In Recovery, I Am Selfish About Staying Sober


Sobriety isn’t easy; it’s worth it. It’s the catch phrases I use all the time because if you think about it rationally, it’s true. As a proud recovering alcoholic, sobriety isn’t easy; the phrase is a daily reminder of what I have to do to stay sober. If I thought about it, I’d probably think twice, though sobriety has become part of me, my daily routine, my mindset.

At the outset, entering the rooms of AA wasn’t my first choice. Having a chronic problem with alcohol, it would have been easy to understand seeking treatment in some form, yet, like any addict, I didn’t think i had a problem. The mind of an alcoholic sees things differently, its everyone around me who has the problem. What I should have thought was, if everyone thinks I’ve got a problem but me, maybe i’m the problem and not them.

I entered the rooms because my ex-wife had threatened to end our marriage if I didn’t commit myself to find help. She left me anyways, therefore, what was the point? Two weeks after I entered the rooms, she bolted, had me arrested, accused of abusive behaviour and married a mere three months. I could say she never gave us a chance but more importantly, I never gave us a chance.

A professional in the art of drinking, lying to hide my abusive behaviour (in drink and physically) and especially lying to myself, I worked diligently to camouflage my disease. Abusing my liver, heart and any other body functions was normal to me. Going to the liquor store, buying my fix, going home and drinking till I reached the fog was normal in my life. Though, I promised myself, once I moved in with my ex-wife my problem would be solved. She didn’t drink and thinking my drinking would stop the minute we combined two homes into one was just that; the thinking of an addict. Yet, the alcoholic, the addict in me found the ways to continue the good fight of drinking, as if it would really end because I changed my address?

So, when I entered AA for the first time on September 25, 2015, I thought I was doing it for the right reasons. The secret I was keeping from my ex-wife was out of the bag, caught on the couch in the basement, asleep with the bottle in my hand. The respect, honesty, legitimacy, the trust; all gone because of what she saw and what she felt, what she remembered but mostly what she pieced together. Experiences she thought were truths were lies, not believing her first instincts made her feel stupid and empowered me to continue the lifestyle till I finally was without lies to cover my tracks. Despite discussing a remedy; for her, in-patient treatment, for me not a chance; I decided to give AA a chance at saving my marriage.

There in lies the answer to the problem in the first place. Why was I going to AA to save my marriage? Despite attending religiously my AA meetings, trying to win back my ex-wife, I wasn’t working to save the real person who needed to be fought for; ME. My recovery was not for her, not my family, friends, co-workers; my recovery was all about me. The externals will and are all the beneficiaries of my continued sobriety.

My marriage was doomed to fail because I was trying so hard to save something that really didn’t exist. A good marriage is based on a solid foundation. Those pillars are trust, honesty, common goals and communication. The Stewart Michaelson of today wasn’t the man who got married in 2015, the man who said I DO was a fraud, an alcoholic, a liar. That Stewart Michaelson cheated himself, his daughter, his family. He was a coward for keeping the secret from her. His defence was none, therefore, the results were predictable. The truth based on a lie can never be true, except in the mind of an addict.

As a addict, we lose sense of right and wrong, we believe all our lies and we adapt quickly to continue the story. As an addict, we are selfish people but for all the wrong reasons. Our world is subject to the next fix of our substance of choice. Our judgement is clouded and impaired making our reality, our hopes and dreams unlikely.

In sobriety, I am selfish about staying sober, going to my meetings, helping my fellow brothers and sisters. In sobriety, I am selfish about the love for my life partner, my family and my beautiful daughter. In sobriety, I can distinguish right from wrong, good from bad, honesty from deceit. Sobriety is a collections of hours, which turn to days, weeks, months and hopefully years. More importantly, it is a canvass of work, which evolves because the artist continues to grow in his love for a sober existence.