Monday, June 1, 2015

Sober Sabbatical: Top Ten Reasons to Take A Break From Drinking

Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things that escape those who dream only at night.

I have to admit I've kind of forgotten the angst of early sobriety.  After four years, I roll my eyes sometimes when newcomers worry needlessly about what others will think about them being brave and strong and fucking "balls to the wall" about confronting their drinking problem and doing something about it.

I'm sorry.  I shouldn't do that. You have a right to be concerned about what those assholes, ahem, I mean, your friends think about you.  And on that note I think I've come up with a solution to one of the most common fears of the early sober person.

"What do I say when they ask why I'm not drinking?"

You lift your nose in the air, peer at them down the length of it and say,

"Didn't you get the memo, my dear unfortunate lesser being? I am on a sabbatical."

Come on, haven't you always wanted to use that word?  Haven't you ever imagined yourself as the tweedy professor whose colleagues gaze at him with awe and bated breath as he stands to deliver the findings of his year long sabbatical?

I bet nobody ever looks at him as if he has frogs coming out of his mouth.

"What's the fun in that?  Instead of studying the ritual of penis fencing among the hermaphroditic flatworm population, wouldn't you have rather spent a year singing karaoke and trying to figure out how the hell you ever thought the person in bed next to you was even remotely fuckable."

Nobody regards someone that is going on, in the middle of, or just back from a sabbatical as anything less than colossally cool.

So don't just talk the talk, walk the walk.

I googled reasons to take a sabbatical and there isn't one of them that doesn't fit in the Sober Sabbatical realm of possibilities.

Top Ten Reasons To Take a Sabbatical Right Now

1.  It's Not As Expensive As You Think:  A big "Hell Yeah" to that.  My booze habit used to cost me about $600.00 a month.  Do the math.  600x12x30=I wouldn't be worrying my ass off about retirement right now.

2.  There's Probably Not Going To Be A Better Time:  Would you rather look back on this time and remember how you spent the months drinking, trying to control your drinking and beating yourself up about your drinking or how you used the downtime to get to know yourself, reevaluate your life, and experience a new culture?

3.  It's a great way to hit life's reset button:  Getting away from drinking might be the only way you can really reset or change course. If you continue around the day-to-day, making significant changes is tough. Taking a few months off will give you the space you need to figure things out

4.  You'll Reconnect With Who You Really Are:  After years or decades of drinking, it’s easy to lose track a little of what we really want as individuals and of who we really are underneath our “drinking selves.” Disconnect with your drinking self on a sabbatical, and you’ll reconnect with who you really are.

5.  You'll Have A Major Breakthrough About What You Want From Life:  When did you ever really “decide” to pursue the path you’re on now anyways? Are you doing what you really want to be doing, or are you following more of the default or acceptable path?A sabbatical might open your eyes to what you really want from life.

6.  Those Things You Are Stressing Over Right Now Aren't That Important:  Once you’re away from your drinking for a while, you’ll start to see clearly again. Eventually you’ll barely remember details of things that once seemed life-or-death important. You will start to understand that the truly important things in life exist outside of drinking – and you might begin to wonder how you ignored them for so long.

7.  You Might Meet Some Special Friends:  Like me.  But seriously, when was the last time you and your friends sat down and had a meaningful conversation, one that wasn't brought on by the false closeness of drinking.  When was the last time you felt like a person really got you on an emotional level, without having to be drunk?

8.  "Aha! "Moments Require a Sober Mind:  Ok, yeah, you might have some brilliant ideas when you're drinking, or so they seem at the time.  Real innovation requires full attention.  What innovations and discoveries has your mind been holding onto, just waiting for you to take a breather from your drinking so you can act on them?

9.  You:  You owe it to yourself , more than anyone else, to give yourself this time.  You deserve it.

10.  Your Drinking Life Will Be Waiting For You:  If you still want it.

P.S.  Copy this list and carry it in your pocket.  If your friends give you anymore crap,  just whip it out and hand it to them.  Hopefully, they'll shut up long enough to read it.

***Note to "friends", next time one of your friends says they are taking a break from drinking, just say, "Good for you" even  an"I'm proud of you" wouldn't be too far out of line..  It takes a lot of gumption to confront this problem and a very real fear is that you'll lose all your friends.  Believe me, your non-drinking friend has been contemplating and worrying about this moment for months, maybe years.  This is your time to shine and show that you really are a friend.

****I need to give credit to the original article, "Ten Reasons To Consider a Sabbatical" . I was amazed how many of their points applied to taking an extended break from drinking.  I want to give them credit for their stellar writing,  I only tweaked a few things to make it more applicable to our circumstances.


  1. Great post Kary. I will have to print it off. Only thing is our printer is out of ink! I think you're right. Our not drinking makes our friends look at their own drinking habits. It's funny to think my drinking life will be there waiting for me. I just hope and pray that I don't want that life back!! A x

  2. OMG! I didn't even think about my old drinking life waiting for me. So many times I woke up in the middle of the night asking myself how I had gotten back to the point of feeling so sick, my heart beating out of my chest. To think it's just sitting there waiting for me scares me shitless.

  3. Love it! Words from the wise. I'd like to send it to some people I love who need to read the list, but maybe I should start by checking myself and my own drinking first.

    1. I shared it on my facebook page, but usually the people for whom the message is intended, don't get it. But if one person stops themselves from trying to talk someone into a drink, I'll consider it a success.

  4. Love this! Almost as much as I love you!


    1. Thank you and love you, too! Are you back from the wilds of OK? I'm heading to the wilds of KS and TX manana.