not drinking but, we are never drinking again if we want long-term sobriety … and if we want long-term sobriety we have to be in this for the long haul  … and if we’re in it for the long haul, well then f*** we might as well just drink to deal with the pain of knowing we don’t think we can stop drinking for the long haul.
  • The structure of life as we know it will be smashed to tiny, itsy-bitsy pieces. A wrecking ball is appearing within the next 30 days to destroy every belief we ever had about ourself. Everyone is telling us this is great and we get to silently hate them as we struggle with our unique situation.
  • Every feeling we ever not wanted to feel will be showing up in some form during the first two years (individual results may vary). It will almost kill us to face it, face that person, face that pain and we will want to kill them or us. One gets us to jail, the other a hall pass to come back to Earth and give it another try until we figure it out (again, individual results and beliefs may vary).
  • We are embarking on the toughest journey we have ever faced and it pales in comparison to what we think it will be like … surf wave vs. tidal wave.
  • Life has just begun, seems impossible, but true! And on many, if not most, moments in early sobriety we would prefer to return to our cocoon.

My Bam lasted a few years.  Was it easy? No. But I learned to do more than wait for the storm to blow over.  I learned what it meant to live life fully engaged and sober. I wasn’t a door mat, but I wasn’t a bitch. I wasn’t raging, but I wasn’t silent. I wasn’t fearful of everything, but learned to proceed with caution. I learned to love everyone and trust only those who had earned it. I wasn’t always feeling loving, but I learned how to access the feeling of love.

In all this mess I found me.

Find a resource to guide you, there are many. If we do not find a resource to guide us, to trust—we are certain to fail. We have too much confrontation arriving with this storm to battle it alone. Find a resource that you trust and get the help you deserve.


We suggest you get the help with an organization that is in alignment with your principles.
Don’t know what your principles are?
Might be something good to find out.



No Responses to “Sobriety is confrontational

  • Great post, Lisa. I think it’s so important to acknowledge that quitting drinking doesn’t solve all your problems or suddenly infuse your life with a rosy glow. Life can be, and often is, hard, and we’re used to having a buffer. If all people hear are happy stories about how great it is to be sober, those of us who have to deal with depression, anxiety, grief, anger, pain, economic hardship–whatever–start wondering what the heck we’re doing wrong and why we should even try.

    The point is, if you’ve reached the place most of us have in relation to alcohol, sobriety, with all its warts and wrinkles, is better than where we would be still drinking. Sober, at least we can take a crack at improving our lives; with alcohol in charge, that possibility is lost.

    • Lisa Neumann
      12 years ago

      Yes I’ve had all of those … and I was a rager or doormat too. It’s so much to learn, but we learn it. Thanks for commenting. I always enjoy your blog!

  • Hi Lisa,

    I am pleased to tell you that I have now started reading your book.
    I will get back to you when I finish it.


    • Lisa Neumann
      12 years ago

      Ronnie … So exciting to hear. Let me know (or) post on Amazon for me. But only if you love it (haha) … You post the truth! But you already knew that.

  • robins77
    12 years ago

    Oh goodness. It’s like you wrote this just for me to read. I’m right there. All of it. I will be re reading this post for awhile. I want you to know how grateful I am to have found your blog. Right now I am stuck in the middle of happy & miserable. I go back & forth although I am trying so damn hard to stay on the happy side. The anger, shame & pain becomes too much at times & all I know to do is cry. I feel so alone right now. So alone. I just keep trying to tell myself it WILL get better & must realize its not going to happen overnight unfortunately. I just don’t know how much longer I can keep holding on. Taking it a day at a time but still that gets very hard.
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your words yet again.

    • Lisa Neumann
      12 years ago

      I did write it for you! There were several struggling this week (in both my office and the internet). This post came pouring out of me. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for you. You keep me connected and remembering. Right now your loss is my gain. I want nothing more than to help—truly help. Hang in there. with lots and lots of love, Lisa

  • Most amazing post ever! Removing the alcohol was just the start of this painfully awesome journey of 2 years now. I have said many times over the past year that this has been the BEST and the WORST year of my life…I look back to what you have walked me thru Lisa and it’s the most incredible transformation! I live a beautiful life, full of love today because of what you have taught me.

    Now your helping someone I love dearly whom I have watched struggle with addition on and off for 12 years. The past year has been most difficult. 1 week ago the “Perfect Storm” happened. He saw you for the first and next thing I knew he was getting sober, and staying sober. He changed “BAM” overnight. The second visit with you he’s not the same person. The beauty you have worked with your loving way was my miracle today! All my love… Lisa D.

    • Lisa Neumann
      12 years ago

      Words fail me. Please know I am only giving what I was fortunate enough to learn. I have had many wonderful teachers. And I believe I will continue to have more wonderful teachers. I love evolution.
      with love, me

  • Great blog post, Lisa. I love it when people share from the heart, as you have, and thanks for the reminder that there are a great many pathways to recovery.

    • Lisa Neumann
      12 years ago

      Thanks for coming over reading AND posting. I love it. Recovery coaching IS the future of recovery. At least in my little part of the world.

      Newly sober and looking for a coach? Dry and looking for a coach? Check out Dawn Nickel’s site. She’s hosting a women’s recovery retreat in November in tropical paradise … mediation, yoga, and the beach. Find Dawn, she’s awesome. Her FB page is SheRecovers.

      Lots of love to you, Lisa

  • I would called you realistic not pessamestic, your words are always so brilliantly put together……..;) great blog girl ((hugs)) Angel

  • Great post, thank you, 200 days for me today, your posts are an inspiration, thanks again.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting. I love to know what’s happening. It helps me write when I know what people like. 200 days … this is wonderful. Enjoy the milestones. They will seem like precious diamonds the longer you remain sober. You simply will not want to give them up …. for anything. Not even a drink. Yeah, it’s a good fight you are fighting. You will succeed! L

  • Thank you so much for this. I needed to read this today.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.