Those Magic Words

ActivityWhere are those magic words? Those words that let the reader know I understand.  I understand where you are, but if you can just trust there is another way, I promise there is.

Active alcoholism, especially when in it, is the worst kind of torture. Non-addicts have no reference point for this kind of futility. Once one has conceded to this condition there is no turning back. Drinking has lost its joy, yet it remains a necessity. It’s a bogus livelihood.

Ten years ago, today, I had the gift of my last drink. I had plans to admit myself to detox at South Coast Medical Hospital the next morning. The big plan was to stay sober for one year. Within this year I was going to prove to myself (the world) that I did not have a drinking problem; I just needed a little break, a reprieve, a hiatus of sorts—from alcohol. After all, any normal, non-alcoholic could go a year without a drink. This hospital detox was my attempt at a jump start. Jump start = I tried on my own and caved at day two.

As was par for the afternoon, I stopped eating around 2:30, so I could feel the full effects of my 5:00 o’clock cocktail. I bought one nice bottle of wine to be savored that evening. Deluding myself that I would be satisfied, I hunted down a bottle of my husband’s vodka. (Not my first, or even second, choice for a drink.) I sat with this bottle (yes, the whole bottle) in my room as I did paperwork on my carpet.

And then it happened, no sooner did I grab the neck to take a swig, when the lid popped off, the bottle tipped over, and the carpet and my papers were bathed in booze. How could this be happening? This sh*t happens to real alcoholics, not people like me.  I felt so screwed by the universe. Here I was making this noble effort at sobriety, albeit tomorrow, and this happens. Our company papers stank of vodka, the carpet reeked of vodka, and I hadn’t even had a sip.

My big solution: Rags and baby powder. Yep, that was my big idea. I would soak it up with the towels as best I could and then sprinkle the baby powder to absorb the remaining wet, and hopefully the smell. The baby powder made it worse and now I had clumps of vodka to clean up. By the time I was finished I had lost my desire to drink. I needed to start acting undrunk so I could confess it was a sober accident when my husband asked. What a cluster.

This was the quality of my life the day of my last drink: manipulation, lies, pretending, denying, faking, using, and hiding.

And believe it or not, I had trouble cashing that in for a sober life. Somehow, someway I thought sobriety sucked. I refused to see I was living the suckiest life of all.

I wasn’t ever planning on being ten years sober, at least in the beginning. I was only planning on getting to the weekend. I was only planning on getting to that one year mark. But something happened along the way.

I heard those magic words from you. I don’t remember who or when. I just know I heard them because I could see, clearly, that alcohol and I were no good together and we never would be again. As hard as living sober can been (and has been at moments) it is infinitely more wonderful (at moments) than I ever imagined it could be.

Thank you for my sobriety. I am here because of friendship and fellowship in the recovery community.

I found those magic words in my head. I found them being connected to you.

There are so many people that share so many wonderful words.

39 Responses to “Those Magic Words

  • Reblogged this on themiracleisaroundthecorner and commented:
    I’ve never reblogged another’s post before. Recently I thought I should do that on a post that was particularly momentous to me. I’ve waited until today to share with you, my reader’s, this post. The writer of the blog, Sober Identity, has become a source of strength, inspiration and friendship to me in my recovery. I am moved by her words and motivated by the wisdom of her recovery. This is Lisa. I hope you enjoy her post. I encourage you to follow her story of hope and her life in recovery. Congratulations on 10 years of sobriety my friend!

    • You are so dear to repost. Thank you for all your love and support. You make sobriety better for me. Proud to be your girlfriend. I love your blog. I love your recovery.

  • Loved this post! It is honest and lovely… Congratulations on your ten years – you’re inspiring.

  • Wow–10years–big congratulations!

  • Lisa, congrats! Wow! 10 whole years! You rock and I’m SO grateful for your words and friendship. Hope you’re having a wonderful day!

    • thank you for my 10 year congrats. It’s all possible because of sober woman like you. I try and not hang out with the guys too much. (I get in trouble.) Love watching you grow. I’m looking forward to many celebrations for both of us over the next few decades. A day at a time. Lisa

  • Great post Lisa.

  • 10 years. Wow. Congratulations. I can’t imagine 10 years sobriety. Right now I feel getting to one year will be like college graduation. (Getting to 60 days is middle school graduation.) Such an inspiration. Thank you for blogging.

    • I couldn’t either 10 years ago. Life really does happen a day at a time. Keep up the good work. Let’s both stay in today and go to bed sober. That’s my favorite idea. Lisa

  • Reblogged this on 365reasons2sober and commented:
    Right now, I can not picture “10 years sober.” That just seems beyond amazing.
    I feel getting to my 60 days will be graduating middle school. 90 days will be going from sophomore to junior year. 6 months sober will be like high school graduation. And one year sober will be college graduation. Then… I will be a grown up! So much growing and learning to do in that time.
    I feel in awe of 10 years sobriety.

  • Happy 10th Lisa! I am so very happy for you. I am so very grateful that you are part of my sober network. I love your story – so very classic, ha? But all jokes aside, that was my reality too – how could I give all this up for sobriety! And then something happened…

    Thank you Lisa for all you do to inspire me and so many others! Sending many hugs!

  • I agree, this community is precious to me and my recovery. Thanks for existing in my path, Lis. Love you tons. We’re in this together 🙂

  • You are an inspiration. I’m still kidding everybody that I’m on a 100-day challenge. Everybody thinks that in 2 weeks, I’ll carry on where I left offf, but I’ve tasted sobriety now and want to keep it. From now on, when people ask, I’m going to hold my head up and say ‘I don’t drink’. It’s true. I am not going back there. Ever. Thank you. What a role model.

    • I love the simplicity of your approach. You’ve unloaded baggage with your pragmatic approach. I, too, have found that “no thank you” covers it for me as well. Others discomfort is about them, not me. Thank you for the kind words. Lisa

  • What a wonderful post. And what a legacy you leave to us in the wake of your 10 years. I’m so glad I found you. Congrats on 10 years!!!


    • Thank you Sherry. I feel the same about you, your sobriety, and your blog. Hoping we are sober friends for a long, long time. Lisa

  • Happy 10 years Lisa! It’s so great to have someone like you, with such impressive long-term sobriety, here and sharing your insight and wisdom. Amazing. xo

    • Ohhh, So nice to see your sweet name in my comment box. How are you? I have been so busy that my reading is beyond remiss. I’ll get caught up soon. Promise. Know that I love you and think of you often. Thank you for the lovely words. Lisa

  • Many, huge congratulations on 10 years, Lisa. I’m so happy to see you’re still here after my long (but sober!) Absence. You’vebeen such a great source of support to me and so many others. I’m very glad you decided to abandon those clumps of vodka (hilarious and pathetic–as we all were).
    Wishing you many more sober birthdays. xx/Susan

    • Susan, What a treat to see you here. And a double treat to see you still sober. I’ve made a few inquiries with Mished-Up and was hoping you were well. Thanks for the b-day wishes. Sending love your way too … xoxo Lisa

  • Lisa,
    Cogratulations on 10 years! I am truly happy for you. I want you to know that even though I don’t comment a lot on posts, I read and reread every single one of yours, and they always inspire me.
    Thank you for being here.

    • Jami, So sweet of you to say that. I have truly enjoyed getting to know you via your blog. Hoping for more time to spend this year reading and sharing recovery with so many of you incredible women. xox Lisa

  • Yay! With alcoholism, one day sober is an accomplishment. 3,650 days (more with leap years) is AMAZING. You’re an inspiration to me because sobriety looks real on you. You don’t sugarcoat life or make light of the work it takes to be a fully engaged human being. Thank you for your friendship, for sharing your journey and for helping us on ours. 🙂

    • Karen, Thank you for the kind words. I feel equally blessed to know all of you. And you have always touched my heart in the sweetest of ways. Lots of love, Lisa

  • Aw, what a beautiful post. You’ve been those words for me and countless others. Thank you so much. Happy 10 years!!

    • BBB …. TY for the kind wishes. You bring equally as much to my world. I am sober today (still) because I get to journey with women like you. We do it together. xox Lisa

  • Hi Lisa,

    I am not sure congratulating you for a decade of sobriety is the right thing to do. This is your life now. I hope it’s no different to me making it through 30-years of my life without Brussels Sprouts.

    It is what it is.

    It is you.

    This is who you are now.

    But it is great that you can share this important date with people because it’s inspirational for millions of people who are not willing to trade in their sobriety because they cannot imagine a life without it.

    You are proof personified that life just doesn’t go on when you stop drinking, it goes on with a flame thrower up it’s arse.

    “As was par for the afternoon, I stopped eating around 2:30, so I could feel the full effects of my 5:00 o’clock cocktail.”

    This part of your post struck a chord with me.

    It reminded me of the connection between food and drink. On the day of a big session I would have a great big greasy breakfast. That would be it for the day because I didn’t want the food to ruin my drinking. The more I ate the less I could drink and this simply would not do.

    Then at the end of the evening. When alcohol had taken over the controls of my mind, I would eat like a pig. I would buy Singapore Chow Mein and wobble outside of my local Chinese eating it with my hands. People would join in. People who seconds earlier had just zipped up their pants and still had the dregs of their mess on the fingers that were now in my food.

    I didn’t care.

    Christ, had I seen an unused cigarette butt on the floor I would have picked it up and smoked it.

    What a difference a drink or 10 makes hey?

    To the next 10-years Lisa (By the way I am raising my glass of water to you right now).

    Keep on keeping on.

    Your biggest fan


    • As always, thanks for the kind words. It always amazes me to look back and see from whence I came. At the same time I can look forward and know that I will continue to grow, change, and evolve into a better version of me. I just have to get into action and meditation and bring it to my world. All my love, Lisa

  • I’ve nominated you for awards if you choose to accept here’s the link
    Have a lovely week!

    • Oh, thank you. I was on vacation in Cancun last week, so I am just reading this. You are so kind to me. Lots of love, Lisa

  • Late to the party, Lisa, but wanted to give big congrats on your decade of wonderful recovery. This isn’t just ten years of putting the “plug in the jug”. This is ten years of emotional and spiritual discovery. Of being on a path that has not only enriched your life, but to countless others – in your daily work, your book readers, your blog followers, those you mentor. Of living in a manner that demands rigorous honesty and ego-deflating choices. Of being in a way that others admire and want. Like me. You have what I want, and you are an inspiration to me. I am not surprised that you have come this far and this long. Obviously, I didn’t know you then, but for some reason I get the sense that this was clearly pre-ordained for you, and that this is your life work…for you and others.

    Congratulations, my dear friend, and thank you for being the shining light for so many of us.


    • Thank you Paul. It’s been a long ten years. (But is was going to be long and harder if I hadn’t stopped drinking and started working on Lisa.) You shower me with support and I am appreciative. We journey together. I am under no illusion that success is a group effort … And that Love leads the way. xox

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    […] number 50 here.  I like how wordpress keeps count for you.  Anyhow, this post is a link to a post by sober identity.  The reason I link to it here is that the first two sentences should be tattooed on the normal […]

    10 years ago

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