Sacrificing a Demon

On Giving Up Drinking

Keri Smith of Deprogrammed


Today is my one year of sobriety and I feel so much better than a year ago. I watched a Jordan Peterson lecture once where he talked about sacrifice, and how life is about making sacrifices to achieve what we want out of it. How we each choose which sacrifices we are willing to make and which ones we aren’t. He said that if you stop and think about it something will immediately come to mind for each person, something you could choose to sacrifice that you think might help you become a better version of yourself over time. I immediately thought of alcohol, and though I didn’t give it up for at least another year or more, I would think about it often.

I had the desire to quit, but I wasn’t really ready to quit until a year ago. I think sometimes we humans cling to our toxic habits out of a fear of the unknown, and I think sometimes we cling to them because they stand in for actual purpose and meaning in our lives, when we are weak and without direction. There was a time when I was unmoored and the things that were standing in for me for purpose and meaning were toxic ideology, toxic habits, and toxic relationships. But mostly, I was clinging to a toxic attachment to all of the bad things that had happened to me in life, as if those things were my identity and meaning; they’re not.

People who want to and eventually do get sober can take many paths to get there. In my case, I had to let go of my toxic ideology first; I had to start to become strong and grounded and to figure out who I am and what I believe and what I think is important in life. I had to find my purpose and meaning, an actual fulfilling purpose and meaning instead of a hollow substitute. I had to find God. I know many people who found God *after* getting sober, and I know many who have gotten sober and do not believe in God, and I don’t think there is any kind of correct sequence for deciding to rid oneself of a toxic habit. There is no one way. I am only telling you my path.

I was the kind of drinker who would have people tell me that I did not have a problem. Many people told me this. Many of these people were well intentioned, but some were not. Some were people who had a problem with their own drinking and wanted company. I also had one person very dear to me, my ex-husband, who was honest with me out of love…