Courtesy the fix
One of the first quotes I heard in early sobriety was, “Sobriety delivers everything alcohol promised.” At first it seemed confusing to me, but after a while I began to learn exactly what this meant. Alcohol makes a lot of empty promises. If it didn’t, I don’t think I would have been so attached to it for so long. For many of us, alcohol becomes our higher power, our guiding light, our solution for all the hardships we face. We look to it to provide us with support, relief, strength, and happiness. But we quickly find that alcohol’s relief is extremely temporary, and that in some circumstances it even makes things worse. Every time I drank I went into the night feeling invincible, glamorous, and like any pain would leave me as soon as the vodka touched my lips. In reality, alcohol doesn’t deliver a lot, it robs people every day of the things that mean the most to them, and for me it was no different. Here are 8 things alcohol promises, but sobriety actually delivers.
1. Social lubricant
We’ve all heard about liquid courage and the power alcohol has on socialization. For me, I used it so often that I arrived at the point in my life where I couldn’t comfortably socialize without alcohol. And although it can seem like your cares fall away when you drink, sometimes this can go too far. For me, I needed those inhibitions back. I ended up making decisions that I would have never made had I been sober and thinking about my own moral values. With alcohol involved, I was acting like someone I wasn’t. Once I got sober I was able to truly be myself, without the crutch of alcohol, and that’s when I was able to be authentically social.
For many of us, alcohol becomes our “security blanket,” meaning that at every event or social situation we find ourselves in, there’s alcohol waiting to make us feel good. We depend on alcohol to make events fun, and without it we don’t trust that anything would be enjoyable. We expect alcohol to be that constant in our life, but in reality it shakes everything up. I looked to alcohol for security, but it never delivered. Sobriety has provided me with security time and time again, and I can depend on it to always be there for me.
When I drank alcohol there were times when it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It took my mind and body to this safe place where nothing bad could happen to me—or so I thought. But this feeling was just a façade. Alcohol was actually doing the opposite of keeping me safe. It was putting me in dangerous situations. It gave me a false sense of safety that encouraged me to do things I wouldn’t normally do. Once I entered recovery, I was able to feel safe for the first time. Waking up, knowing exactly what I did the night before, without any shame or guilt is a sense of safety I haven’t known since childhood.
Everything we do in life, we hope leads us to one thing: happiness. Alcohol is no different. For a lot of people, alcohol is the happiness elixir. A few drinks and you’re happier than a clam. But did you know alcohol is actually a depressant? Yes, it can give us a spontaneous burst of energy and lower our inhibitions, but the next day we’re left feeling tired, empty, and sad. This was true for me. When I was intoxicated I felt like I was having the time of my life, but the following days brought to the lowest of lows. I found true happiness in being sober and getting to know the real me, without alcohol and drugs.
5. Stress relief
One of the biggest promises of alcohol is that it provides stress relief. It’s not uncommon to hear, “I’ve had a hard day, I need a drink!” Unfortunately, in our society alcohol is linked to relieving stress. It might distract us for a short amount of time, but in the end it just puts off the stress that we need to deal with to move through life. It wasn’t until I got sober that I learned healthy coping mechanisms and how to deal with stress. My stress levels also decreased after alcohol was removed from the equation.
6. Deep conversations
When I was drinking I used to create plans on how to save the world, or more, with complete strangers. I really felt deeply connected to these people and these conversations, but the next day I couldn’t recall what we talked about. Sometimes I would find out and it would be something like a new flavor of Cheetos—super deep. In getting sober I realized that these deep connections weren’t deep at all. I was mostly talking gibberish or crazy thoughts that would never formulate into action. Sobriety has given me the ability to connect with others on a real, authentic level and remember all of the conversations I have.
The only way I thought I had a lively personality was when I was drinking. Alcohol promised to make me glamorous, sexy, funny, and witty. I truly believe I had all of these characteristics when I drank until I took an honest look at myself and listened to what others around me were saying. Sure, I might have said a funny line here or there, but mostly I embarrassed myself and wore a mask that wasn’t mine. Being sober allows me to communicate with others exactly how I am and I’ve learned about my personality traits—good and bad.
8. Pain relief
This is the biggest one out of them all! Alcohol is most often used as a pain reliever, whether the pain is emotional or physical. We look at alcohol as our cure for any type of pain and we trust that it will cure us always. I got to the point where I realized that alcohol was causing all of my pain. Every bad thing that happened to me was associated with drinking alcohol. I hurt myself, others, and I also felt the pain of guilt, shame, and remorse. The only thing that made me feel better was quitting alcohol. After I quit I was able to heal from the pain alcohol had caused and I knew I wouldn’t be causing myself more pain by continuing to drink.
Alcohol makes countless empty promises, but it’s up to us to not fall for its deception. If you need relief, happiness, or connection of any kind, I promise you, sobriety is the thing you’re looking for.