Chip and Veronica are back from their summer break! They answer listener questions such as: Do they ever miss drinking? Can you drink on special occasions? Do you need to spend money to get sober? And, how do you get over the shame in early sobriety?
Listen to the episode now:
We’re so excited to be back!
Every week we get so many questions from you, we thought it would be a wonderful idea to kick things off by answering some of the common questions we get.
Wondering about a specific question? Click a question below to jump to the answer.
Let’s get into it!
Is it possible to enjoy daily life without alcohol? I mean, I know it is. But can I?
The short answer: Absolutely, yes. Not only can you enjoy it but you will enjoy life and activities so much more when you’re sober than you would do intoxicated.
The long answer: The fear of missing out when we get sober is all about perception. Our culture conditions us to believe that alcohol is the best way to enjoy our lives and have fun. That’s a deeply rooted belief in our culture that is based on marketing messages, not reality.
This is the big leap of faith that you have to take when you first get into sobriety.
When you’re starting out it feels so unattainable to believe that you can have fun sober.
People like us are telling you about how great it will be but from your perspective, it just looks like a lot of hard work.
There’s no way Chip or I could have sustained our sobriety for decades if it meant trudging through each day filled with boredom and dread.
So we can tell you with certainty that yes, you will enjoy your daily life so much more without alcohol. Give yourself time to discover that there are actually many, many ways that you can have fun that you probably have never explored.
Do you allow yourself alcohol on special occasions or do you find it easier to abstain entirely?
“It’s about the perception of what alcohol brings to your life versus the reality.” – Veronica Valli
The perception is that alcohol will make a special occasion more special, enjoyable, and better.
In our experience, that’s not the case. When we drink we miss out on what’s happening around us and we spend our time distracted, arguing, or standing in line for the bathroom.
On top of that, none of us are here because when we had one drink, we got out of control. We came because we weren’t able to have one drink. It wasn’t enough.
It’s a bit of a dangerous game to say I’ll save it up for a special occasion. Almost no one can come from a place of an unhealthy relationship with alcohol to safely having an occasional drink.
It’s also an area where you need to be on alert because on these occasions people who are usually supportive, like your family, can end up pressuring you to “just have one”.
How did you overcome shame in early sobriety?
I’ve never come across anyone who doesn’t have shame about their drinking and the things that we said or did when we were drinking.
For me, the most helpful things to overcome the shame were first to stay sober and second the amends process where you do what you can to make things right.
Through the amends process, we are apologizing, owning our behavior, allowing people the space to say how they’d been hurt by our behavior, and then honoring those amends by changing our behavior going forwards.
We can’t change the past but that process helped me hugely and I don’t feel that intense shame anymore.
“It’s actually been important for me to balance those shameful acts with a lot of trying to do as much good as I can and trying to behave as well as I can.” – Chip Somers
It’s not about the performance of it. It’s about showing ourselves that we weren’t bad people and we weren’t evil. We were just very unwell. And now that we’re sober and we know better, we can do better.
We say this many times: just stopping drinking isn’t enough. Doing some process of restitution or amends is a really important part of the work of sobriety. It makes such a difference to yourself and to other people. It’s really essential to help you move on and be free.
Do you miss drinking?
Not at all. In fact, both Chip and I now feel repulsed by it.
“The biggest gift of sobriety is authenticity. It’s a connection with yourself.” – Veronica Valli
For me, drunk people are disconnected. You can’t connect to them and they don’t seem really connected to themselves or to the other drunk people. That’s not attractive to me.
How long have you been sober? Do you work a 12 step program? How did you discover emotional sobriety?
Chip has been sober for 36 years and I’ve been sober for 21 years.
I got sober through a 12-step program and I still work the program. I find the 12 steps are ancient spiritual wisdom and they’re a model to help me live my life.
Both Chip and I still attend meetings and part of the 12 steps is about being of service to others. For us, it would be extremely rude and selfish to have gotten sober and this amazing life and then left and not be there to give new people coming in the same opportunities. We view that as a debt to be repaid.
“Emotional sobriety is about feeling comfortable in your own skin and having appropriate emotional responses to events.” – Veronica Valli
In the Big Book of AA, which the 12 steps are based on, it says that we have to take our other issues to professionals. So I’ve done a lot of therapy and stuff over the years and that’s how I became emotionally sober.
Becoming emotionally sober expanded my knowledge, pushed me and it was uncomfortable at times. But I began to understand myself and understand why I felt the way I did. And most importantly, I got tools to deal with difficult and uncomfortable feelings in a way that I could then move past them and move through them.
To become the person I want to be without alcohol, do I have to do a sobriety course or pay someone to get the results?
We invested time, money, and energy into our drinking careers so we have to invest time, money, and energy into our recovery.
“Being part of a support system is absolutely vital if you want to get the most out of sobriety.” – Chip Somers
When I got sober, there was only AA and I didn’t have any money so that was the only option for me. As soon as I was back on my feet, I invested in therapy, and then I started doing workshops and all that kind of stuff.
When I had more resources, I did invest in resources.
Please do not invest any money in a sobriety course with people who have no qualifications.
If you’re going to pay to work with someone, please make sure that they are qualified, accredited, licensed, or whatever it is in the country that you are. Make sure that they have some experience and that they’ve signed up with some ethical guidelines. If you do not see any of those things, do not work with them.
This is so much more than just stopping drinking, it’s not breaking a habit.
There are mental health issues, trauma, countertransference, etc. I’ve seen people do a lot of damage, and waste money, and get no results.
Start where you’re at.
If you’re able to invest in professional help, that’s going to be enormously helpful if they’re the right person and it’s the right program.
If you’re not able to invest, then look around at all of the free and low-cost stuff there is available to you.
- Register now for our FREE 8-Day Training: Sober Mindset—Change your beliefs, change your life!
- Join our Soberful FREE private Facebook group for community and support.
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- Submit Your Questions to Us
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