*** Submitted by Anonymous
When I got sober, all I wanted was one good day.
One day free of the obsession to drink; my mind was like a prison. I couldn't enjoy anything I did, because that voice was a constant stream in my head: when can I drink, do I have enough, will I be able to keep it in control, where did I hide that bottle.
Nothing was more important to me than drinking - not my family, not my kids, not my friends. Nothing.
I've been sober three years now, and life is so much better. It took me a while to lose the obsession after I got sober. The first four or five months that voice still nagged at me: c'mon, you can have just one, you weren't that bad. I hung on for dear life, believing those people who had walked the path before me that it would get better, if I could just give it time.
Eventually, the voice quieted, and life without alcohol became my New Normal.
Now, three years sober, my life is very full. My business is thriving, my kids are doing well, my marriage is back on track. I work on my sobriety - I go to meetings, I connect with other alcoholics in sobriety, I try to have gratitude.
For the most part the desperate, broken woman I was when I got sober feels very far away. I'm grateful for this, but it also scares me. I don't want to lose sight of how awful it was to live in that mental prison - how dark and small my world was when I was drinking.
The holidays are hard, though. When the kids and I were decorating the tree this year, I missed alcohol a LOT. This would be so much more fun with a glass of wine, I thought.
Alcohol is everywhere. Billboards, television commercials, magazine ads - everywhere I look I see images of happy people drinking. It makes me sad; I miss alcohol like a long-lost lover.
My first sober Christmas was really hard. I couldn't enjoy the festivities, because I couldn't imagine having fun - ever again - without alcohol. The first Christmas was, well, endured. But, like I was promised, it got better. My second Christmas sober wasn't nearly as hard as the first. I know how to keep myself safe - I bring my own car to a party, so if I feel itchy I can leave. I stay close to other alcoholics in recovery so I can remember that I'm not alone.
Thoughts of a drink cross my mind, though, especially this time of year. I can start to feel like the only person on the planet who can't enjoy just one freaking glass of wine in front of a roaring fire. The only thing that I have found that makes those feelings go away is to talk about it. I can't deny the sadness I feel sometimes, but I can talk to other people who understand, and together we make it through.
Mostly, though, I remember that dark prison in my mind. When nothing else works, I remember how awful that obsession was - how it nagged at me constantly, and robbed me of all the light in my life. It took my self-esteem, it took my love, it took my hope. I don't ever want to go back there again.
So as hard as it is this time of year, I am grateful that the voice isn't there. Sure, I feel sadness that I can't drink, but the feeling always passes. I'm present for my kids this year - I can decorate the tree, make a snowman, read a story or play a game with them and not feel that constant tug to go drink. I never, ever, thought that day would come.
When I got sober all I wanted was one good day. Today almost every day is good. The times that are hard? They are just moments. I can survive a few bad moments. It's a small price to pay to be free of the obsession.
I also have to remember that for all the hoopla about Christmas - you know what it is? It's just one day.
One good day.