An exciting vision of you! –
July 25, 2020 – When AA was founded in 1935 there was no provision for women, let alone women of colour. The universal efficacy of methods drawn from the experiences of white men, with limited scientific backing, have long been called into question, but until recently alternatives have been hard to find.
The AA vision of sobriety couldn’t have been further from the truth for me. Sobriety isn’t about sacrifice – the lucidity I’m able to bring to my important moments now intensifies their brightness and hue. I discovered sobriety because I found something that was too important to do while numb.
That choice has radiated out – steering me into alignment with the things I care about the most; my politics, health and work. When I finally started discussing my choice not to drink I realised I was far from alone. An increasing variety of people are looking to sobriety as a tool for both personal and social transformation. It’s no coincidence that a lot of the exciting change around the language of alcohol consumption is coming from people embedded in broader liberation movements. They’re young, queer, feminist, disabled, Indigenous and absolutely anything but boring.
Often, discussions of alcohol misuse focus on the dire consequences of addiction, and that’s understandable. The number of women in the US dying from alcohol-related causes has risen 85% in the past 20 years. While alcohol addiction is real and profoundly harmful, the “rock bottom” narrative that often accompanies these stories didn’t resonate with me.
It was nothing short of electrifying to realise that I wasn’t alone in struggling with alcohol, but not feeling “sick enough” to get help. For generations, we’ve been forced to either keep drinking, even though we’re no longer comfortable with it, tough it out alone, or seek treatment that labels us as pathologically dysfunctional.