Sobriety is not a life of mediocrity

The way we approach our sobriety is the way we approach life. We hate this parallel. We liked to think we were proficient in most areas and that our drinking was the only problem we possessed. We were shocked to realize that our alcoholic drinking was the effect (the end result) of our thinking. We were not the effects of the alcohol. We were a product of our thinking. Alcohol had become the solution to our inability to cope. Craving escape—this was/is our addiction.

If alcohol was the problem, the removal of the alcohol would be the solution. It wasn’t. Most alcoholics are miserable sober, thus the relapsing. In a seemingly sane frame of mind we get the bright idea to have a drink. We can somehow convince self it is ok to drink again, despite all the facts, all the history, and all the misery; we convince self it is acceptable.


It’s because we never bothered to truly embark on changing the way we thought. We never bothered to change the way we behaved and the thought process that lead to that behavior. We never bothered to take a good hard look at how we functioned, how our subconscious thinking was directing our life. We never entertained the idea that we could (and should) learn about addiction and what it means for us. We took it for granted. We didn’t appreciate the brilliance of a sober life. We were bored and stagnant in our recovery.

Even with a small measure of sobriety we ignorantly believed we could drink again. We stayed in a cycle of wanting, temporarily achieving, but ultimately failing. Our grandest pursuit in life became the acquisition of sobriety, the long-term type. Sobriety where you aren’t wondering around thinking about drinking, the kind where you no longer had to apologize for what you did last night. That was the goal, to not be thinking about and acting upon thoughts of drinking. If we could do that life would be grand. Then once we had it, we let it go. We forgot where we came from.

Alcoholism didn’t come and steal our sobriety. We gave it away. We didn’t value it. We quit caring about growth—evolution. We lacked discipline and honesty. We undervalued resources and overvalued pride. We stopped reframing our perspective. We settled into mediocrity and comfort. We felt we deserved a reward for our hard work.

If we want success then it must be hinged upon our effort, desire, and creation. We are not victims of alcoholism anymore then we are victims of recovery.

We know how to let our heart burn for another drink. Do we know how to let it burn for recovery—for living? Most in recovery do not. We have become content with everything less than extraordinary.

We’ve become scared to step into a challenge because we fear change … so we stay safe and unengaged in life. After all, we quit drinking, wasn’t that supposed to be enough? My gosh, now we need step into other challenges. We are shocked that our sacrifice of giving-up-drink, has not transformed our family— our life.

If we want to stay sober we get the opportunity to engage fully in life. There is nothing we cannot accomplish today when bolstered with the proper support.

We have everything to lose if we drink.

We have our sobriety to lose if we don’t start stepping into our life and the challenges that stand before us.

Let your heart burn to live—really live life.

Today’s challenge: “I don’t have to, I get to.”

No Responses to “Sobriety is not a life of mediocrity

  • This is so true Lisa. I seen it, and I’m sure you’ve seen it many time, where someone with a few weeks might start messing with the idea of controlled drinking. That is a trail wreck waiting to happen. I tell people not drinking is only part of the battle. Changing your life, reframing your mind, is the bigger bit. AND NOT WANTING TO DRINK. If you still WANT to drink and your sobriety consists of denying you what you want…. Well good luck with that because I think you are going to need it.

    We can’t remind ourselves of these facts often enough. Take care, Paul.

    • Paul, I’ve seen it more times then I care to share. You are so right on (at least in my mind) I love where you have the focus. It’s not about not drinking. It’s about living. We feed into “not drinking” so much that we actually keep it alive. I have truly enjoyed watching you grow. Your blog is one of my favorites. And yes, we cannot remind ourselves of this too often. That is one reason I stay close to people getting sober. I am one drink away from that life. I am not exempt from going back. I’m the same as every addict out there. I quit a day at a time and hopefully I’ll make that commitment for the rest of my life. Lisa

  • I love this. Thanks so much for sharing, Lisa.

    • Dag, I am happy to see you commenting. Thank you for introducing yourself. Please feel free to email me or ask any question. I know how hard sobreity can be without the right support sytem set up.
      Best of choices on your sober journey.

  • Whenever I see a new post from your blog on my Reader, I get excited, I know I’ll be reading a new valuable lesson. I also feel like I have to read it more than one time to really understand and take it all in. I love how this one starts… It’s harsh! The approach we have on sobriety is the same one we have for our lives. Pff! What a true statement (an eye opening one) and how I hadn’t thought about it. I thought that by deciding to not binge or barf, I was going to change my life immediately but it is the work that comes behind that matters. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom in such a practical and coherent way. Thank you for teaching us to figure out how to love ourselves. 🙂

  • Nice to see it as opportunity rather than work, Lisa. It puts a whole different spin on it. Thank you!

    • sswl, yes… it does for me too. I am mindful to be open to the joy of it all, rather than the work of it all. I love your post “morphing out of fear” … I find the inventory sets everything straight in my head. I also enjoyed hearing of your son’s discipline to meditation in recovery. There really is so much we can do to have good, if not great days in sobriety, lots of love Lis

  • I needed this post. Thank you.

    • Thank you for coming and reading.I am here to be of help to those who still struggle. We do recover, we really do. Keep me posted. Lisa

  • Loved this article! The first 4 months of being sober, I was pretty much miserable! I talked a lot about it around the tables at my AA meetings – what was the point of being sober if I was just as miserable being sober as I was when I was drunk. Luckily everyone told me to keep hanging on because eventually I would see being sober as a better way of life and would stop being miserable. Finally, after 6 months I’m starting to realize that my life as a sober person doesn’t have to be miserable. I’m learning so much about myself (not always great things either lol) and learning how to change my attitude/way of thinking. I really needed to see this post today! Thanks for sharing Lisa.

    • Ginger, thanks for the comment. I hear you on the “learning so much about myself — not just the great things” … I still feel that way. Not like in the beginning, but in other little ways I am still awakening to new ideas, character defects, and possibilities everyday. I am pleased we connected. Lisa

  • I really loved this Lisa. We cannot afford to be complacent in our recovery. I try to consider my actions and ask myself at the end of the day if I am moving *toward* recovery and the life I want to lead or am I moving *away* from recovery? It helps me also when I am faced with making decisions- often the easiest answers are not necessarily the right answers nor do they move me closer to recovery.

    “We have our sobriety to lose if we don’t start stepping into our life and the challenges that stand before us.” — so true, and I don’t want to EVER lose or give away my sobriety.

    Fabulous post! Love, Christy

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