Unapologetically Sober

By: Laura McWilliams, Industry Health

In life, we spend a lot of time apologizing for things. It’s a pleasantry, a knee jerk response, just something we say. One of my biggest hurdles to overcome in my own sobriety work is the need to please everyone, or to not ever make anyone uncomfortable. This can be accomplished by being very quiet, hiding myself, not speaking up, not sharing parts of myself, letting others take the lead, going along with ideas that I don’t really agree with, deciding it’s too much energy to argue with people, or telling people I am happy or like something when I really don’t. Saying yes when I mean no.

When I quit drinking, I filled this need to not “be a bother” to other people mostly by just not telling them that I quit drinking. Providing my own beverage, skipping an invite, drinking something that looked like a cocktail, making up reasons to not drink. I think that this was fine in the beginning, a baby sobriety is something that needs to be nurtured and kept safe, not flung all over the place and defended. These days, however, I am taking a different stance on the whole issue.

I really like the term Unapologetically Sober because it really just lays it all out there. I am making this choice, I don’t care who knows, and I am happy to discuss it with you. I am solid in my foundation, I am not going to be pressured into drinking, I am happy to talk to people about my sober life. I feel like I have actually swung to the other end of the pendulum, where I so completely believe that sobriety is the way to go that I have a hard time understanding drinking people. Like, seriously? You still drink? It’s 2017! It’s like this- you go over to someone’s house for dinner and they offer you wine and you say, oh no thanks. Right? Just being polite, no need to make a big deal out of it. But, say you went to someone’s house for dinner and they offered you a cigarette. Oh, no thanks?! No, dude. The response that that incites is much stronger. You smoke?! Are you f*ing kidding me? Cigarettes have been proven BY SCIENCE to cause cancer and kill you. How is it possible you are making that choice for your body?

  • Did you know that an estimated 88,000 people die every year from alcohol abuse according to the CDC? That makes it the 3rd highest cause of preventable deaths.

  • How about the fact that 100,000 people die every year from alcohol related accidents?

  • Or that Of the 3.9 million Americans who received treatment for a substance abuse problem in 2005, 2.5 million of them were treated for alcohol use. Wouldn’t you think it would be heroin or something? Nope, booze.

  • How about the fact that more than 10% of children in the U.S. live with a parent with alcohol problems, according to a 2012 study

  • Drinking alcohol increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, liver, and breast.

Drinking ruins lives, families, and your health. It causes your dreams to stay dreams, it traps people in tiny, sad little lives. It wastes your money, makes you fat and causes you to act idiotically. Why are we apologizing for not drinking? Society has this idea that we, the non drinkers, have some explaining to do. We can’t go flaunting our sobriety around and ruin the party for the drinkers. I call bullshit. If the fact that I don’t drink causes someone duress, that person should take a long, hard look at their own relationship with drinking. That’s on them.

Long gone are the days of feeling socially awkward and not fun to be around because of my choice to not drink. I am 100% happy with my lifestyle. Is it uncool? Maybe, but it’s possible that I don’t want to be cool, if I understand the definition correctly. From junior high to high school, college, to adulthood, the cool people are the ones who do drugs, drink and smoke. The ones who disregard people’s feelings and how their actions affect the world around them. The ones who don’t look to the future and act accordingly. The ones who constantly seek approval and “fit in” with the crowd. I cannot tell you how super uncool I want to be in my life. Bring it.

Laura McwilliamsComment