How Do You Define Sobriety?

I quit drinking on July 28, 2013 and didn’t have a drop to drink until this past January, when I had one pint of 5% ABV beer that didn’t give me a buzz.

I’ve not had a drink since then. Would you consider me to still be sober?

You are sober today.

I would have to use January for my sobriety date.

But that is just me. 22+ years. Yes, it can be done.

More important question is why did you take the drink? You always have a choice.

I’ve never planned to be a teetotaler. I was just drinking too much and it came close to costing me some very important relationships so I cut it off indefinitely. I’ve been very upfront with myself and them that I plan to reincorporate it into my life eventually and while now isn’t the time, I was just curious how others would view my own particular path of sobriety.

Do you not allow that a person can be sober one day, but tipsy on another day? I’m sober at the moment, will not be later tonight, but will be again in the morning.

Using sober to mean “I never drink” is what I consider a total misuse of the term.

“Sobriety” connotatively means AA-type abstinence for me.

“Sober” just means not drunk.

.0799999999 BAC (and below).

Me too.

I mean, if you didn’t have a problem…why would you care?

Where did I say I don’t have a problem? I said in post #3 that I do.

In the AA sense total abstinence is reffered to as sobriety or length of time sober. In the day to day world it might be how long since you have gotten drunk. I have known a lot of problem drinkers who were not alcohlic and at some point resumed drinking responsibly. I have never known an alcohlic to resume drinking responsibly.

I define it as drinking to your heart’s content, so long as it isn’t costing you anything meaningful. If you can afford it, you aren’t an asshole and you can function in the world at an average or above level then you are “sober” and have attained “sobriety.”

The minute it starts fucking with your marriage, mortgage, credit, kids, record etc. you either stop or you have ceased to be “sober” Just my opinion.

That’s pretty nifty: if they learn to drink “responsibly” then they clearly were never alcoholic in the first place. It seems a bit circular.

If you stick to the AA mindset, your sobriety date would be in January. I’ve always thought that model isn’t necessary for everyone though, it’s just a “better safe than sorry” way of viewing sobriety for people that have a really bad problem. In 12 step programs they’ll preach that everyone is equal in their addictions, I don’t buy into that either. Some people have a harder time staying clean. A lot of people that swear by the program disagree with me.

I kicked heroin in April of '09. Used it once in October of 2012. I still consider myself to be coming up on 5 years despite that one use.

The real question is do you feel like you’re still clean? Or that you have been since you quit last year? Choosing not to drink is something you ultimately did for you. You’re not answering to anyone else other than yourself.
Don’t beat yourself up over one beer. Shit happens. Of course don’t take that as an excuse to do it again, but if you feel like you’ve earned your six and a half months then you have.

I quit alcohol and drugs in 1990, didn’t touch a drink or any drugs until about 2010, over 20 years. I now have an occasional drink or beer at family gatherings, not once have I ever had more than two. I used to drink too much but always knew I was not really alcoholic. I never was a blackout drinker or a binge drinker and I was always able to stop or abstain when needed. I still go to AA but don’t claim a sobriety date. I know in my heart I am sober but I do respect their rules and traditions.

I voted total abstinence, because that’s what I feel I need to stay off alcohol. But that’s my definition, for me, and doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone, although many alcoholics will agree with me. If you are comfortable and in control drinking occasionally, or even regularly but within limits, then that’s the definition you should use.

One thing I believe now that I did not believe in the past is that no matter how long an alcoholic stays off alcohol his disease will continue to progress. I have lost count of friends with 20 sometimes 30 years of sobriety who went through a divorce or something and drank themselves to death with in a few months. Alcoholism is nothing to play with. My SO has struggled with it her entire life.

If alcohol never caused you any problems (you could stop when needed), why did you feel the need to attend AA?

It was causing me a lot of problems. I got into a habit of drinking and partying very young and didn’t let go of it until I was 40 years old. I never had a dui or lost a job but I was having severe domestic problems, getting into fights, driving way over the legal limit even if I didn’t get caught. Spending money in bars the family could have better used at home. I was pretty much a functioning bum. My entire world changed dramaticaly for the better shortly after I quit.

  I drank over a lot of issues that I could easily fix, once I fixed those issues the need to drin seem to go away. By definition you could say I was alcoholic. But I was able to push a drink away when I started getting too drunk, most of the alcoholics I know just keep on drinking. Procrastination and low self esteem were my triggers.

Sorry, I have absolutely no experience with sobriety.

I do think I am still clean. I was talking to a friend that quit smoking on New Years and when he said it’d been six weeks, it made me think of my own timeline. It’s either just over 200 days or about three weeks and I definitely consider myself sober since I didn’t even get a buzz off the beer. I was just curious about others’ viewpoints.

I don’t have any experience with AA, or alcoholism, but I agree with Tim R. Mortiss that sobriety refers to your current state not your recent history. For that I would use a term like maybe ‘abstinent’ and I’d say you have been abstinent since January.

On a slightly different topic, ‘didn’t get a buzz’ seems like a criterion that is wide open to abuse. How much do you have to drink before you are ‘buzzed’?

The definition doesn’t matter to me. I’ve never had a problem with drinking. When I get a bit of a buzz I usually forget to keep drinking. I’ve never been drunk enough to pass out unexpectedly or forget what happened. Not too long ago I drank a lot at a NYE party, yet remained remarkably lucid and didn’t feel how I normally feel when drunk. But I knew I was smashed and didn’t object when my wife drove home. Sitting at a stoplight, I asked her if there were two stoplights or 4. She said two, and I said I figured that, but I counted 4. I could tell that I couldn’t get my eyes to coordinate, despite being in good focus. And I could tell I was slurring my speech. I think that’s the drunkest I’ve ever been.

I had a housemate who was an alcoholic who could have occasional drinks but knew his limit (which IIRC was two beers.) I understand that’s rare. I’ve known more alcoholics who had to swear off completely.