What is considered sober?

Old 06-09-2016, 03:40 PM
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What is considered sober?

Here is a question for all of you. I have friend with a number of years of sobriety. Recently he told me that for awhile he had become complacent about his sobriety, almost ambivalent. He described it as "I have 10 years sober and I wanted to know was there anything else out there?' He said he had reached a point in his sobriety where he wanted to know what is was that he thought he missed about drinking so much. He described this as a months long process, where he decided that he would let himself have a drink one night. So he did.

He told me after he had that drink, that he realized that he didn't miss drinking, that it was like a breath of fresh air. He said he still considers himself a sober individual, which includes his 10 years of sobriety. I asked him "Do you feel like you should set a new date?" He said, "If I had continued to abuse alcohol, then I would have set a new date, but I have decided that after this moment, that I was content being sober?" He said, now I can move forward in my sobriety and if I ever decide to do this again, then I will set a new date.

Then he asked me what I thought and I said, "I don't know". I guess since you didn't go back into full blown using and did this for a specific reason, that your logic makes sense. But I'm only one person, so what does everyone think?
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Old 06-09-2016, 03:51 PM
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I wouldn't reset my date for that. Ten years is way longer than one day, if he had gone on a few week binge then yes reset day one. A while back I realized though with a big relief that at the end of the early struggle alcohol is just another bad habit. Sure those early months are doozies but get far enough and you start to be able to look from the outside in.
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Old 06-09-2016, 03:54 PM
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He's a lucky guy. There are people who go back out there and fall deeply back into their addictions.

I guess in the long run, he's the only one who can determine if his sober date needs to be reset. What is more troubling, perhaps, is that any among us could think there's anything good for us contained in a bottle. It seems reckless and serves as a good reminder that sobriety is a precious gift, one that needs to be safeguarded whether it's Day One or Year Ten.
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Old 06-09-2016, 03:58 PM
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How long ago was that drink?!

After 6 years of sobriety, I started off having 1 drink one night. And then a month or 2 later, another 1 drink. Then a trip out of the country - BAM, a full alcoholic blackout.

So no if it was just 1 drink, I'd say he can still claim being sober for 10 years, but I find it hard to fathom that one drink would be "enough". For me, the 1 drink I had confirmed that the sky didn't fall and my life didn't implode so I must certainly be cured. I proved to be very wrong on that front.
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Old 06-09-2016, 04:34 PM
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Up to him. I did something similar with weed after not smoking for about 8 years, 20+ years ago. I was curious what I'd think of it after all that time, so I got high, and I hated every moment of being stoned. I have no interest in going there with alcohol, since I know what happened with weed and since alcohol was far more destructive to my life and far more difficult for me to quit, but I can understand someone doing that and not considering it a "relapse".
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Old 06-09-2016, 05:24 PM
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Two things will tell. How accurate was the original diagnosis of alcoholism, remembering that hard drinkers can appear to be alcoholic, but can stop or moderate if they have a good enough reason.

The second thing is time. As Kittykat3 demonstrated, the clock is ticking in the alcoholic mind. " I had a drink. No consequences, no craving. Maybe I'm OK. Perhaps I' try another and see what happens, tick tick tick."

If he was misdiagnosed in the first place, it won't matter, but for an alcoholic to believe one drink is OK is a sure indication that the insanity/obsession is back. I mean seriously, doing that is as mad as running out in front of a bus to see if you will bounce.

My Friend Zac tried this experiment at ten years. He was dead in three months.
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Old 06-09-2016, 06:51 PM
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here's how it looks to me:
He said he had reached a point in his sobriety where he wanted to know what is was that he thought he missed about drinking so much.

he thought he missed something about drinking so much.

so then he drank.

and now, wow, he doesn't miss anything about drinking.

if that were me, i'd ask myself what, then, is it that i missed so much? if it's not drinking, then what i was feeling i was missing is still missing.
if i was indeed missing drinking, then it would make sense that having a drink would quench that missing.
which would lead me to believe...anyway, doesn't matter what i believe.

hm...being a few months away from 10 years myself, i wonder what he's done all these years to address this feeling of missing something? sounds like torture if you spend ten years missing drinking....
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Old 06-09-2016, 06:57 PM
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I believe that's up to him. The thing I have learned is that even one drink can awaken the zombie and can start the obsession. I hope he doesn't experience this.
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Old 06-09-2016, 06:58 PM
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I don't understand why he needed to drink to find out what he had missed about drinking? Shouldn't he have already known the answer to that question?
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Old 06-09-2016, 07:01 PM
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"... he realized that he didn't miss drinking, that it was like a breath of fresh air. He said he still considers himself a sober individual, which includes his 10 years of sobriety. I asked him "Do you feel like you should set a new date?" He said, "If I had continued to abuse alcohol, then I would have set a new date..."

Boy! Talk about justification and rationalization! Now there's something I gotta tell my drink, and one still can count everything as continuous sobriety.

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Old 06-09-2016, 09:46 PM
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So he put a bullet in the chamber, spun the revolver, squeezed the trigger and that chamber was empty. That's what taking one drink would be like for me. Except every time I took one drink after long-term sobriety (6.5 years once and 7 years another time) I found that the chamber was always loaded.

But I agree that he is the only one that can decide if he needs to change his sobriety date. To thine own self be true.
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Old 06-09-2016, 09:56 PM
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I have a friend who got sober in 2007. Went to AA meetings and worked the program. Lived in a sober living situation. About two or three years later, he was having trouble sleeping and was prescribed Ambien. He took it, and in a sleep- walking state- unplanned- went to the store, bought a 12 pack, took it home and drank all of it. He has not had a drink since, but still reset his sobriety date.

In the case of your friend, I would say there is no need to reset the date- as long as that one drink remains just that- one drink. I'm still not sure why your friend felt the need to do that, since it could have very easily reawakened things and led to a binge- but he's free to make his own choice. I doubt most of us on here would be able to do that without being sucked down the drain into active alcoholism again.
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Old 06-10-2016, 03:51 AM
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One drink never did anything for me when I was a drunk, so I'm quite certain it would do nothing for me now.
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Old 06-10-2016, 05:24 AM
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I think ten years is a long time, and his count is his own.
I can say for me that I also "wondered" about drinking after 11/2 years.
I think it is pretty normal to do that.

I tried "moderating" and reset my sober date, but like him, I now realize
I truly don't ever want to drink again, not just that I can't drink.
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Old 06-10-2016, 05:55 AM
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The bottom line is that we have to decide for ourselves what our goals and and motivations are. The big book of AA tells us that some people need to do some more experimenting before they decide if they want to be sober. I may be the only one who thinks this but if sobriety was bothering him and he needed to take a drink to determine if he wanted sobriety or not...that's not a bad thing...maybe. Now, of course, we don't know what could happen from here on out? Is the alcohol allergy a real thing? Will this trigger a horrific, years long relapse? We don't know. I certainly hope not. My AA sponsor got sober on her own at 22 (no AA) and had a glass of champagne on her 30th birthday and realized that she was really sick...she said she felt that poison go through her veins and she knew she was not going to get away with it and it scared the hell out of her. She has never had a drink again and she is in her early 60s.

I'm not one for marking one's self worth or quality of sobriety by a number of years without a drink. That being said, I don't think he should be getting an 11 year chip at an AA meeting because chips are for "continuous sobriety." Most of the meetings I attend are big book step study meetings and many of the old timers have never taken a chip....ever...because they do not measure sobriety in a temporal way...more so by the program of recovery, the steps, a spiritual awakening, work with others etc.
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Old 06-10-2016, 08:20 AM
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It takes absolutely nothing away from me no matter what the heck this guy says. Or does. I would just note his statement as a piece of information. Why assign a value judgement? No skin offa my nose either way. Suit yourself, buddy. If collecting chips and tokens is important to you, fill your boots.

Would I take a drink to see if I remembered what it was like? No. Would I claim uninterrupted sobriety if I did? See question 1.
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Old 06-10-2016, 08:25 AM
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What you wrote FormerBeerLover!
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Old 06-10-2016, 12:58 PM
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+1 FormerBeerLover. I never wanted one drink and I still don't. I want them all.

9 months and still going...
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Old 06-10-2016, 02:19 PM
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If the friend is an AA member, then I assume he should abide by AA rules\guidelines regarding continuous sobriety in his count, but the post doesn't say if he attends AA. I think its up to the individual to know himself, his actions and intent and to make his own decision on how to account for his sobriety.
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Old 06-10-2016, 02:40 PM
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I think it's important to keep in mind, nearly always we drink again as the end result of a process, probably a long process if we've been sober a long time. It's never a "what the hell" moment, not if we think carefully about what happened before that drink, what we did or didn't do, how we did or didn't stop and analyze what was happening and respond to it before the drink.

Drinking again would be deadly for me, but not because of the drink, not at all. It would be because of all that would have to happen before the drink, a process that would lead me to completely disregard all the wisdom I've gathered in the past six years, throw it all away, and never seek support before the drink. That process would upend my life, change who I've become, reprogram deeply ingrained parts of my identity. Only then could the drink come, and it would destroy me because of all that went before the drink.

But that's me. Not everyone is as committed, not did everyone go as deep into the rabbit hole as I did.
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