Show Your Work

Today I am thinking about how sobriety is a bit like one of those math tests I took in High School or College.  Getting the correct answer is not quite good enough unless you can show that you arrived at the outcome in the correct manner.  In that regard, I failed in sobriety this weekend.  I was hurt on Friday night by (what I consider to be) some inconsiderate and selfish actions on the part of my wife.  I tried using many of the tools I have learned about in the last 4+ months, at times I felt some mental relief, but in the end I just could not let go of the resentment.  There was progress, I did not start yelling or screaming, but I was agitated and disturbed, dropped comments, tried to plead my case, etc.  At one point I owned up to my part, which was basically my reaction to her behavior, and I thought I was free from the resentment, but I wasn’t. It kept coming back, triggered by the smallest thing.  I realize I was looking for that one gold nugget: not necessarily even an apology, but her acknowledging that her behavior may have hurt me. I didn’t get that and without that I was unable to move on, simply unable to get past the feelings.

I write this not for the purpose of being too hard on myself, or feeling sorry for myself, but with the realization that there is such a thing as emotional sobriety and that I need to continue to seek it with full resolve.  I once thought the whole Dry vs. Sober thing was some 12 Step bullshit, invented to make you do it their way, but I now believe it has merit.  I know how I feel when I get into this state, and I know that drinking can temporarily “help”, so although my resolve might be strong, it is not a good place for me to be for any length of time.

At the end of the day (or the weekend in this case), I will take some partial points for the fact that I did not drink, and remain mindful of the fact that I am going to need to show my work in order to receive full credit.


P.S.  Last night I was rewarded for my emotional dunken-ness with a nice drinking dream.  It followed the typical pattern for my drinking dreams where I “accidentally” imbibe something that has alcohol mixed in and then become anxious about having to renounce my sobriety and start over.



About A Beast Within

Trying to find myself, battling alcoholism, and other personal demons. Sharing the journey. View all posts by A Beast Within

5 responses to “Show Your Work

  • byebyebeer

    Oh my god, hate the accidental imbibing in dreams. That or when I somehow forget I was sober and take a drink. Hate the drinking dreams, in general.

    As for the dry vs sober, yeah, that bothers me too that some feel the need to qualify someone’s sobriety, as in labeling them a dry drunk. But I am still learning and just starting to understand what people mean when they said this or that will lead them back to a drink.

    For more step 12 bs though, the thought “progress not perfection” definitely popped in my head when I read this thought-provoking post. It sounds like you’re exactly where you should be.

  • belowhermeans

    I had that very dream earlier this week. Hug.

  • Lisa Neumann

    Just finished reading most of the site. We have much in common. I have come to realize that about 95% of what I want to say needn’t ever leave my lips. My challenge now? Heal my mind so I don’t have to even think it in the first place. Evolution in sobriety is a process, not an event. Sounds like you are doing great! thanks for your blog.

  • Spidey

    Don’t be so hard on yourself
    -Experienced Alcoholic-

  • T

    WORD. The first time I had that same “accidentally drinking” dream I was so upset when I woke up. I was glad to hear it’s common. Love your blog. I may restart writing on my own soon. (43 days sober, it’s just getting hard, the honeymoon’s over at least for the time being…)

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