What Really is Sobriety?

sobriety1It seems like a stupid question – everybody knows what sober is – it’s not being drunk.  But if you admit you are struggling with something, something that is having a negative impact on your life, recovering from that struggle entails becoming sober in that area.  The definition of sobriety in any particular area depends to a certain extent on the individual as well.  What is the line that has to be crossed to move from the chaos and insanity?  And everyone knows the common definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.  Sober means maintaining some control and stability over that area of your life.

The first step is to admit that you are powerless alone to manage and control it.  You have to admit you have a struggle before you can do anything to improve or correct the situation.  And the biggest hurdle to that is our deceitful heart.  I’ve talked about the three kinds of lies and the fact that the most detrimental lie is the one we tell ourselves.  Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

Yes, sober means not being drunk.  But it doesn’t necessarily mean being a teetotaler.  For one person it may mean not abusing alcohol to try to seek relief from an emotional pain or hurt.  Or for another it may mean to not go on a binge where the person doesn’t drink often but when they do, they drink to excess.  Maybe it means not drinking at home alone at all.  Or maybe it’s all of the above.

With anger, maybe sober means not showing anger to your spouse in a manner to attempt to control them.  Or maybe it means not yelling, slamming doors, or punching holes in the wall.  Maybe it just means being civil to other drivers, without any obscene gestures.

Being sober in regards to household clutter or piles of things may entail having enough order in the stuff to appease the spouse.  Or maybe it means getting rid of one, or two, things for every new thing brought into the house.

Codependency means putting some need of another person ahead of your own needs.  It usually entails the desire to change or fix another person.  Sobriety in this area means coming to the realization that we cannot change or fix another person, and it is not our responsibility to change someone else.  What we are responsible for is our reaction to the other person and our feelings produced by their actions.  Sometimes we have to take ownership of our anger as well.

Self control is key to sobriety in any area, but it may be that we need to give control to God to actually succeed.  We don’t need the wrath, hate, and condemnation that comes from a legalistic religion or church.  What we need is the love, acceptance, and forgiveness that comes from God and groups of believers who recognize the grace of God.  It is said best in I Thessalonians 5:7-11:  For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night.  But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.  For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him.  Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Examining myself over the last couple years and exploring what it means to gain sobriety in every area has made a big difference in my life.  My current struggle is with the family finances.  Can you think of one area in your life that needs less chaos, that needs sobriety?

Thanks to here for the poster.

About Mark Gredler

I want to move from Good Love to Better Love, share it, and share the Best Love of God. I like ancient and medieval history, especially of Spain. I like photographing Spanish fiestas, and visiting Romanesque churches, from the 11th to 13th centuries. I enjoy traveling, seeing new places, meeting new friends, taking photographs of that, and want to write more about it all.
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