Last week I wanted to throw in the towel.

I honestly cannot recall the last time my sobriety was so tested. Sure, my toddler’s meltdowns have made me second-guess this whole sobriety thing, but never seriously.

It was how I articulated my stress about parenting.

“Man, this is a horrible time to be sober!” Chuckle. Wink. But I was never going to actually do it.

Last week was different.

There has been so much building up to last week.

I’ve been in and out of doctors’ offices for six years now trying to find a reason for the recurring inflammation in my eyes. …

Why can’t I stay sober???

You’ve probably asked yourself this question before. Maybe hundreds of times. I know I certainly did. It’s a horrible kind of swirling storm in the brain when you’re in this space.

I remember feeling stuck on a rollercoaster. Up-up-up I’d tick, flirting with the idea of having a drink even though I said I was going to quit.

And the more I ticked upward, the more the anticipation would grow. The flutter in my chest. Adrenaline coursing through my body, making my hairs stand up.

That inner saboteur would sweeten her tone a bit. C’mon! You deserve this.

We hear this a lot in the recovery community, but is it accurate? At the core of this message is an admission that for many of us, recovery doesn’t happen in a straight line.

We progress, then we fall back. We try, and we fail. (I’m certainly guilty of it.) Basically a lot of us screw up before we get it right. But is it really part of the process?

There was a conversation happening online a while back amongst my beloved #recoveryposse on Twitter about the whole “relapse is part of recovery” thing.

I can’t remember who said it…

On this day, two years ago, I was waddling around the mall with my husband and mother. Doctor’s orders. He told me to walk thirty minutes every day, but the plantar fasciitis ravaging my tired feet made it nearly impossible.

Still, I tried.

I was on Week 40 of a rough pregnancy and desperately needed this baby to come out. My mother was only in the country for three weeks and my husband was slated to begin his new job in three days.

Timing was everything.

I remember eating at Buca di Beppo and playfully encouraging my daughter to start…

Sobriety has been one of the most humbling and illuminating experiences of my life. The process, however, isn’t always comfortable.

In fact, it’s the deeply UNCOMFORTABLE aspects of sobriety that help you grow the most. Which is why I want to talk about them.

Sobriety shows you who you are, but also who you were.

When you abuse alcohol, that inner addict’s voice takes you hostage.

There’s the real you in there, buried deep, but it’s suffocating under the weight of addiction, problems, and (in my case) untreated mental health problems like depression or anxiety. …

I recently read the somewhat controversial New York Times piece called “The New Sobriety” and my head started to spin a little. On the one hand, I love seeing people grab onto the idea that you don’t have to get shit-faced to have a good time.

That feels like progress.

I’m also a firm believer that for many people (hopefully), cutting WAY back on drinking is not only good, but a realistic way to take their life in a healthier direction.


I worry.

I worry about the impact this “trend” is having on people who cannot cut back. …

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

As a member of various online sober communities, I see more and more people attempting to define sobriety on their own terms as if this descriptor is somehow fluid. Peppered into my Facebook Newsfeed are various iterations of the following:

I identify as sober but I still drink a little here and there. I had a glass of wine at dinner last night, but I’m still sober. I’m not going to let it get to me!

In the comment thread, an inevitable war ensues. Those who have a few years of sobriety under their belt are quick to call the…

I’ve been sober for about 2.5 years and I still find the whole experience of telling someone I don’t drink incredibly awkward. It usually goes something like this:

Them: Do you want a beer or a glass of wine?

Me: No thanks.

Them: You sure?

Me: Yeah, I don’t drink.

Record scratch. All eyes on me. Look of sheer mortification and confusion, followed by a long pause that makes me wonder if I’m meant to elaborate or not.

Alcohol is the only drug (and yes it is a drug) that people look at you strangely for not using.

Could you…

Note: this is a post from 2016, one week before I got sober for good.

I’ve been having an eye-opening experience with Caroline Knapp’s book, “Drinking: A Love Story.” Before I get started with this train of thought, I will just say that anyone who has or has had a bad relationship with alcohol should read this book. I find myself stopping to highlight and make notes a lot while I read. Often her words sound like conversations I’ve had in my own head.

“Me too,” I say.

Yesterday, I read her thoughts on moderation and the self-help trend during…

Alicia Gilbert

Alicia is a full-time writer and blogger. Her website, Soberish, focuses on recovery, mental health, and wellness. Read more at

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