Off-topic: 20 Years

Today is the 20th anniversary of my sobriety. Sobriety, abstinence, and recovery are often conflated. They're not the same things.

Salvage Path

I got sober because drinking was interfering with my recovery. I say "I got sober," not just "I stopped drinking." Abstinence was as necessary for my sobriety as sobriety was for my recovery, but I don't equate sobriety with abstinence. Today, I have the occasional glass of beer or wine with dinner. I am still sober.

I mark the beginning of my recovery in 1990, when I began individual counseling with a trauma specialist. Though I've lost track of the specific date, it's sometime in May, so I'm coming up on 23 years of recovery.

A few years in, I came to describe my recovery in three stages:
  • I can't do it alone.
  • I don't have to do it alone.
  • I don't want to do it alone.
Simple as it seems, those who know me know that "doing it alone" is kind of my default mode. Getting to any willingness to let others in was a big deal. I can't even know all the people who supported me through all of this.

Path to Nowhere

Recovery is not an event. It's a path. It took me a long time to find my way. I'm still in transit.

Related Content

Spot, 2008-02-23
On Activism, 2008-01-18
Gardeners for Recovery, 2007-09-11

A wandering path


carolyn mullet said...

Nice personal essay. Congratulations. I'm curious how you feel about the title of Amy Stewart's new book, "The Drunken Botanist."

Elizabeth Kenney said...

Beautiful words. Gardening can be such wonderful therapy - I wonder if you feel if tending your lovely garden has helped you on your path?