May 19: Because I am Sober…

Because I am Sober…

This has been one of the most difficult weeks I can remember. It started with a major car repair, but that was only the start. My 85-year old mother, who has dementia, fell and shattered a femur. Emergency surgery was required. Yesterday, I spent several hours at the hospital trying to keep an agitated old woman in bed. It was very hard in more ways than one. This experience has brought to mind the mixed blessings of being sober.

Before this event, I was going to talk about all the wonderful things in my life that sobriety has brought. Now, it’s more than that. It’s the fact that I can be present in the most difficult times when before I would have been as far away as possible. Yesterday, the first thing I’d have done on leaving the hospital was buy a six pack. I’d have drunk myself into oblivion and then pouted the rest of the weekend.

Today, I can be present. I can be there when I am needed. I can also make mistakes. I know now that, if I had left the hospital earlier, my mother might not have become so agitated for so long. I didn’t know. My sister had to tell me that long hospital visits are not good for her.

I made a serious mistake. But I am not beating myself up over it today. I can make mistakes, and it’s okay. I am slowly learning to forgive myself, to show the same tolerance for myself that I would for anyone else. Now, THAT is a MIRACLE!!!

There are so many more blessing of sobriety. Courage is one. Courage to make a loan application. Courage to buy a house. Courage to retire. Courage to walk into a room where I don’t know anyone.

Willingness is another. Willingness to try something new … without booze. Willingness to listen to people and follow their advice. Willingness to keep my opinions to myself rather than start an argument. Willingness to sit in a hospital for five hours with a bat-s%^t crazy old woman. Willingness to leave. Willingness to entertain a new concept of God and to build a spiritual life.

Freedom is a big one. Freedom from slavery to a bottle or a pipe. Freedom to be who I am without fear of others’ judgment. Freedom to live in the moment. Freedom from fear. Freedom to feel my feelings without letting them dictate my behavior.

Being sober has changed everything. But mostly, it has changed me. Today, because I am sober, I can live a relatively normal life with relatively normal relationships. Because I am sober, I have a longer life expectancy, a happier family, stability, and peace of mind. What more could I want?

What has being sober done for you?