The Pressure of Sobriety

Sobriety is difficult. Along with sobriety, often comes pressure. This can be pressure both internally and externally, to maintain that sobriety at all costs. This can be seen and felt in so many ways! It may be seen in an innocent comment someone makes about how “well” you are doing. It can be felt in noticing people are giving you more responsibility suddenly. It even comes from our own thoughts such as, “I really don’t want to disappoint (this person/people)”.

This can lead to incredible feelings of anxiety around this idea that we may relapse at some point. Of course, the idea of disappointing others around us as well as ourselves is an incredibly hard one to sit with. That said, the feelings of anxiety that come up with this can be a strong trigger for relapse. So how do we deal with this paradox? How we frame our sobriety in these situations is very important. For example, reminding ourselves that all we need to worry about is how we are doing in the present moment, not how we will be doing 30 years for now in terms of our sobriety.

It also can be helpful to remind ourselves that sobriety does not demand perfection. We will have times we struggle more then others, and may even relapse, but these hard times will get easier. What is important is that we learn from our sobriety struggles, not that we have this imaginary “perfect” journey.