There are some folks who believe sober means to simply stop drinking alcohol. For me, sober means to not only stop drinking, but figure out why I drank, understand why I did not have an off switch after I had one drink, and own up for being an ass to myself and others.
Four to six months or so after I quit, I relapsed twice. WTF? I was frightened and confused. How did that happen? I was willing to go to any length to get and stay sober, but why was I feeling worse? Why did I slip up? Why had the pink cloud disappeared? Why was I beginning to feel irritable and discontent again? Why was I crying all the time? Why was everyone driving me crazy? I was white knuckling it and doubted I could stay sober.
I was told that drinking alcoholically was not the problem, it had been a symptom of my problems. Quitting booze alone would never fix the real problems of my life.
So, what was happening inside or deeper into sobriety?
For me, Hell was beneath the surface and it took up rent free residence in my head and in my soul. Dissecting Hell was emotionally painful. I had to revisit past traumas and how much I loathed myself. I had been experiencing a steady decline in the quality of relationships towards the end of my drinking career. I slept terribly and avoided addressing chronic medical and psychological conditions. I needed to stop playing the victim and pointing fingers.
How could I get to the other side of addiction for good? To truly get sober meant that I had to take a hard look at my behaviors and why I was so angry at everyone including myself. That meant working closely with another recovering alcoholic and do a lot of inventory work. I had to clean up my past, forgive myself and others, and finally, move forward by helping others.
When I was willing to face what when I opened the doors to the reasons I drank, an amazing transformation occured on a very profound level. During this inventory process, I began to feel more calm and at peace. My thinking changed. I stopped blaming everyone and judging everyone. I became compassionate and felt love blooming in my heart.
I was becoming the most authentic version of myself. This transformation was completely unexpected.
I have so many Sober Gratitudes today. One is that I did not quit on the surface of sober. I dug deep within; wrestled a few demons and got better – (God willing) for good.