When Sobriety Is Not Enough

Yesterday, I reached two months of sobriety since my relapse. I made a mental note of the date, but there was no conscious celebration, unless you count the pint of Ben & Jerry’s I ate while watching House of Cards with my husband after the kiddos went to bed. At the time, I didn’t even think about how I used to pair ice cream with beer (because it’s just such a better combo than ice cream and wine).

For me, sobriety has definitely been easier the second time around. And, I kick myself daily for letting the relapse happen. I know. I know. It was a good lesson. Honestly, I think it had to happen. I had been wondering for weeks when I could “return” to “normal” drinking. And, what I learned very quickly is that for me the words normal and drinking do not belong in the same sentence. Ever. 

I am so lucky I realized this so soon and was able to somewhat effortlessly get back on track. However, the problem now is that I am excusing all my other shortcomings by saying, “Well, at least I’m sober.” And, while my sobriety is absolutely something I acknowledge every day and I never want to lose, it’s not enough. 

I’m 50 pounds overweight. I over-caffeinate. I consume too much sugar, specifically chocolate. I avoid my physical therapy exercises and exercise in general. I wear the same yoga pants and sports bra for days on end, convinced and promising myself that I will make time to work out. I struggle to identify the reason for my continued slacking off. It’s stupid. 

I’ve been 50 pounds lighter. I’ve gone months committed to healthy, clean eating. I’ve trained for and completed a half marathon. Though my running future is uncertain at the moment following spinal fusion surgery last fall, there are plenty of other things I can do. I have all the tools I need to make myself stronger physically. I know how incredibly good it feels. I can still taste it. More than I can taste my last glass of wine. I just need to commit. I just need to commit. 

If sobriety is not enough, then why is all the other stuff so damned hard?! Why can’t I find the inspiration to to kick myself into high gear? The same way I did with my drinking. I do not want to transform this blog into something not focused on alcoholism, sobriety, and recovery, but … this has become such a distraction, consuming so much of my subconscious, and I just had to get it out. 

It’s not hard. And, I’m worth the effort. I don’t want this whole “sobriety is not enough” rant to come out wrong. Yes, I am proud of it and of myself. I beam with pride daily, and even more when my mental clarity and ability to focus deliver huge rewards both personally and professionally. I’m happy. But something is missing.  

Those with a decent sense of humor are saying, “Quit whining.” And, to all of you thinking it or muttering it or even screaming it, I say, “Well played.” Yes, I’m whining. But not wining. See! There I go again. 

Sobriety is not enough when my weight keeps me uncomfortable in my skin. I deserve to be healthy and strong and weigh 50 pounds less than I do right now. I deserve to feel as good physically as I do mentally. And, it shouldn’t be any more difficult than sobriety has become for me – an occasional temptation here and there, but no giving in.

I have this vision that keeps reappearing. Me. In a bikini. Not a skimpy one. C’mon. I’m old-and-a-half, according to my kiddos. But a nice, trendy, 44-year-old mom bikini. OK, now I’m thinking “mom jeans,” but you know what I mean. I see myself thin and happy. Playing at the beach with my kids. Tossing a Frisbee. Building a sandcastle. Boogie boarding. Swimming. Smiling. Laughing. Not worried about anyone who might be looking because I feel good about myself.

While I will probably never wear that bikini, it’s such a strong, vivid, constant image in my head. It actually sharpens all the time. I would be extraordinarily proud to show off the 5-inch scar on my belly (flanked by stretch marks) and the two separate but smaller scars on my back and wear them with pride and confidence like the badges they are. I would love to feel the sun warm and kiss them. What a very sweet victory that would be. 

I’m contemplating buying a cheap bikini at Wal-Mart and hanging it on the outside of my closet door. Think it’ll work?

There are already a couple of fabulous summer dresses hanging in my closet. Nice small sizes I was so close to wearing a few years ago that I almost cut off the tags. I love those dresses. They’re classic, still stylish. I need to wear them. 

Sobriety is not enough. Skinny will make sobriety sweeter. So much sweeter. Sober, skinny, strong, sexy, successful … all those fabulous “S is for Superpower” words that go together so stinking well. 

It’s Easter. I’m eating the chocolate bunny the Easter Bunny (ahem, my husband who knows I am trying to give up sugar and would have much preferred a bouquet of tulips) brought me. All of it. I gave it to my kids and then decided to take it back. And, I’m looking at dresses online. The chocolate is terrible. It’s my last drink. I think. Because sobriety is not enough. 


  1. I know this post is old but I’ve just found your blog and this really hits me!! I’m just over 2 yrs sober and the last few months have felt just like this…”I need to quit eating so crappy,” “I should go take a walk.” “I shouldn’t be spending so much time online.” But I’m not drinking!! I feel like it’s a little lame to keep justifying all of these things in the name of self-care at this stage of my sobriety…but on the other hand I’m still early on so does that count?? I’m so with you when you say you want to put the motivation of not drinking into the other parts of life. I so get it!

    1. Hi, Jen, and thank you so much for reading AND commenting. Since writing that post, I have been able to make huge strides with my eating and exercise and have lost 25 pounds – let me tell you that it makes sobriety even sweeter! Now I am starting to look as great as I feel. I still give in and have treats once in a while and, actually, have been on a bit of a sugar bender for the past week, but I know this is something so much more manageable than drinking and I am excited to get back on track – of course, after birthday cupcakes for my daughter tomorrow night (just like booze, there’s always a temptation and an excuse). You can do this. If you’re like me, you might like to try and “all or nothing” approach. I started with a total body cleanse to detox my system of sugar, dairy, and lots more. I don’t eat perfectly clean all the time, but the changes have been big enough and I’ve stuck with them long enough that this is all starting to feel like good habits. Just like not drinking is a good habit.

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