The "F" Word in Sobriety
BY: TAMI HARPER WINN
There she goes throwing the “F” bomb around like a jet plane unloading bouncy balls over the city of New York. Who is this crazy lady flinging this word around with all the flash of Lady GaGa during a Super Bowl Sunday Half-Time Show? Well, this lady happens to know the true meaning of the “F” word and for all intensive purposes tends to do the word its due justice. You see, this woman is experiencing the “F” word in all its glory as you are reading this right now. That’s right. She’s laying on the beaches of Baja, California lapping up the sun and shaking sand from her toes while she has “Fun” in sun - completely sober.
You heard right - “Fun” in sobriety. This word is commonly referred to as the “F” word in sobriety because it’s the hardest thing to do when you first start the journey. Well, as I stated earlier, that she is me and I am currently sitting on some beach in Mexico, or strolling the streets snapping gorgeous pictures, or getting to know the local town drunks at an AA meeting, or enjoying the mariachi bands under the evening stars. I am having fun.
It is not something I always knew how to do, especially early on in sobriety. Early on I didn’t think it would ever be possible, in fact I believed more than likely I would die a slow boring death now that I had stopped drinking. I could never have conceived that I would one day be on my first ever grand adventure to share sobriety, not margaritas, with a friend in Mexico.
I once thought that hours playing pool, doing rounds of shots at the bar, or getting stuck on stupid in a bathroom full of tweekers, was what fun really meant. I actually lived for it – planned my days around it. My mind could never wrap itself around the idea that one day, I would know the true meaning of fun. It could never conceive what the world looked like from the basket of a hot air balloon in the early morning hours, what the adrenaline would feel like coursing through my veins as I paddled over rapids on the river, or what countless sleepless hours would feel like at a sober convention with a bunch of recovering alcoholics. My mind was limited in its ability to see further than the bottle or mirror that the lines were railed out on.
No high I ever got from a glass pipe or a shot of whiskey was ever going to be able to compare to the highs I would experience in sobriety. It wasn’t easy when I first had to close the door to the music that lingered across the lake into my living room from the neighborhood nightclub every Friday night when I first got sober. It wasn’t easy walking past the 24 pack carrying kids half drunk at the convenience store counter loudly boasting about the party they were on their way to. Nor was it easy to pass the bar I frequented night after lonely night to go to a meeting instead. I could have never known that my life would look like this in only a very short time.
Today I can experience the “F” word in all its magnificence. I am present in every moment, soaking it in, contemplating every delicious idea that comes my way and then indulging in it. Moments of campfire meetings with sober alcoholics, painting classes with my friends and family, bicycle rides with my best friend across town on a warm summers night, laughing as I clumsily whack away at a tiny white ball on a little wooden tee, and backyard movie nights under countless stars with with my loved ones and friends were something that even this creative mind could not conjure up.
But that is just a small glimpse into the life of recovery for me today. It is a but a brief spill of words across a computer screen in comparison to the fun I have actually experienced since I put the drink down. I don’t intend to ever let a bottle get between me and the chance to watch as the ocean comes into view after an 8-hour drive to the Oregon coast, ever again. I want to throw the “F” word around like nobody’s business for the rest of my life and enjoy every moment of it.
I can have it all the rest of my days if I nurture the gift of sobriety that my higher power has given me. I can if I give back to those who have yet to experience the full depth of the “F” word because they are too broken to know it exists. I can have it forever if I do what I have always done since the moment I put the shot glass down and picked up the Big Book of AA. If I don’t do what I have always done, I won’t get what I've always gotten as a result of doing the work to get here.
I can’t speak for anyone else, nor do I want to, but for me I’m going to use the hell out of the “F” word for as long as my higher power will let me. I hope that he allows me to share it with others and help them to see that dropping the “F” word today has a whole different meaning than dropping it when we were drunk or high.
Until I return, sombrero in hand, I bid you adios and Que la pases bien.
~ Tami Harper Winn ~
The story written here is solely the work of the author’s. Any use or reproduction of this article is prohibited without written consent of the author or credit to the author through works cited.