Our guest post this week, curated from Sober Señorita, comes with a disclaimer. To be clear, we are by no means recommending that anyone abandon his or her 12-step program of recovery. We are simply sharing a different perspective on the matter from a sober woman whose journey we respect and whose writing we admire. You may read the original post here.

 

In gratitude, harmony, and support,

 

 

Living Outside the Sober Bubble

 

by Kelly Fitzgerald Junco

 

When I got sober I lived in a foreign country where being sober was basically unheard of. I didn’t know what any of this [stuff] meant – “pink cloud,” “90 in 90,” “sponsor,” “people, places, things.” I was truly on my own from the get-go with my sobriety. I paved my own way and I never considered that some people get sober and stay in a sober bubble, sometimes forever. I was thrown into the fire in the first week of my sobriety. I attended a birthday dinner for my mother-in-law and there were bottles of wine. My family indulged while I could not. It felt horrible. I felt sad, angry, and annoyed. I felt like the odd man out. Shortly after that experience, I attended another birthday party for a friend which took place on a boat in the Caribbean Sea. On this trip, I was accompanied by a pregnant friend who also was not drinking, but I still felt like I was crawling out of my skin. I felt uncomfortable and I felt like a liar for telling people I wasn’t drinking because I was running a 5K in the morning (true, but not all the way true).

As time went on I became more uncomfortable in social situations, but I also avoided a lot of them in early sobriety. I was doing the sober thing, but there was always a separation. There was me and there was everyone else. When we moved to Florida in 2014 and I started attending AA meetings, I realized what it was like to have real-life sober friends and contacts. I learned that they had AA meetings for young people, conferences, special women’s day events, celebratory dinners, even themed Halloween parties and dances!

At first I thought this was amazing. Where had this been my whole first year of sobriety while I was holding my breath at New Year’s Eve celebrations birthday parties while everyone around me drank and I clutched my sobriety? I’ll never forget all the cool people I saw and met at several AA conferences. Many people meet their significant others in the rooms, their best friends and their mentors. And this is great! But it didn’t take long for me to feel like I was living in a secret world. A world slightly removed from reality. A word that Fer (husband) would never know because he wasn’t sober and he wasn’t in AA.

And I know this doesn’t happen just in the rooms of AA. Some people find their sober circle and they immerse themselves, and never really think about the outside world again. For me it didn’t happen that way and even when I felt immersed, something didn’t feel right. I have always been slingshotted back into reality and have learned the constant lesson that I do not live in a sober bubble. I’ve always been slapped with reminders that we live in a society that is flooded with alcohol marketing, that being sober in a unique trait, and that this world is not built for or sensitive to people who are trying their best to stay sober.

When you’re on the outside of the bubble, you know it. It can feel like everyone around you is drinking or the beer aisle in the grocery store is closing in on you. It can feel like there isn’t one sports team, exercise activity, or family event that isn’t centered around alcohol. So I get it. I get why some people stay in the bubble. Some people live very healthy, happy fulfilling lives and never leave their sober bubble. Some people don’t have any friends that drink, or at least ones that they socialize with. Others go in and out of the bubble, as they please.

Last year when I decided to stop attending AA, I made the choice to leave the bubble and take what I’ve learned out into the real world. I prefer to live as a sober person in a drinking world. Why? You might ask. Because this is the world we live in. A world I’m attempting to change. A world where people need to see more sober people, living, laughing, loving, and thriving in a world where people think it’s a fact that you can’t have fun without alcohol. I didn’t get sober to hide away in basements attending meetings or to only attend parties that don’t have alcohol for the rest of my life. I didn’t get sober to tiptoe around the substance that ruled my life for years. Alcohol won too many times in my life. It doesn’t get to dictate what I do now. That’s why I decided to live outside the bubble. I want to live life to the fullest. I want to go places, do things, and feel things that I never could while I was drinking.

Look at me alcohol! You couldn’t keep me shackled to my addiction and you can’t force me to remain in a sober bubble for the rest my life. Sobriety should intimately change ever part of who you are. It should be a healing process that encourages you to be the best version of yourself. It should be the time for you to look within, to reflect, to analyze, and to take everything you learn and immerse yourself in the world. For me, it’s the first I’ve felt alive since I was a kid. I finally feel like myself.

Alcohol you served a purpose. Sober Bubble you served a purpose. But now I’m out there busy being me.

 

 

 

A Sober Person in a Drinking World

4 thoughts on “A Sober Person in a Drinking World

  • February 15, 2018 at 1:26 pm
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    I respect your boldness and believe that those of us who choose to live outside the bubble have so much to offer the drinking world. Great insights!

    Reply
  • February 15, 2018 at 10:11 pm
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    My intention is to be comfortable in and out of the bubble. Way back when, I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin ever, so I would drink or use drugs to magically fit in – or think I did. Today, I still do find comfort, camaraderie, and connection at AA meetings. And I also notice I am able to feel more and more comfortable and connected wherever I am. I can honestly say I have greater ease holding my own even when I’m in a crowd of normies for extended periods of time… and even when they are drinking. And I enjoy a bond with others in recovery in and out of the rooms. That is a great feeling. And I agree that life is to be lived not only in the rooms but loud and clear everywhere!

    Reply
  • February 17, 2018 at 10:12 am
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    Interesting perspective. Very true in so many ways. We kind of are in a “bubble” only associating with AA people. I need the foundation of AAand it’s my go-to place to feel most comfortable. But it is important to me to also interact with normies, in the real world. Thanks for the sharing the article!

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  • February 18, 2018 at 4:49 am
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    Thank you for that. When I first stopped drinking I was in a outpatient program. I learned very early on that drinking was always going to be around me because I came from a family of drinkers. The outpatient program taught me that if you where going to be in a drinking world you always needed a plan to be able to escape it if became to much. About 9 months into the program I started going to AA where they indicated that being in a drinking world would surely make you drink again. Well I had learned an awful lot in my outpatient program that where life lesson. People that where in my groups had passed away going back to their choice of drug/alcohol. I guess for me the escape plan has always worked for me. Today i am comfortable being with friends/family in the drinking world and I can have fun. I was never a person who could be told what to do and I guess I am still not that person. I did however meet my sponsor in AA and she never told me what to do, we discussed the situations. She is now my best friend. To sum it up, you have to find what works best for you, not what is best for someone else.

    Reply

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