In Parts 1 and 2, we spoke about having to consider our relationships with “people, places and things,” usually stating or implying that the frequency of those relationships may have to be reduced or eliminated, or at least at first seriously curtail the frequency of those relations, i.e., you may have to skip the traditional nineteenth hole gathering, or cut the time spent with the family at the traditional Fourth of July Grill-out or find an eatery with a burger just as fine at “Thelma and Harold’s Good Time Bar & Grill”.
Early in the program it’s important to reduce those places where you always consumed more alcohol than appropriate and embarrassed yourself and family before the gathered crowd.
You thought that everyone in attendance consumed just as much as you, but such is not usually the case. They–the normal drinkers–can actually stop at a given point, at the point “they’ve had enough.” So, your behavior is not the norm, and looking back, if we are honest, we had to admit that usually in any form of relaxation and socializing–the 19th hole or Labor Day grill-outs–you always seemed to have a whole lot more to drink than everyone else. Be honest with yourself. If you can, listen to their conversations. They actually make sense. They aren’t garbled or slurred. They haven’t spilled a glass of beer on the picnic table, or loudly passed along the latest “out-of-place” racial insult.
But, enough about the negativity of the excessive drinking. Look at the bright side. You’ll be able to remember conversations, what article or book title you promised to send to the person. You were cold sober when you said, “let’s have lunch” and really meant it and will remember that you said you’d call to set something up. Political and religious discussions may even be coherent and remembered. You may actually be persuaded by a contrary discussion. You’ll understand and remember a good joke or story. You probably will find that sooner or later you will find new friends.
The benefit doesn’t include those good old feelings of being in control of your person. You’ll have positive feelings about the evening–that “feel good” attitude. Shame of that evening, or tomorrow, won’t haunt you. Instead you will realize you are making progress, you are changing your abusive ways of the past. Your spouse might even comment, “I like/love you more when you aren’t drinking, like those days of yesteryear before alcohol dominated your behavior.”
You may even find material benefits as a result of your demonstrated sobriety: a new sales lead, being asked to make a contact, and you may find a new ability of remembering what your profession or employment is all about.
What’s not to like about sobriety–in part gained by changing those alcoholic people, places and things that did so much to enable you to go to the depths of your addiction?
Jim A. Covington, Kentucky