Here in Washington, DC we are getting ready to celebrate America’s birthday, also known as the Independence Day, or The Fourth of July. (See more at: DC Guide.) This is the biggest, all day event in the nation’s capital, beginning with a parade, continuing with several live concerts, and a few street festivals, then ending with a spectacular display of fireworks over the Washington Monument.
And of course, July 4th is a huge drinking holiday and the events will most likely continue throughout the entire weekend. It is quite easy to find numerous places to drink – needless to say, it appears that all the celebration events include drinking, and if you have ever felt like alcohol was absolutely everywhere, well, on this day it definitely seems that way!
Back in my drinking days, the Fourth of July was one of the greatest days for getting totally wasted! With everyone else starting celebrations early in the day it was OK to publicly drink before noon, and get wasted before the fireworks! It was really easy to just blend into the drunk crowd. On this day, no one questioned my excessive drinking, and it was quite acceptable for me to be way out of control drunk! This is what I called having fun!
In all the years that I have lived in the Washington, DC area, I have never actually seen the capital July 4th fireworks, until I got sober. Well… I have seen them, and I have heard them, I knew that they were there, but I have never actually watched them, or enjoyed them, or… well, really cared about them… I just wanted to get drunk and feel like I was a part of some exciting celebration! It did not matter where or with who either, but the more the merrier!
I don’t remember my last drinking July 4th, and I guess maybe that’s for the better! I believe that it was actually some nine years ago, when I was struggling back and forth between sobriety, moderation and pure drunkenness. I do however, have some broken-up memories of some drinking celebration during the fireworks, and getting lost, and having to find my way home alone, in the dark, and drunk. Then having to wait for hours for someone to pick me up from the metro train station – that was not fun at all!
I do remember my first sober 4th and it was pretty bad. I felt really distraught and sad, I wasn’t quite ready to give up my drinking life yet, but I was trying to stay sober thru this holiday. I went to meetings all day long, one after another, just so I would not be tempted to drink! At one of the meetings, I remember quite vividly, being really angry, and complaining that there was no freedom for me! How is this freedom when I can’t drink and party like others! Yes, that is how felt. I felt like I was the only person in the world that was not going to be drinking on this day! I felt like I was giving up my whole life of the fun and the happiness, and the excitement!
This year again we are going to a sober party, organized by the members of the 12-step fellowship, and then we will be watching the fireworks show at the local community center. I am so very grateful for this amazing opportunity to celebrate America’s birthday, sober and present, with lots of great and sober friends and most of all my lovely family!
Today, my co-workers started celebrating a bit early, then they decided to meet up for happy hour. I am sure they will be continuing on to some club somewhere later. I am sure I will be hearing about this so-called fun on Monday too! This is definitely what I would be doing in the past! I would continue the partying the entire weekend, possibly in a blackout, and by Monday morning I would be deathly sick and the stories of the so-called fun would have been all about how I was totally out of control! UGH.
So on a holiday like this, even though all around me the drinking festivities have begun, I still need to remember how it really was, and how it is now! I have to remain grateful for all that sobriety has given me! Because even after a few years of sobriety, my alcoholic brain still thinks that the past was oh, so much fun! But the truth is that it really was not. By quitting drinking, I was not giving up my life full of fun and happiness, I was giving up a life that was toxic and made me completely miserable! In return I was gaining a life full of endless possibilities, real genuine fun, and memories to last a lifetime. I no longer have to live in the vicious cycle of alcoholism! Today, I can truly be free!
So this year, once again, or maybe for the first time for you,
Let’s celebrate not drinking!
Let’s celebrate our freedom from alcohol!
Let’s celebrate sobriety!
- No more being alone and alienated
- No more cotton mouth and hairy teeth
- No more disappearing for days in a blackout
- No more drinking and driving
- No more endless cycles of guilt and shame
- No more struggling through a hangover
- No more missing out on family time
- No more contemplating suicide
- No more need for hiding and covering up
- No more rehabs, detoxes and hospitals
- No more stealing and cheating
- No more unsafe and risky behavior
- No more vomiting first thing in the morning
- No more pretending to be a normal drinker
- No more swearing off drinking forever, then to drink again
- No more _________________________
Sobriety is freedom! How has sobriety freed you!?
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