Nice essay. I’ve been sober for most of my life now. It’s refreshing to see someone write about backing away from intoxication when so much energy is behind getting more drugs into people’s bodies and minds.
Sam, What a vulnerable and open-hearted post. Kudos. Your essays always hit a chord with me, and, as I've said, I find your columns worthy and often esoterically fascinating. And, of course, thank you for the mention on https://innerlifecollaborative.substack.com/p/fleeting-cherry-blossoms-and-transformative where you and I and Joshua Doležal have joined with those who dig deep on the arts. Friday a new guest.
Just found you thanks to Josh Dolezal's note. Excellent piece Sam! “I have a relationship to alcohol" is exactly how I've put it myself. Like you, "alcohol was coming to be intertwined with more and more elements of my life," and (very) eventually, after being a teenage boozehound most of my life, I changed that relationship a bit more than five years ago at the age of 48. Not "alcoholic," not "sober," but I don't drink now, and I'm much happier for it. The change was similar for me too, for the most part "nothing happened," and I also subsequently changed my relationship with caffeine as well. The two often go hand in hand. So many results for me, but one major one having become far far more even keeled than I could have imagined in the past. Life is a bit less exciting, in a way, but what a relief.
I've written about alcohol, addiction, sobriety, coffee and all of that quite a bit, perhaps you'll enjoy some of this:
Cheers Sam, thank you for sharing!
Thank you for this story/comment. It speaks to my own experience living with PTSD. I have been working with becoming more aware of the things I have done to survive, like alcohol and cigarettes that helped me survive as a youth but I in fact no longer need. And the journey through to leading a healthier life.
Sam, I just want to join the chorus here in thanking you for giving voice to those of us in the middle, who don't really have an addiction but reach a point where we recognize the diminishing returns. I don't know, maybe any kind of reward association is inherently problematic. For me, it's been more an awareness of sleep disturbance in my late 40s and the vague sense that I was over the recommended limits, but neither was ever the kind of thing that rose to the typical definition of a problem. I've been thinking about just giving it up, but I've had no sense of community around that choice, no real solidarity, which is what you've given me here. Much appreciated.
Beautiful, Sam. Thank you for sharing this. I of course relate 100%. Sober doing AA since 2010, I also quit coffee and cigarettes not long after that. It’s a very strange feeling being sober around other drinkers and watching them sort of dissolve into social entropy. You sort of start to feel like an anthropologist. In my experience getting sober is even harder than drinking in most ways because you suddenly have to *feel* everything and there’s no escape hatch; you just have to face it. I was a blackout drinker for a decade. It was a wild time. It’s fantastic to be sober today. Almost 13 years.
Here’s my piece on sobriety/AA: https://michaelmohr.substack.com/p/misunderstanding-alcoholics-anonymous