Folks in recovery will hear this, or some variant over and over throughout their journey of recovery. It almost sounds cliche. Take heart though; there is a reason this phrase is repeated and “preached” so often. For one thing, it’s the truth. For another, it follows another basic “rule” of the program: “Keep it simple stupid!”
The journey of recovery is like a Zen riddle, a paradox if you will. Staying sober, for the most part is easy, and yet, at the same time, it can be be excruciatingly painful and difficult. Add to that not drinking and maintaining sobriety are two completely different animals.
For many, it is not that hard not to drink. Some, like myself, don’t miss the alcohol, the bars, the driving drunk, hanging out with ass hats, and spending money being with people we don’t want to be with, doing what we don’t want to do, where we don’t necessarily want to be. The only thing I miss personally about drinking is the actual taste of my favorite Scotch. That’s it.
So, not not drinking is one aspect. Staying sober is an entirely different issue. Just because one doesn’t drink, doesn’t mean you have sobriety. You might be “sober,” but that is not the same as sobriety; not by a mile.
Sobriety is about working the program, working the steps, and “putting in the work.” Note the use of the word “work.” Sobriety is about addressing and resolving the issues that were the root cause of your addiction, whether drugs, sex, booze, gambling, whatever. Our addictive behavior is only a symptom of deeper issues and problems. Without addressing these, we can not be free of the addiction. Hence the phrase “dry drunk.” A dry drunk is much worse than a practicing drunk because a dry drunk believes they are making progress simply because they don’t drink.
So what is this work of which I spoke earlier? Read The Big Book. Get a sponsor. Go to meetings. Can’t make a face to face (F2F) meeting for whatever reason? There are video meetings on line. There are AA help lines. There are AA chat rooms as well, local, and international. If you are remotely located or home bound for whatever reason, look into AA Grapevine – AA’s “meeting in print.”
You will only get out of sobriety what you put into it. Maintaining quality sobriety is a lifelong journey. A lot of drunks and addicts don’t make it … put in the work and enjoy a second chance at life.