It’s my sober birthday this month, and you’re invited to the party. After eleven years of passing on the martinis, sobriety is my norm. It’s also the norm for my family. That means no martinis, wine, or beer in our homes or at our gatherings. We’re not against alcohol. Alcohol is fine in moderation. Since not everyone can control the amount they imbibe, however, we have to make the world comfortable for those who want the recovery lifestyle. Did you know that sober curious is now a thing? And sober bars are also a thing. Let’s just say in our family we walk the recovery walk ourselves, and we’re not missing out. At home, we actually talk, play games, enjoy our communications in a way we couldn’t when alcohol was part of our lives. There are more benefits, of course, but too many to mention here.

Why My 11th Sober Birthday Matters

We live in a truly boozy world where there has been the universal belief that no end-of-work day, sports event, party, family reunion, celebration, or moment of depression is complete without having a couple of drinks. The result has not been good for our children, workplaces, schools, or family environment.  That may slowly be changing, and there are some easy changes we can make to help the next generation.

Children do what their parents do, what their friends do, and what they see on TV and in the movies. So, parents need to think about the messages they send with their own habits. Not drinking (or smoking dope) at home in front of children will remove the tease factor, and the temptation to steal from parents’ stash. Face it, your kids will steal your alcohol, cigarettes, pain pills, whatever you use. It’s a fact of life. They will lie about doing it, and you will believe them. Sending a different message at home makes a difference.

My Sober Birthday

I remember my sober birthday date: August 25, 2008. Sober birthdays are very meaningful. Just as many “alcoholics” can remember their first drink, I clearly remember the two events that caused me to eliminate the booze from my life. One night a drunken and scary fight between close friends made me want to be safe from the behavior changes that occur with drinking. I didn’t want to be part of it. I was on vacation with them and had to leave. Drinking was toxic to them and to me. But sobriety was already on my mind. Some of own family members were finally ready to take the sobriety step and I wanted to walk with them into what we then thought was the Missing Out Sea of Misery.

Recovery Changes You Can Make

The first thing that happens when you stop drinking is that friends and family members who do drink are dismayed and suspicious, you may need counseling or help to deal with it.. They try to argue you out of your choice to abstain, and keep trying to give you a drink, “just one” even years later. People who know you well and even love you a lot will still want you to drink with them. That is their business. It has nothing to do with you, but can hurt if you’re not expecting it.

In my decade of sobriety, the world outside of recovery has changed. There are many signs of hope. The recovery lifestyle is gaining acceptance. And happily, many people now celebrating sober birthdays are parents just like me.

Even if you’re not ready for full sobriety, you can make a difference by not drinking in front of your children.

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Leslie Glass

Leslie Glass became a recovery advocate and co-founder of Reach Out Recovery in 2011, encouraged by her daughter Lindsey who had struggled with substances as a teen and young adult. Learning how to manage the family disease of addiction with no roadmap to follow inspired the mother and daughter to create Reach Out Recovery's website to help others experiencing the same life-threatening problems. Together they produced the the 2016 ASAM Media Award winning documentary, The Secret World of Recovery, and the teen prevention documentary, The Silent Majority, distributed by American Public Television. Leslie is also the creator of Recovery Guidance, the information website for those seeking addiction and mental healthcare for professionals nationwide. In her career, Leslie has worked in advertising, publishing, and magazines as a writer of both fiction and non fiction. She is the author of 9 bestselling crime novels, featuring NYPD Dt.Sgt. April Woo. Leslie has has served as a Public Member of the Middle States Commission of Higher Education and as a Trustee of the New York City Police Foundation. For from 1990 to 2017, Leslie was the Trustee of the Leslie Glass Foundation.


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