I’m Jerry. I’m an alcoholic. This is where you say, “Hi, Jerry.”

I’ve been around the tables for over thirty years. I’ve got a few days of sobriety under my belt. What keeps me sober? Remembering the things I’ve learned over the past thirty years. Let me share a few of the lessons with you.

There’s Life Past Addiction

At one time I just knew life would end when I got sober. That didn’t happen. My life has become more manageable, enjoyable and drama-free. I’m able to do more now and recovery has opened doors. Writing has become an outlet and restoration has allowed writing to become my full-time job.

I’m Present — Every Moment

Most of us skate through life when we’re active in our alcoholism. Trips, events and get-togethers aren’t remembered because of alcohol. Sober living gives us permission to be mindful of every moment in our life. That’s beautiful.

Hangovers

Hangovers are not part of life anymore. We used to think alcohol brought us joy when we were drinking. We could forget about the dark brown taste the morning after. Hangovers brought on nausea and headaches. Today, we are happy that we never have to feel that way again. Ever.

End of Forgetfulness

We can remember everything. Blackouts may have been a part of our drinking. There’s nothing more frightening than having one. It’s horrible to wake and find we can’t remember the night before. Knowing we don’t have to go through that again is a gift.

Travel

When we were drinking, we thought we were a global traveler. We didn’t, but we enjoyed the thought. Too often, even when we just traveled around the country, we forgot what we saw and why we were there. We used to schedule our trips around nightclubs and happy hours. Now, we plan vacations around historical landmarks and great food. We never worried about drinking and driving because everyone did it. Now, we put our sobriety first, and we can enjoy the smell and atmosphere of where we go.

Relationships

We can enjoy genuine relationships. We were notorious for toxic relationships, but we also had poisonous friendships. We would surround ourselves with those who drank and acted the way we wanted them to. It was all about us and we’ve come to learn, in sobriety, that relationships are a two-way street. Respect is mutual.

Consciousness Altering

We don’t have to change our consciousness to enjoy life. One reason we drank was to avoid dealing with reality. The ins and outs of life affect us, and we wanted to be numb. We drank to ignore the bad — that also made us unable to feel the good.

Coping Mechanisms

Being sober, we have the coping mechanisms needed to survive in the real world. Coping wasn’t something we were good at. We were never taught. When alcohol came along, it became our coping mechanism. It worked — until it didn’t. Now we can put the time into learning new coping skills that work.

Healthy

When we drank, we would catch every cold that showed up. We had stomach problems and came to expect ‘throwing up’ as being a regular part of drinking and life. Sleep wasn’t a priority. Eating wasn’t either. Sobriety allows us to learn about eating healthy, getting the right kind of exercise and enjoying a night’s rest. We have higher energy levels.

These are just the beginning of the reasons we enjoy sober living. Life has a purpose. We’re content and can thrive.