What do I provide…

I’ve been sober over 11 and a half years if I get to May 14th this year one day at a time I’ll be 12 years.

I was listening to the great Buzzkill podcast – with my friends Paul and Kristen talking about recovery and about sober blogging. I’ve been blogging since early 2006 – sadly my first blog “Further on up the road” (hence my anonymous handle in case you ever wondered) got deleted in a fit of some madness in 2008. I’ll be honest it wasn’t going to be a sober blog it was going to be a showcase for my hugely funny and witty anecdotes from where I’d be signed up to be a great novelist or Hollywood script writer, yeah right … I wasn’t living in reality then either.  However my Mum was ill then with lymphoma and we knew she would sooner or later lose her fight against it.  That happened in March/April of that year as she was taken ill and sadly left us.  The blog became this outpouring of my emotions.  This was my first dose of sober grief.  I learnt so much about my disease and me and emotions in that time.  It was actually a privilege to say goodbye to Mum sober unlike when I’d lost my Dad back in my early 20s.  I just suppressed the grief about his passing for 20 years.

Part of the great conversation on the Podcast was about sober male bloggers.  There aren’t that many of us out there, there are a lot more women.  Interestingly Kristen and Paul both claim their local meetings are more male dominated – mine aren’t.  If I’m honest in the 12 years I’ve been around the demographic of my local meetings has moved to an average younger age and to a gender mix that is probably majority female in most meetings.

However it has raised something I’ve been thinking about for sometime now.  What do I provide?  I’m a long way from my last drink.  I do remember it vividly, largely I know since I go to meetings and there is an environment there where I’m reminded about it and I’m repeatedly taken back to that moment of utter desperation and simply looking at the choices of

  1. kill myself
  2. continue to drink – just a slow and more painful version of 1
  3. surrender to win – accept that I simply will try anything that I’m shown might work

Despite myself – I chose Option 2 a couple of months before I stopped – contemplated 1 about a month before I stopped… 3 became the last chance saloon.

However I find it difficult to talk to newcomers or those still drinking – it is becoming such a distance memory that I really find it difficult to have the raw emotion that people in the first few years of recovery have.  I suppose I only really show here and in the meetings I got to that if you stick with abstinence, find a support network that understands and supports you no matter what with total abstinence of judgement since that is what happened to me, and it worked for me someone who was at points 1 and 2 above.  I suppose I then show that those days all add up to years and to decades potentially.  Also I can still read something, hear something on a podcast (like just now!) or talk to someone and I realise I’ve so much to still learn that whilst the drinking maybe fading my needing to understand how to live is still just like a newcomer so often.

I was considering recently whether to blow this and the other blog away since I get relatively little traffic compared with many others but in the end this is my space to just talk about stuff and maybe it’ll be useful for me or someone at some point so why not carry on?  I suppose all I provide is proof that recovery can be sustained but that you have to keep working on yourself and continually remind yourself that drinking is never an option and also I wish I could just wave a wand and all those who are where I was at the end of my drinking or heading there could magically just see that abstinence is achievable and repays the effort you have to put in a thousand fold.  In the end if just one person has stayed sober for one day or hour longer through reading any of my nonsense then I suppose that is what I provide.  Also this helps me stay sober and for me that has to be my top priority.

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About furtheron

Music and guitar obsessive who is a recovering alcoholic to boot
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13 Responses to What do I provide…

  1. Back in May 2014 I wrote a note to myself. It went something like this, “Two decisions made: change jobs, quit drinking”. I blindly reached out online and found your blog. Your words shone such a brilliant light on the path in front of me that I was taken aback. Honestly, I remember turning away from the screen, short of breath and half-way through a post because the realisation I wasn’t alone was overwhelming. So, I just wanted to let you know that though traffic here may be slow, it sure has high impact.

  2. I don’t see it as nonsense at all. I think you have a pretty compelling story arc. You’re providing a service here. I had no insight into what it’s like to rise above an addiction. I’m lucky. But as far as continuing on, never write because you feel obligated. Do it because you’re compelled to. Because you can’t NOT write.

  3. Sherry says:

    I don’t think I can adequately express what your blog and your comments on mine mean to me. You are the calm in the storm. You show me that long term sober life is joyful and crazy and sad and wonderful. It’s just…normal.

    Every one of your posts that is just about everyday sober life or looks back and marvels about how you got to where you are or, occasionally, reaches back and tells a story about your life prior to sobriety calms me. You make me not afraid to walk into my sober future.

    Just sayin’

    Sherry

  4. I enjoyed reading your post and the comments that followed even more. I agree with the sense of calm you provide. I’ve never fought these battles, but through my friendship with Christy, I am drawn to the friendships blogs like yours foster. I listened to the Paul and Kristen podcast – another reminder of the great bloggy friends who fill my life with richness. You are most definitely included. Thank you!

  5. You provide A LOT. I read your posts and feel like you’ve blazed a trail for those of us with less sober time. It’s meaningful and important to me, and doubtless for many others!

  6. I’m glad you’re still blogging. It’s comforting to know you are out there, sober and thriving.

  7. I love you! And one of the many reasons is just what you said. You are another person who goes to AA and stayed sober for a long time!
    You show me that being sober can be awesome!
    xo
    Wendy

  8. looby says:

    There you go..I think everyone’s answered your question very well!

  9. byebyebeer says:

    Interesting that your meetings are younger and more female, but maybe the numbers are shifting. (And to be fair, I haven’t been to a meeting in a long time. Also, make-up varies by meeting.) it was an interesting question posed by Paul and now I’m more curious about it. As to what you provide – at meetings and here – wow, well what don’t you provide? You’re warm, positive, unconditionally supportive, non judgmental. You’re the golden ticket as far as I’m concerned. Your blog was one of the first I followed.

  10. furtheron says:

    Thank you all for the very kind comments. I feel massively humbled. I’d slipped into a typical alcoholic trait that of making it all about me when it should be all about others.

  11. Suburbia says:

    Always enjoy reading here, though don’t get about much these days! Don’t stop!

  12. abbiegrrl says:

    Hey, friend. I totally feel you. I think a lot of my dis-connected feelings came from no longer being “active” in my recovery. Sober? Sure, 23 years and counting. But I felt, and feel still, to a lesser degree, a bit stale. So I’m reaching out. Looking at going through the steps again.
    Sometimes I feel underwhelmed by where I am, as opposed to where I “should” be. But, we’re all fighting our own battles, aren’t we?
    Great post. You’re (probably) “right where you’re supposed to be”. 😉

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