How I Went Against Societal Norms and Embraced My Sobriety
Everything in our society tells us we shouldn’t be sober. We receive these messages every day, from the internet, the news, our peers, our elders, and our even our institutions. The messages we get tell us that we need alcohol to have fun, to relax, to parent, to celebrate, to get us out of a funk, to vacation, and to just live our everyday lives. For many of us, it feels as though nothing is sacred. These days they’re even recommending we do yoga and drink beer, they’re handing out alcohol at the finish lines of races, and they’re hosting mom nights with wine.
We live in a drinking society. How else would it be completely socially acceptable to use fake ID’s, binge drink for 4 years straight in college, and mask something healthy like exercise with the numbing effects of ethanol poison? But the other worrisome part of this alcohol-driven equation, is the fact that society also doesn’t want us to quit drinking when we feel like we’re out of control. Say what!? If you’re sober, you already know this to be true. Getting sober is like wearing the scarlet letter “A,” across your chest. People automatically react with shock, distrust, disbelief, and utter confusion. But why, they ask. They look at sobriety as a death sentence, as a last resort, or as something only “alcoholics,” or “people who don’t know how to control their drinking,” do.
There’s a reason all holidays, celebrations, and festivities include alcohol on the menu, or open bar, or are centered around drink specials. It’s because we as a society embrace drinking as the norm, while we find sobriety to be unusual and taboo. As a society we also look down on those people who have an issue controlling their drinking, as well as those who eventually choose to stop. They’re often thought about as morally defective or bad people because of their inability to indulge in alcohol.
I felt these preposterous facts about society in my bones when I made the biggest decision of my life on May 7, 2013. I could think of nothing I wanted less than to live a life without substances. Sober? No way! I thought sober people were lame. They didn’t have fun, they didn’t go out, or travel, or engage in spontaneous activities. Most of all, they weren’t “normal,” people. That’s what I was convinced of and what I mourned over when I got sober.
Now at almost 5 years sober, I truly believe that by living sober I am going against societal norms. Not only that, by truly embracing my sobriety for all that it is and being proud of it, I’m going against what society tells me. I say “no,” to the alcohol images and messages that flood the media I consume. I share my story of sobriety. I talk about how to have fun, live your life, and attend events that have alcohol without having to consume alcohol. I am no longer embarrassed to be sober. I don’t hide my sobriety or think of it as something to be ashamed of. I don’t consider myself abnormal or less than because my drinking took me to dark places and I chose to stop. In fact, I consider myself to be smart by taking this step. I know that alcohol is a strong drug that is easy to become addicted to. I also know that it’s marketed to us in a way that compels so many people to drink. The cards are stacked against us when it comes to alcohol. For me, I finally realized that the risks outweighed the benefits and drinking alcohol was never as fun as I had always thought it was.
More people need to know that they don’t have to drink, that they can go against what society perceives as normal, that they can live a wonderful life without the booze. This is why so many people stay trapped in their substance use disorders. They’re scared of the societal backlash. Society has convinced them they can’t live sober or that they shouldn’t. The first thing you need to know is that sobriety is possible. Then you need to know that it’s something to be proud of you. Lastly, being sober is a kickass, rebellious act.
About the Author
Kelly Fitzgerald is a sober writer based in Southwest Florida who is best known for her personal blog The Adventures of a Sober Señorita. Her work has been published across the web including sites like The Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, Ravishly, SheKnows, Elite Daily, The Fix, Brit + Co, Addiction Unscripted and AfterPartyMagazine. She is currently writing a memoir.