Alcoholics Anonymous defines sobriety as “freedom from alcohol”.
Sobriety — freedom from alcohol — through the teaching and practice of the Twelve Steps is the sole purpose of an A.A. group.
This is my favourite definition because think it perfectly defines what being sober means for an alcoholic. For a person who is not an alcoholic, being sober really does just mean, “not affected by alcohol”.
To me, being sober means to be free from:
- Risking my life as a result of my drinking – stumbling on to the road, passing out where nobody can find me, being with people who do not have my best interests in mind.
- Being unable to help others because I am physically not in a state to do so.
- The mental energy exhausted as I plan to try and”control” my drinking within a reasonable limit.
- The fear of knowing I will likely drink to the point of damaging personal relationships, risking my career, hurting myself, and blacking out.
When I am sober I can safely walk, speak, communicate, and make decisions.
The first night I went out sober with my friends, I had a moment when I felt relieved to actually be in control for once. I didn’t have to worry about saying something I would regret, being unable to recall an important conversation, or being overwhelmed by my emotions in a drunken haze.
I went out that night to celebrate a good friend’s birthday. As we all sat around the table at the bar, I realized that for the first time I was entirely present. I wasn’t thinking about my next drink, or myself very much at all. By being sober, I could be there to support my friend on her birthday and focus my attention on someone other than myself.
There are many types of freedom that I gain when I am not drinking, but most importantly, I am myself when I am sober.