Finding Positive Reasons To Stay Sober

What is positive sobriety? I think that it’s focusing on why I want to stay sober as opposed to why I don’t want to act out. On page 69 in our White Book it says, “Instead of running joyously to heaven, we seem to back away from our hell, one step at a time.” In early sobriety, getting out of the pain was all that I could think of. Unfortunately, once out of the immediate pain, it was very easy to remember the pleasure (real or imagined) of acting out. The White Book continues, “… often shying away from full slips, some of us think we can allow ourselves partial slips, enjoying the temporary relief they bring.” What that means to me is that I need to find positive reasons to stay sober, in other words positive sobriety.

The Program is simple, not easy. I need motivation to be willing to work this Program and not to revert to my old self-defeating behaviors. To do that, I need to feel good about myself and my life. Instead of just not feeling suicidal, I need to feel happy, joyous, and free. The way I do that is to focus on all the good that working the Program has given and will continue to give me. Today in sobriety, I focus on the healthy relationships in my life. They are healthy because I have learned to separate myself from people who bring out the worst in me and set boundaries with the rest so that I can protect myself from hurt and feeling resentful.

I’ve learned how to talk and how to listen. I’ve learned to be honest with myself and others and to take responsibility for my actions. This gives me greater self-esteem. Not lying or justifying my thoughts and actions allows me to focus on problem-solving instead of excusing myself and blaming others. I’ve learned that there is such a thing as constructive criticism and I think about things that are said to me. Sometimes they apply and sometimes they don’t. Instead of taking things personally and then working on trying to forgive people, I remind myself as things are happening that everyone has character defects and if the “shoe doesn’t fit” I don’t have to wear it. Instead, I focus on what would be the most helpful way to respond, if at all. Then I move on without any extra baggage to weigh me down.

Above all is the fact that I have a Higher Power. I trust my Higher Power. I believe that He loves me and only wants the best for me. I believe that He knows everything and takes it all into account as He guides my life. This is not always obvious, but I believe it to be true, and just believing it helps me continue doing the next right thing.

I have a second chance to live a life instead of just surviving. To me, this is the gift of positive sobriety.

Claire Z., Jerusalem, Israel

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