If I refer to myself as a non-drinker and identify myself as such, which I do, why do I have to keep making my sobriety a priority? Why do I have to keep devoting mental space and energy to it? Can’t I just get on with the rest of my life already?
I understand what’s behind the push to always safeguard one’s sobriety. One must never become complacent. Fine. But if one is a non-drinker – what’s the need for going through all that in the first place? Now – if I was unwilling to refer to myself as a non-drinker (because I’m hoping that someday I can drink again – just not yet) then okay – I can make sobriety a priority – for now. I think that THAT is the honest end to that statement. I’m making my sobriety a priority – FOR NOW.
Don’t get me wrong. My sobriety is important to me. But it’s no more important to me than other things I place great value on. Staying sober is just as important as eating, showering, brushing my teeth, feeding and playing with my kittens, exercise, sleep, reading, writing, reaching out to family and friends, and yada yada. I do or attend to these things every day. And every day, I don’t drink. Because I’m a non-drinker. This is my identity now. This is how it is. The choice to become a non-drinker was my call and I called it. And I’m happy to shout it from a mountaintop for a fee.
The longer I stay sober, the clearer it becomes to me that being a non-drinker (outside the choice that it was and is) is all about mindset and identity. How did I get into this mindset and how did I create this identity for myself? I’m not sure. I just knew when I was going through my last episode of withdrawal that THAT episode had to be the last one. I switched off the part of me that might ever choose to put myself through withdrawal again. I’d had enough. Been there done that about 5000 times. Literally.
And today, after I sulk for a minute over the two decades I gave up to drinking, I wonder how I should prioritize the things I’ve yet to do. It’s an interesting conundrum.