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Addicted to Sobriety

I have noticed a trending phrase floating around in sobriety a lot lately, and I have to be honest in saying I very much dislike not only its denotation but also its connotation. The saying is, "I am addicted to sobriety." Okay, is it clever? Yeah, on some level I get it. It's clever and cute, but accurate and helpful, I am not so sure. As someone who has been under the spell of several addictions throughout my life, I am not one to throw around the addict or addiction terms loosely, especially in regard to things I consider to be positive. I can already tell this is going to be one of those blogs a person can either take or leave because most of what I am about to say is wildly open for interpretation, and depending on where you sit in your sobriety and beliefs, you may or may not agree with anything I have to say. Nevertheless, I strongly believe there is some merit in the idea that regardless of how cute it may sound, we should NEVER be addicted to sobriety.

First, let's start with the denotation of the word. The funny thing about words is the myriad of definitions each one seems to have and the word addict is no different. If you look up the word addict, the definitions range from medical conditions and diseases to light-hearted references to chocolate addiction. Anyone who has experienced addiction knows there is nothing light-hearted about it. While there may be many definitions for the word addict, I chose this one to focus on because it supports my theory about why we are not addicted to sobriety:

Noun - one exhibiting a compulsive, chronic, physiological, or psychological need for a

habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity.

There are several words in this definition that scream negativity to me: compulsive, chronic, habit-forming, and need. Compulsive implies acting against one's own wishes. Chronic most commonly refers to lasting illness. Habit-forming can be both good and bad but in regard to addiction, it feels mostly bad to me. And, of course, need. Need implies necessity as in life-sustaining.

I am talking about the negativity associated with the literal definition of the word addict

Now, habit-forming can be good too, right? Of course, but like anything, too much of anything can be negative. Recently, I have taken up drumming and I have to be honest in saying I have to be careful not to let drumming be an addiction too. That may sound a little counter-intuitive. Why would learning something new be negative? Well, if all I do is play drums and I drop the ball on the rest of my life, well then, drumming is just as much a negative addiction as anything else. And need, too, right? We may need to be sober to live the life we want to live. I get that. But, what I am talking about here is the negativity associated with the literal definition of the word addict. Generally speaking, addiction is used in reference to a habit that negatively affects our lives, whether it is a substance or behavior. Believe me, I know both.

Let's talk a little bit about connotation. Connotation is the feeling a word invokes upon reading, saying, or hearing it. I don't know about you, but the words addict and addiction bring up an array of feelings for me and none of them are even remotely positive. Even if I heard someone say they are addicted to chocolate, I would cringe a little and think to myself, I'm sorry. I don't wish any kind of addiction on anyone. What about exercise. Can addiction to exercise be unhealthy? It can. Injuries occur because of the overuse of muscles, tendons, and ligaments all the time. I'm addicted to my partner. OH for fuck's sake, NO! Never, never a good connotation. I'm addicted to work. Noooo! Addiction is not a positive answer to anything. We do NOT want to be addicted to anything or anyone, ever.

Do I need alcohol? If the answer is yes, I have a negative relationship with alcohol

I'm addicted to sobriety. No, no you're not. You are loving your sobriety like you should love your partner in a healthy relationship. Remember Annie Grace's talk about our relationship with alcohol? Well, this is what we are talking about. You can have a positive relationship with alcohol and you can have a negative relationship with alcohol. Likewise, you can have a positive relationship with your sobriety and you can have a negative relationship with your sobriety. Like everything else in life and sobriety, it all really comes down to our perception. Do I need alcohol? If the answer is yes, I have a negative relationship with alcohol. Do I miss alcohol? If the answer is yes, I have a negative relationship with alcohol. What does a positive relationship with alcohol look like? Here is how I view my relationship with alcohol. I am aware of alcohol and the fallacy it perpetuates, because of this, it has no place in my life. I don't want it, I don't miss it, I don't need it, I don't even really think about it. I know it is there and I simply don't use it.

Wait a minute. You said we can have a negative relationship with our sobriety too. How does that work? Well, this one gets a little tricky, but bear with me. Do you need your sobriety? If the answer is yes, then chances are you still have a negative relationship with alcohol. Meaning, because of your desire to drink you need sobriety to keep you on track. There is a very large difference between needing sobriety and choosing sobriety because you no longer have a desire for alcohol. Needing sobriety correlates to a negative relationship between it and alcohol. Choosing sobriety correlates to a positive relationship between it and alcohol. As is true with many of my views on sobriety and addiction, I know many of you have bristled at some of these statements. I understand why. I do. But I also understand the reason for many of the bristles we feel to conflicting information we hear are a result of past conditioning. It goes against what we know, what we have learned, what we have been taught. We bristle because it challenges our comfort zone. As stated perfectly by Neale Donald Walsch, "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."

I am definitely not addicted to my sobriety. I am, however, addicted to life

Yes, I am addicted to my sobriety is a cute saying. It is clever. It is eye-catching. It'll get a lot of likes. But, is it really something we want to say let alone feel? If you ask me, I have to say, "Fuck No!" I am definitely not addicted to my sobriety. I am, however, addicted to life. Wait. How is that different? You said no addiction is healthy. You said all addictions are negative. I know, I know, but hear me out. What makes addictions negative? They interfere with our ability to live our lives well. With that said, if I am addicted to living, I am living my life fully. I am taking advantage of it every single day. I am constantly learning, growing, and evolving. I am embracing the time I have left on this planet by appreciating those who choose to spend time with me. I am grateful for the abundance I have in my life. I am present, aware, and conscious of my surroundings. I am living the best possible life I can live. And, because of that, yes:

I am addicted to life.

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