One Year Sober

 Charles III's Three Truths Of Sobriety

Wow. I cannot believe I am typing the words "one year sober." For real, y'all, I never thought I'd make it to a year sober. You see, previously, I could not get past the three-month mark. Ever. Ever. I've made it to three months several times, but never found the oomph to keep going. I'd look around, wondering what the hell I was doing sober, and grab a bottle. And that's only if I'd made it to the three-month mark. For I spent most of my efforts remaining sober only three or four days, followed by a long and wretched relapse. I spent my twenties and early thirties constantly relapsing. Constantly hating myself. Constantly festering with guilt and shame. Sounds lovely, eh? It was a friggin' nightmare.

I don't have to live that way anymore, though. I don't choose to live that way anymore, either. That way is treacherous and smothering. It's vile and dark. But it's not wrong, and neither are you. It's complicated and can be combated. I've spoken about the tools I used to gain sobriety in my other posts, and my memoir will cover it quite extensively (in less than a month!), so I wanted to touch on three things I've gained and learned during my first year of sobriety.

The first: I like myself. I enjoy my company. I'm funny and compassionate, a good shoulder (albeit bony) to cry on or provide a laugh with. I care about people. I'm clever and charming. Now, please understand that I do not write these things to bolster myself, or as an exercise in narcissism. No, I write them as epiphanies. I spent so many years in self-loathing, I was not capable of seeing my greatest qualities. I thought I was useless, with nothing to offer the world except vodka dragon breath. It wasn't until I put down the bottle that I was able to pick up my confidence. Slowly, I started to see the value in myself, and it gave me happy tingles. And listen, we all deserve to have happy tingles because of self-love.

We all deserve to have fun without the aid of alcohol and drugs, as well. This was my second discovery. And it was mind-blowing, y'all. You must understand, I loved alcohol and drugs. I loved to be altered, all day, every day. I don't care if it was walking to the mailbox to pick up some mail, I wanted to be effed up to do it, bro! Why would I go through life sober when I could be elevated? I would think to myself, "You poor other people, you live such a small, simple life." Oh, it's cute how wrong I was.

We're mislead, my friends. And slightly uncreative in our endeavours. Alcohol and drugs are not necessary to have a good time. Lemme repeat that, since you probably need to read it again: alcohol and drugs are not necessary to have a good time. I say this so emphatically because for a decade I believe differently. I knew differently. But as I've said, I was misguided in my thinking. Once I was able to correct my thought patterns and emotional damage, I understood what people meant by the term "sober fun.” It's not as scary as you think. And, no hangover, no weird messages, no bruises/cuts, no fights, no meltdowns, no arrests. You know, the usuals of keeping your dignity. 

I realize this message will turn some people off: "But Charlie, that's your problem, not mine. Don't project your issues onto me." And for many of you, that's correct. For many of you, drinking casually is totally legit. But I say this because I genuinely care about you, and think it would so friggin' epic if you could feel the way I feel, sober. To hang with your family and friends without the aid of substances. You know, just enjoying their general company. Try it, I bet you'll like it.

The last, and most important thing I learned in my first year, is that everyone suffers from something. Being human is hard! While it may not be addiction, there is a manifestation of some sort that each of us have to contend with. We're all coping through life, doing the best we can with what we've got. Life is patchwork quilt of coping mechanisms, and I wouldn't want it any other way. Realizing this diminished my feeling of loneliness. It helped enforce a feeling of being part of, as we're all part of the human condition. 

It was this profound epiphany that helped fuel the idea of my memoir. The acknowledgement that we're all held together by super glue, and should help more often. Judge less, act with concern more. Take a deep breath and try to see things from the others perspective. Quit being so damn selfish, because we're all hurting. I am immensely grateful this lesson smacked me over the head, for it took away much of my anxiety. Once I was able to see us for who we are, just people trying to make it through the day, I lost much of my anger and resentment. My heart grew three sizes and I melted like butter. Because I love us. I love our broken asses. Yes, yours, too. So shrug it off, keep your chin up, and take the next step forward. Pat your sisters or brothers on the back and keep making moves together. It's so much better that way.

Until next time, have fun. And I love ya.

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