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Don't be a Quitter

One of my readers and recent events at the Olympics both inspired me and reminded me of some things I have experienced in the past with my sobriety and alcohol-free life. Simone Biles had to pull out of the Olympics due to a medical condition affecting her ability to remain aware of her body positioning while spinning, twirling, and flipping through the air. It is not only a well-known condition that occurs to gymnasts, but it is also something that occurs quite often and nobody is immune to the devasting effects it has on those who suffer from the condition known as the twisties. For fear of her own personal safety and the potential to negatively affect the ability of the USA Women's gymnastics team chances of obtaining medals, she withdrew from the Olympics. People, and I truly am at a loss for words here, have degraded her for her decision and called her a quitter. While I know it is not the same thing, this reminded me of my first week of sobriety when I told my favorite bartender not to pour me a drink because I had quit drinking. Her response was, "Awww, don't be a quitter."

A reader reached out to me recently to tell me a little bit about their story and some concerns they have with remaining sober. First of all, his sober trajectory is fantastic. He is thinking about the right things, looking at his relationship with alcohol, allowing himself to believe his journey, thus far, has been easy, and reading and arming himself with the knowledge necessary to remain successful in sobriety. His concern revolved around what I often refer to as the Society of Alcohol. He is from England and said he struggles with turning down invites to stags and weddings because they are simply a reason for people to drink. He doesn't know how to deal with being around people who are so freely drinking. I responded by stating, while he was certainly on the right track, there was still some work to be done. I say this because if we are still looking at alcohol in a positive light, worrying about what others think of our decisions to live healthier more fulfilled lives, or simply not sure how to have fun sober with people who are drinking, we have not fully embraced the joy of living alcohol-free, yet. But we will if we truly want to, and I believe this gentleman not only wants to but already does, he just hasn't fully given himself permission to believe it.

We have to have a plan to deal with the society of alcohol's passive-aggressive

badgering to get us to drink

I remember feeling truly floored when my bartender made light of my decision to quit drinking. Now, I get it, it is their business, and part of their business is to be snarky and sell liquor. Nevertheless, it affected me greatly and I stopped going to that bowling alley because of it. It wasn't a conscious decision or anything, I just slowly drifted away from it and found other places to go because of the not-so-positive feeling of the exchange. I honestly have no hard feelings and am still friends with her on Facebook. The point is, the society of alcohol is everywhere. It is around us all the time and it is supported by our friends, family, coworkers, and strangers. No matter where we go or what we do, we will be subjected to the power it yields over the general public and our lives. With that said, even when we have a solid relationship with our sobriety, we have to have a plan to deal with the society of alcohol's passive-aggressive badgering to get us to drink.

First of all, we are not quitters. We did not quit drinking, we began living; there is a difference. One of the definitions of the word quit is as follows: to cease normal, expected, or necessary action ( Drinking is none of these things. Well, it is normal and expected, sadly, but it is certainly not necessary. Regardless, it should not be normal or expected. There was a time when smoking was normal and expected, but we finally acknowledged and accepted it as poison. You never hear anyone make light of someone who quit smoking. Those people are praised, celebrated, and even rewarded, as we should be. We, as a society, have not acknowledged and accepted alcohol as a poison, yet, but we will. Although, alcohol has succeeded in creating the most brilliant marketing and self-perpetuating scheme ever known to humankind. It doesn't even really need marketing anymore. We, as a society, market it every single day by word of mouth. By showing our reverence for it, by putting up shrines around it, by bragging about our tolerance to it, by touting it as our savior, by exclaiming our undying love for the infamously lethal libation we often proclaim ourselves so deserving of. I did not quit drinking, I began living and that I deserve.

When we feel FOMO we are living in a deficit mindset

Secondly, the FOMO we think we feel in social settings inundated with alcohol is a fallacy. We are not missing out on anything by not drinking. We are, in all actuality, gaining so much more. I wrote about FOMO vs. JOMO recently and it was one of my favorite blogs. If you are not aware of the acronym, as I wasn't, JOMO is the Joy Of Missing Out. I love the idea because it is a simple shift in perception to turn something quite devastating into something wonderfully powerful and freeing. When we feel FOMO we are living in a deficit mindset. We believe we are NOT having as much fun as everyone else. We believe we are NOT experiencing the same happiness as those drinking. We believe we are NOT capable of enjoying ourselves as much as those who are drunk. What a crock of shit! I can wrap up this fallacy in one short period of time. The next morning. What do you remember? What did you offer to the conversation? How annoying were you? How many things do you regret saying or doing? How do you feel? The sober person and the hungover person have vastly different answers to these questions. Not to mention only one of them is promising to never do THAT again.

Lastly, there are always going to be people who do not understand our decisions, actions, and direction. In regard to living an alcohol-free life, I say forget anyone who does not support us or our positive and healthy life choices. Simone Biles made an enormously difficult decision to support her health and well-being over her immediate wants and goals and is suffering ridicule for it. I say, screw that. I say, congratulations, Simone, we are proud of you. Is anyone aware of the number of lifelong injuries suffered by past Olympians whom most of us don't even remember their names? There are times to be selfish. There are times to put our needs first. There are times to stand up for ourselves and do what benefits us the most. Simone chose this as one of those times and I deeply hope she is able to drown out the negative criticism associated with her decision and to live happily knowing she did the right thing. I wish the same for my reader who reached out and inspired this blog. You are on the right track, my friend. You are making the right choice. You are choosing life and I applaud you for your courageous decision.

What if... sobriety was celebrated as much as any other life achievement?

#sober #soberlife #soberliving #sobriety #recovery #addiction #recoveryposse #alcoholic 

#soberpodcast #soberblog #blog #podcast #writingcommunity #bestseller #livingwell #grateful #gratitude #joyoflife #happiness #JOMO #FOMO #whatif #goals

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