Why the mundane moments are the ones you should be most afraid of in sobriety


I was recently talking to a friend and mentor who’s also in my program of recovery for alcohol and drug addiction. She looked at me and said, “maintenance for people like us is so important and highly underrated. You go to a meeting or wherever and you eventually get and stay sober, and then one day, sometimes months but often years later, you’re enjoying a sunny Sunday watching football with the windows open and you find yourself with a beer in your hand.”

She went on to say this: “It’s never the important times that make us drink again. It’s not the Thanksgivings with our deplorable relatives or Christmases with our overbearing mothers. It’s not the birthdays or the anniversaries. It’s the mundane, boring moments we need to worry about. Those moments are when we’re off guard, taking it easy, maybe missing a meeting here and there and not praying so much. Those moments are the ones that will take us out and, in many cases, never return us.”

If you’ve been sober for any amount of time and then relapsed, chances are it happened on a mundane Sunday (or any day of the week) when you were least expecting to pick up a drink. It’s happened to me, and it’s happened to so many others that I personally know. I guess the real question here is: why does this happen? Why don’t we relapse when we’re stressed AF at a holiday party? Why don’t we drink when we’re crying in the closet after a wedding anniversary that ended in fighting rather than in love? Why don’t we swallow a pill when our kid throws a tantrum because he didn’t get the latest $700 Xbox for Christmas (but got other just as equally awesome toys)?

Here’s my theory: The big moments, the equal parts exciting and fearful moments, are the ones we prepare for. We often stock up on meetings, pray a few extra times a day, and talk to a sponsor, mentor, or close friend in preparation for the big day, whatever that day may be. We’re ready, we’re armed, and we sure as shit aren’t going to be caught with a drink in our hands no matter how many times aunt Karen asks when you’re going to finally, for the love of God, get married. 

The small, boring, inconsequential moments? We have no defense against them. We’ve let down our guard, not realizing that our disease, our addiction, our craving to drink is right around the corner. We tell ourselves we’re fine, we’re just having fun with the boys or girls, we haven’t drank in X months or years, what’s the big deal if I don’t pray today or reach out to sober friends or catch a meeting? What harm could come from hanging out around booze or drugs with a spirit that’s running on low from lack of recovery-related efforts? What could possibly go wrong?

Well, my friends, everything. 

My mentor concluded with a phrase I’ll never forget: “It’s better to call someone for help before you drink than when you’re in a jail cell.”

That jail cell can be whatever propelled you to get sober – a broken marriage, a lost job, a DUI, or the inability to face yourself in the mirror every morning. Once you’re in that cell, it’s so, so hard to get out.

Just make the call. And make it before the mundane moments in life lead you to drink. 

People who need help sometimes look a lot like people who don’t need help_

Dear You: You’re Not Alone

Hi, friends! My name is Brittany and I recently created this lil’ ole’ blog to have a place to share my experience, strength, and hope with anyone who needs it. As an undeniable alcoholic (I choose to use that term but you absolutely don’t have to), I’ve spent a lot of years fighting my truth followed by accepting my truth followed by embracing my truth. While I am absolutely not an expert on alcoholism or an alcoholic guru or anything of that nature, I am a real human being who has been through hell and back in terms of alcohol and other addictions. I think that’s as good a qualification as any to start a blog, amirite?

Before I go any further, I want to share with you a little about me and how I got here. Our stories are our power, and I want to give you some of my power and hope.

I started drinking when I was 14. It wasn’t immediately apparent to me or others that there was a problem, but looking back the signs were definitely there. Drinking myself into blackouts, driving drunk, doing things I regretted on a regular basis – this all started at a pretty young age. But I’m a pretty good girl and was decent in every other respect, so no one thought anything of it. I went off to a good college with a full scholarship and enjoyed a year and a half of pretty average college experiences. This was great for my morale and temporarily squashed any questions as to whether I could be a problem drinker. After all, when everyone else is falling down drunk alongside you, that means it’s not a problem, right?

Unfortunately, I was soon introduced to Adderall and went down a two-year path of extreme Adderall abuse and addiction that quickly and very efficiently wrecked my world. When your alcoholic boyfriend who is rarely sober notices you’re taking too much Adderall, that’s a good sign you have a problem and aren’t great at hiding it. During the Adderall Years, I drank daily (gotta come down somehow), partied regularly, and barely managed to keep my shit together enough to avoid getting asked uncomfortable questions. This was great for a while, but I’m one of those people who struggle to ignore inner turmoil, and this is ultimately what has saved my life time and again. When I couldn’t bear the personal and emotional pain of Adderall addiction, I begged my parents to ship me off to rehab for a 30-day reality check.

I was 21 when I went into rehab, so I’m sure you can imagine the combination of crippling ignorance and obnoxious entitlement I had coursing through my veins. I was vehemently sure I was not an alcoholic and that Adderall (and other uppers) were my problem. I was also pretty positive I could deal with my issues on my own and didn’t need the help I had quite literally begged for just a few days earlier. Millenials, man. Always ungrateful.

After a whole lot of bitching and moaning and the successful completion of a 32-day rehab stay, I managed to reclaim somewhat of a normal, independent life. It worked out for about three months and then I started drinking. Despite “not being an alcoholic, I SWEAR,” I quickly found myself drinking a minimum of a bottle of wine a night, alone. It quickly – let me repeat, quickly – got out of hand. Random hookups, regular blackouts, calling in sick to work, close calls with the cops, broken trust and ruined friendships – this was my daily life. And it sucked. So I drank more to forget how much it sucked. I’m sure you’re familiar with the cycle.

This went on from age 22 to 25. While many people drink for several years or even decades, I did a shit ton of damage in a short amount of time and truly believe I have earned my seat in recovery. Whereas some start off slow, I took off running with a bottle of booze in each hand and didn’t look back. This wasn’t a conscious decision but rather a crippling need to fill the holes that hollowed my insides when sober. Please know: I didn’t choose to be a raging alcoholic.

Somehow, I stumbled upon an amazing man who promptly informed me that I needed to get my shit together or I could kiss our relationship goodbye. I thought that was cute and kept drinking. Until one day I woke up, having drunk our $500 anniversary champagne (warm, I might add), with a terrible hangover and a genuinely confused husband. He looked at me with bewilderment and asked, “why would you drink this champagne?” And I honestly had no answer. I had no idea why I drank it, just like I had no idea why I chugged mini-bottles of wine when no one was looking or hid wine throughout my apartment or lied about how much I drank or drank and drove or any of the things I did in relation to alcohol. I didn’t know. I was dumbstruck. And I was broken.

That day is the day I decided to get sober. And I’ve spent every day since then doing my best to become the person I want to be: A sober, dignified woman.