On Having a Sober Identity
I think a lot about identities. I think it is offers a peek into the psyche of a person. It gives a story. The way people identify is the way they see themselves and the world.
Some people think being "sober" gives you and identity. It doesn't. You know people who go to AA as their only entertainment. They make their life revolve around sobriety. They exist purely to avoid the bottle. That is not me. I am exactly the same person with the same interests and the same thought processes as I was before I stopped drinking. I want to be the person that people find out I am awesome well before they notice I am teetotally awesome, too. Drinking for me was an action. Not-drinking is the absence of said action. The only difference is in behavior, not my identity. I don't drink. I don't occupy my time with drinking. My habit of drinking does not drive me into the same locations with the same people. But, generally. I do not consider myself a "non-drinker." That is not the first thing that comes out of my mouth when people say, "describe yourself."
What is "not drinking" to me, if it isn't an identity? It is the realization that drinking alcohol is not needed. By removing one activity my life has improved. The things I identify with and have always identified with are exemplified by sober me. I am a travel lover. I am active. I am a laugher. I am a seeker of knowledge. I am a people person. I love helping. I love being outside. I like to camp. I like to shop. I am a diy-er. I am an animal over-lover. I could go on and on and I would never start listing the things I don't do to define me. "I am not a drinker" would never show up in this list. These things I do make my identity. I never start with, "I don't drink."
Am I a connoiseur of sobriety? Yes. Do I exclaim that my lifestyle is a good choice? At the top of my lungs. Do I want to share the inspiration, clarity and mental health that I've found by living a dry life? Abso-fucking-lutely. I do not share because it defines me. I share because I want to be available to people who need to hear it. I want to let the 20 and 30 something year old girls out there that are struggling to exist without alcohol know that it is a-ok. Sobriety is an option just like drinking is an option. Abstaining does not change you. It changes your activities. It is like shining a penny. You're a penny either way, but choosing a healthier lifestyle shines that penny. Some people can have a shiny penny and still drink. My penny is easier to shine when I skip the wine.
Sometimes people think their penny cannot be shined. It can. It might just take a little work. That is recovery. YOU ARE A PENNY WORTH SHINING.