Oxford defines freedom as “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.” We define recovery freedom as “the ability to live without the hindrance of alcohol and restraint of our human defects.” However you wrap the concept, appreciate the reality.
The truth is that we live a drastically better life in this freedom we experience.
It all starts with power. The strength and ability to act AND think the way one wants is the keystone of independence from dependence. The short synopsis is that we live with the consequences of our thoughts and actions. And that we have the power to choose those behaviors. It’s all about choice.
The United States’ founding fathers made hard choices in declaring independence from Great Britain 200-plus years ago. We are faced with choices daily that determine our freedom.
Let’s face it; we live in an alcohol-surrounded world. And it is everywhere. According to the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 219.2 million people ages 12 and older (78.3% in this age group) reported drinking alcohol. One can’t move a mile without being bombarded with its message. Per Grandview, “the global alcoholic drinks market size was valued at USD 1,448.2 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.3% from 2022 to 2028.” Over USD 7 billion is spent on marketing the potential consumer. That is many messages. The beverage companies are leveraging their dollars to take power in their direction.
Here is what that power produces: According to the World Health Organization, “Globally alcohol consumption causes over 3 million deaths yearly.
There Is a solution
According to that same source, some 57 million people abstained from alcohol last year.
We walk with those who have chosen the path of sobriety – the way of freedom.
We are free from heartburn, high blood pressure, stressed hearts, taxed liver,s digestive problems, weight loss, financial wastefulness, erratic mood swings, hangovers and vomiting, lies, lost opportunities, forgetfulness, fatigue, restless nights and dreadful days, the shakes, night sweats, remorse, and shame that typically followed our kind of alcohol use.
We are free from the chains of an addiction that had us living a life of regret.
We are now free to explore the depths of whom we are meant to be. Free to try new things and truly experience relationships that are based on honesty. We are free to feel as we are no longer pulled to the lie of liquor marketers.
Our autonomy is the basis of the daily choice we make.
Our next drink is but 25 inches away (the average length of an arm, according to reference.com).
Our choice is complex because of our history with liquor, the complications of the average life, and the mass marketing we face. In this, we are no different from the next human. What separates us is our ability to examine the truths within. Our strength comes from the victories we have found on this side of recovery.
So, we choose daily. And we are over-the-top grateful when we lay our heads down at night. We possess an awareness of what our selections have produced. As a result, we find ourselves at a place of contentedness and confidence (not cockiness) that is rewarding and restful at the same time.
Much is to be said about our accomplishing sobriety in the face of constant uncertainty. Yet, we are left with a sense of peace and a touch of pride (oxford definition: a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's achievements) as we are forever cognizant of the consequences of choices.
Whether it be July 4 or another day sober – let us celebrate with a hot dog and a side of pride.
Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics World Service. Inc. References to AA, the 12 steps, and 12 traditions does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. This publication is intended to support personal growth and should not be considered a substitute for healthcare professionals' advice. The author’s advice and viewpoints are their own.