Dear Sobriety – Vol. 18 (archive)

This weekend Jennie and I revisit a volume of Words originally posted in June 2013, “Dear Sobriety.” After remodeling around here (hope you like the new theme!) we’ve decided to take a short break, so we’ll be closing comments this weekend. Don’t worry though; new posts are still going out daily on Words for the Year and we’ll revisit the archives whenever we take a breather. We hope you enjoy. Have a peaceful weekend, we’ll see you all soon. -Christy and Jennie


“My hands are shaking
But I can still pour the mistake that I’m making
And I’ll pour one more
It runs in my family, it runs in my blood
And just like my daddy, I can’t get enough
Every last drop I say is the last
Then I drive to the store and I fill up my glass

Dear Sobriety
Please come back to me…
I need you desperately
Dear Sobriety”

~ “Dear Sobriety” performed by Pistol Annies. Available on Annie Up.


Alternate song: “Beautiful World” performed by Colin Hay on album Going Somewhere. (Originally shared in: “Perhaps This As Good As It Gets“)

“And still this emptiness persists
Perhaps this is as good as it gets
When you’ve given up the drink and those nasty cigarettes
Now I leave the party early at least with no regrets
I watch the sun as it comes up I watch it as it sets
Yeah this is as good as it gets”


“There’a a phrase, “the elephant in the living room”, which purports to describe what it’s like to live with a drug addict, an alcoholic, an abuser. People outside such relationships will sometimes ask, “How could you let such a business go on for so many years? Didn’t you see the elephant in the living room?” And it’s so hard for anyone living in a more normal situation to understand the answer that comes closest to the truth; “I’m sorry, but it was there when I moved in. I didn’t know it was an elephant; I thought it was part of the furniture.” There comes an aha-moment for some folks – the lucky ones – when they suddenly recognize the difference.” ― Stephen King


Banksy art exhibit "Barely Legal" in Los Angeles, 16 September 2006. (Via Wiki Commons)

Banksy art exhibit “Barely Legal” in Los Angeles, 16 September 2006. (Via Wiki Commons)


“Alcohol ruined me financially and morally, broke my heart and the hearts of too many others. Even though it did this to me and it almost killed me and I haven’t touched a drop of it in seventeen years, sometimes I wonder if I could get away with drinking some now. I totally subscribe to the notion that alcoholism is a mental illness because thinking like that is clearly insane.” ― Craig Ferguson, American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot


“I think the warning labels on alcoholic beverages are too bland. They should be more vivid. Here is one I would suggest: “Alcohol will turn you into the same asshole your father was.” ― George Carlin, When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?


“It’s like when my doctor told me the story of these two brothers whose dad was a bad alcoholic. One brother grew up to be a successful carpenter and never drank. The other brother ended up being a drinker as bad as his dad was. When they asked the first brother why he didn’t drink, he said that after he saw what it did to his father, he could never bring himself to even try it. When they asked the other brother, he said that he guessed he learned how to drink on his father’s knee. So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.” ― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower


“There’s not an alcoholic in the world who wants to be told what to do. Alcoholics are sometimes described as egomaniacs with inferiority complexes. Or, to be cruder, a piece of shit that the universe revolves around …

There’s a peculiar thing that happens every time you get clean. You go through this sensation of rebirth. There’s something intoxicating about the process of the comeback, and that becomes an element in the whole cycle of addiction. Once you’ve beaten yourself down with cocaine and heroin, and you manage to stop and walk out of the muck you begin to get your mind and body strong and reconnect with your spirit. The oppressive feeling of being a slave to the drugs is still in your mind, so by comparison, you feel phenomenal. You’re happy to be alive, smelling the air and seeing the beauty around you…You have a choice of what to do. So you experience this jolt of joy that you’re not where you came from and that in and of itself is a tricky thing to stop doing. Somewhere in the back of your mind, you know that every time you get clean, you’ll have this great new feeling.

Cut to: a year later, when you’ve forgotten how bad it was and you don’t have that pink-cloud sensation of being newly sober. When I look back, I see why these vicious cycles can develop in someone who’s been sober for a long time and then relapses and doesn’t want to stay out there using, doesn’t want to die, but isn’t taking the full measure to get well again. There’s a concept in recovery that says ‘Half-measures avail us nothing.’ When you have a disease, you can’t take half the process of getting well and think you’re going to get half well; you do half the process of getting well, you’re not going to get well at all, and you’ll go back to where you came from. Without a thorough transformation, you’re the same guy, and the same guy does the same shit. I kept half-measuring it, thinking I was going to at least get something out of this deal, and I kept getting nothing out of it …

The good news is that by the second year, those cravings were about as half as frequent, and by the third year, half as much again. I’m still a little bent, a little crooked, but all things crooked, I can’t complain. After all those years of all kinds of abuse and crashing into trees at eighty miles an hour and jumping off buildings and living through overdoses and liver disease, I feel better now than I did ten years ago. I might have some scar tissue, but that’s alright, I’m still making progress. ” ― Anthony KiedisScar Tissue


“I sit there and think how it isn’t fair that I can’t drink at all, even a little. I realize I have crammed an entire lifetime of moderate drinking into a decade of hard-core drinking and that is why. I blew my wad.” ― Augusten Burroughs, Dry


“Hitch: making rules about drinking can be the sign of an alcoholic,’ as Martin Amis once teasingly said to me. (Adorno would have savored that, as well.) Of course, watching the clock for the start-time is probably a bad sign, but here are some simple pieces of advice for the young. Don’t drink on an empty stomach: the main point of the refreshment is the enhancement of food. Don’t drink if you have the blues: it’s a junk cure. Drink when you are in a good mood. Cheap booze is a false economy. It’s not true that you shouldn’t drink alone: these can be the happiest glasses you ever drain. Hangovers are another bad sign, and you should not expect to be believed if you take refuge in saying you can’t properly remember last night. (If you really don’t remember, that’s an even worse sign.) Avoid all narcotics: these make you more boring rather than less and are not designed—as are the grape and the grain—to enliven company. Be careful about up-grading too far to single malt Scotch: when you are voyaging in rough countries it won’t be easily available. Never even think about driving a car if you have taken a drop. It’s much worse to see a woman drunk than a man: I don’t know quite why this is true but it just is. Don’t ever be responsible for it.” ― Christopher HitchensHitch-22: A Memoir


“I felt empty and sad for years, and for a long, long time, alcohol worked. I’d drink, and all the sadness would go away. Not only did the sadness go away, but I was fantastic. I was beautiful, funny, I had a great figure, and I could do math. But at some point, the booze stopped working. That’s when drinking started sucking. Every time I drank, I could feel pieces of me leaving. I continued to drink until there was nothing left. Just emptiness.” ― Dina Kucera, Everything I Never Wanted to Be


“We’re all searching for something to fill up what I like to call that big, God-shaped hole in our souls. Some people use alcohol, or sex, or their children, or food, or money, or music, or heroin. A lot of people even use the concept of God itself. I could go on and on. I used to know a girl who used shoes. She had over two-hundred pairs. But it’s all the same thing, really. People, for some stupid reason, think they can escape their sorrows.” ― Tiffanie DeBartolo, God-Shaped Hole


“A lot of people feel like they’re victims in life, and they’ll often point to past events, perhaps growing up with an abusive parent or in a dysfunctional family. Most psychologists believe that about 85 percent of families are dysfunctional, so all of a sudden you’re not so unique. My parents were alcoholics. My dad abused me. My mother divorced him when I was six… I mean, that’s almost everybody’s story in some form or not. The real question is,what are you going to do now? What do you choose now? Because you can either keep focusing on that, or you can focus on what you want. And when people start focusing on what they want, what they don’t want falls away, and what they want expands, and the other part disappears. (Jack Canfield)” ― Rhonda Byrne, The Secret


Club Soda Nights — by Clinton B. Campbell

It’s usually at a party
when I’m holding a watered
down club soda, someone will
politely ask, “How you doin?”
or “What’s up?” The smell
of his gin is a bad memory,
tinkling ice cubes cut
into my spine and I blurt out,
“I’ve been sober 14 years.”

It stops meaningful conversation,
the party goers sail
a wide berth around me.
They hide their doubles
in plant stands, get nervous
as if I said I was contagious
and could infect their children.

They look at me as the kind
who drive old cars pasted
with new bumper stickers,
the slick cliché’s boasting,
“One day at a time”
or “Easy does it.”

My wife sees this,
makes a gesture to leave.
She starts with her best friend
tell her, tomorrow is an early day,
promises the hostess she will
call soon, chat, but she won’t.

We drive away in silence.
It’s times like these
I miss the old days, I want to
put the lamp shade back on my head,
do the bump and grind with
the blonde from the steno pool
and call in tomorrow, sick for a week.

She takes my hand, asks if I’m OK,
and we take the long way home.

 “Club Soda Nights” by Clinton B. Campbell, from After Shocks, The Poetry of Recovery


Bonus song: “One Day at a Time” by Joe Walsh, from album Analog Man. (Lyrics)

Via Joe’s YouTube Channel: “This song is about my path out of the darkness of drug addiction and alcoholism. The message is that there is a way out and a new life waiting in recovery that is good. The first step is to ask for help… I’m doing this because if it helps 1 person – it was worth it. It’s by giving back that we receive and I am eternally grateful for my sobriety and my life today.” ~ Joe Walsh

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