If you mow your lawn on a steep terrace in the rain, you are bound to slip on that slippery slope. Accidents happen. The same thing will happen to your sobriety if you flirt with disaster. Make sure your sobriety passes the test. Do not tread in dangerous territory, or slippery slopes.
The point I am trying to make is that if you think that you can remain abstinent from drinking while you spend time in the bars with your friends and drink soda pop, you may want to think again and revise your plan. That may work for a while, but it surely will come back to haunt you.
Being a designated driver once in awhile is fine, but if you continue to be the “good guy,” you are only enabling others who have a real problem in their addiction. You should not police your friends. If bartenders fail to acknowledge the signs of intoxication, they are to blame. It is your responsibility to look after your own program, not others.
One of the worst ideas I had when I stopped drinking was flirting with my sobriety. I substituted smoking pot, rather than drinking beer or hard stuff. I tried bringing only enough money to the bar for three drinks. These self-taught tips of mine never really worked.
Getting high in any form is not sobriety. Moreover, if I ran out of my money I brought to the bar, there were plenty of friends and strangers willing to buy me a round or more. I promised to pay them back or extend the favor some other time when they are down and out and low on funds. Sometimes that worked. Other times I felt like a bum.
One of the most important things in how I maintain my sobriety is to never convince myself that slipping, or failing to maintain sobriety, is okay. My mind convinced myself that slipping was a part of the program. Just start over. It is not a big deal, right? Wrong. By approving this was acceptable was a bad idea. It only became an endless pattern.
It took years to achieve my sobriety. I began drinking when I was fourteen. When I was 50, I was able to restore my life without drinking alcohol. It took me 36 years. I was a “lucky” one. Some of my friends never made it. Others went insane. My brother, Mark, died a horrific death of a diseased liver and a “sick” mind. My other brother, Donald, put a revolver in his mouth and blew himself away, while he tried to booze his depression away.
My advice to achieve sobriety, is to be abstinent from your friends that continue to drink. Socializing with them is not a good example of working your program toward happiness and sobriety. By taking this advice, you may be humiliated by your friends. They may think you are not a man. They may call you a “pussy.” These are not real friends. Once you achieve sobriety, it all makes sense.
Do not ever try to convince yourself that your life is empty and not as exciting as it use to be when you were drinking and drugging. In my case, that kind of “stinking thinking,” rewarded me with 11 DUIs, plenty of jail time, several inpatient and outpatient counseling and treatment programs, hundreds of AA meetings, some heavy fines exceeding $20K, broken relationships and engagements, feeling disrespected and humiliated, and being an habitual loser. I was not having any fun, believe me.
I use to say I could write a book of my life. Today, that is exactly what I have been doing the past couple years. Being sober, I have not only achieved my self-respect, I have also achieved goals I never thought I could achieve. My rear view mirror has not flashed a blue light in 5 years or more. My attendance at work has remarkably improved. My wallet is much thicker. I do not miss all the legal obligations I use to have to fulfill. Relationships are truer and better. Feeling like a loser has never crossed my mind.
It is important for me to remember who I was and who I am today. Some people say never look back. In my case, I sometimes do. I have to. It is a part of my program. Each person has a different program. This is what makes them unique. Copying somebody else’s program not always works.
My final achievement in sobriety is feeling peaceful and tranquil each day. I no longer associate with the people I thought were my friends. The ones that remain are the ones who achieved sobriety, too.
After achieving sobriety, your “friends” will get your message by not having your welcome mat visible to those you no longer want to have as visitors. They will recognize that your welcome mat does not include booze of any kind. Soon they will stop visiting at your doorstep.
I only welcome those that are not drunk and obnoxious. I have a couple of beers around for those I know can handle themselves and not threaten my sobriety. One thing to always remember, is never convince yourself that you are cured for life. Remember to celebrate each day you have sober.
I did not attend AA meetings to be rewarded a sobriety chip. I did it myself by buying one online with my new birth date on it. I cherish my coin every day. I am not a regular AA member. That is my choice. However, I do believe that AA is doing a magnificent job. Their program is sobering up people every day. I salute Alcoholics Anonymous in achieving these goals. Just remember, slippery slopes exist. Tread safely and lightly each day. I congratulate your sobriety. Celebrate your new life. I have. If I can achieve it, anybody can.
Earl D. Erickson is a freelance writer. He loves writing on the internet and for EzineArticles. He especially loves to write nostalgic and inspirational articles. He also loves to write true stories. He is currently writing a book about his struggles with alcohol, drugs, depression, suicide, and bereavement. He has recently written and self-published a book entitled, The Journey of an Incorrigible Alcoholic: The Paths I Chose and the Ones I Didn’t . It is now available on Amazon.com or your favorite online retail bookstore. He encourages and welcomes receiving comments and e-mails from his readers.
Mr. Erickson owns and manages the following website: http://www.SerenityLighthouse.com.
His hobbies include writing, reading, photography, gardening, fishing, camping, and the great outdoors. He is a native and lifelong resident of Tacoma, Washington.
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