Drunk On Words: sobriety challenged or sober-minded.

restaurant cocktail drink glass

The only way to take back control is to relinquish control.

Karen Esbenshade

Part Three – Drunk On Words, are you challenged by sobriety or sober-minded?

Challenged by Sobriety

Once it was brought to my attention that I had a problem with alcohol, I had to identify my problem. Then I needed to implement a plan of action. The problem I now face is how to handle my sobriety. Will I be sobriety challenged or sober-minded? My goal is to achieve sobriety, but what does that even mean?

I thought the term alcoholism was a difficult concept to understand, but even more confusing is the term sobriety. Sobriety is something I really struggled with and still do. Not the actual act of staying sober. I have no problem with alcohol temptation. The obsession to consume alcohol had been lifted early on in my recovery. Being left with obsessing with the idea of sobriety.

Sober means many different things to many different people. So let’s refer to our glossary of terms to help us better find a solution to our problem. All terms sourced from Oxford languages, unless noted otherwise.

Sobriety, noun, the state of being sober.

Sober, adjective, not affected by alcohol; not drunk.

Wow… Sounds like while being sober, I can still enjoy a glass of wine. Simply not overindulge and allow it to affect my demeanor. According to my treatment plan I have been taught sobriety is the ultimate goal. Meaning abstinence is the key to success for the alcoholic. To practice abstinence one would need to abstain.

Abstain, verb, restrain oneself from doing or enjoying something.

There goes that one glass of wine. Unless, of course, if my actual objective is to not refrain from consuming any alcoholic beverage. For the first sixteen months post traumatic life event I did abstain from all alcohol. While visiting our hometown for a wedding I decided to have one glass of wine. I ordered a glass of wine, sipped on it and did not finish it. Since I have had an occasional glass of wine, but have been very mindful of my past problem.

Sobriety Challenged vs. Sober-Minded

We alcoholic and/or problem drinkers are all unique. In order to create your plan of action it is important to understand your problem. For me an addiction to alcohol was taking hold. It was my actions which contributed to my desire for change. Following an evening of binge drinking, I was involved in a traumatic incident which led to an altercation with law enforcement. Due to my consumption of alcohol I was unable to perform under pressure. From that one experience I decided to not allow an outside influence take control of how I react to any and all future situations.

Following a quick Google search I found there is no such thing as “Sobriety Challenged.” I coined the term and apply it to all my friends present and in the past who have attempted or completed the “Dry January” challenge. The second term, “Sober-minded” I referenced https://www.gotquestions.org/sober-minded.html for my explanation.

Sobriety challenged is a derogatory term for the person who thinks the January challenge is a good idea.

The January challenge is when a person decides they need to cleanse their body of alcohol following a period of alcohol abuse.

February 1 the person may resume overindulging in alcohol consumption.

Sober-minded means being free from intoxicating influences.

Our minds not being under control of a dangerous outside force.

Not allowing our minds to be captivated by any type of influence that would lead us away from good judgment.

Sobriety challenge: the short term solution.

Typically, I will not disparage anyone from taking a hiatus from drinking alcohol or openly insult someone struggling with alcoholism on my platform, but for those who do struggle, Dry January isn’t a solution. Dry January supposedly offers all these health benefits, yada, yada, yada, but has nothing to do with solving the root of our drinking problems. Over the last thirty years I have done the “nine-month challenge” twice, both times for the health of my unborn daughters. I chose to abstain from alcohol, not be sober-minded. When we simply abstain from alcohol we are just Dry Drunks.

Dry Drunk, per Wikipedia, is a colloquial expression that describes an alcoholic who no longer drinks but otherwise maintains the same behavior patterns of an alcoholic.

Sobriety challenged or sober-minded the answer is clear.

The Dry January Challenge is for the Dry Drunk, while the Sober-minded Challenge is for the serious drunk. While the January challenge lasts a month the sober-minded challenge is a lifestyle. In order for me to succeed and maintain a sober-mind it isn’t so much about the alcohol, but developing better life skills. I found the only way to take back control is to relinquish control. Daily, I have learned to surrender to my Higher Power, God, and accept life on His terms.

“What we do with our bodies is an act of praise to God. Therefore, anything you do to hurt or damage your body will prevent or limit you from fully honoring the Lord, making yourself freely available for service to Him, fulfilling your purpose, and reaching your full potential.” Charles F. Stanley

“But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.”

2 Timothy 4:5 NLT

As an imperfect human my growth is spurred on by a life catastrophe, because I chose to ignore my struggles. Instead of choosing to look inward and identify the source of the problem, which was ME, I placed blame on the society around me. The end result was to numb my discomfort and quell my anxieties with that one glass of wine. By the grace of God I was able to seek forgiveness and unearth my flaws. Through sharing with others I was able to accept my flawed self and learn I did not need to suffer alone. The result peace, from a loving God, not the spirit in the bottle.

What are your struggles?

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