What does it mean to live a sober life? Sobriety is not limited to alcohol and drugs or to activities like gambling or watching porn. Living a healthy life entails looking through the monocle of sobriety — holding it up to our eye and doing a 360 degree scan into each of the arenas of our lives. These include our health, relationships, work and our minds. Sobriety in all things.
Sobriety tempers us and invites us to respond rather than react.
Patterns of addiction are rampant in our world affecting nearly everyone or at least the majority of adults. Sadly more and more addictive tendencies pervade the lives of our youth and children. Gaming and being on devices of all kinds are perhaps the greatest culprits of addiction in young people. There is also food and especially sugar. The need for more is being developed early on. It pains me to see toddlers playing with iPads and teens seated together all engaged with their phones instead of with one another.
How can we shift the pattern of addiction in adults when we are seeding it in our kids? We cannot. As adults, we model behavioral patterns for our kids. Are we indulging in our dysfunctional patterns by staying up into the wee hours watching serial Netflix? Are we having cocktails starting at five in the evening so that by the time we are helping our kids with their homework or reading our little one’s’ bedtime stories we are just this side of drunk? If we participate in habits like these, or other less than sober habits, we are imprinting our children with the idea that this is okay — this is how it is to be a functional adult — when in actuality, it’s not.
Looking through the monocle of sobriety asks us to face our demons, to be still, to lean into the discomfort of having to feel what we have been avoiding by engaging our addictive patterns. It takes a willingness to experience the challenging or painful things rather than move away from them.
Opportunities for checking out as opposed to checking in abound. We must take a stand and actively choose to turn toward the challenges in our relationship, the resentment we may still be harboring toward our parents, the fear and anxiety that we have been tolerating, or the anger at the patriarchy and the greed that is destroying our world.
Being sober means tending to what has been ignored. Being sober may mean that we come down off of the cloud nine high we’ve been riding and land in our lives — it often means that we proverbially turn and face the music. When we do, this is the beginning of freedom. Sobriety is a journey that takes us from imprisonment to true freedom. Freedom from the cyclical thinking that makes us feel down or even clinically depressed.