Nope, it’s spelled right. Not sobriety. So-dri-ety. The term refers to an alcoholic who has stopped drinking, but is not working the Steps. A friend of mine physically demonstrates this concept quite well by clenching his teeth hard and saying, through his grimace, “Just don’t drink.”

Sodriety rarely succeeds. At the bitter end, the alcoholic doesn’t really drink because he enjoys it. He drinks because he can’t not drink. There is something missing, some void in his spirit, that makes it humanly impossible for him to stop drinking (or using, or gambling, or spending, or fucking, or any other compulsive behavior). How else could he treat himself and those around him so miserably?

So the alcoholic drinks to fill that void. And though it may work for a while, that restless feeling, that urge to drink, always returns. But even if the alcoholic is fortunate enough to stop drinking altogether for a time, what is left of the drunk but that void, now unfilled?

Nature abhors a vacuum. As a result, sodriety, which removes the drink but leaves the void behind, almost always fails. The secret to A.A., the strength behind the common solution offered by the Twelve Steps, is that it aims to fill that void -– that God-shaped void –- not with another addiction, but with a close, personal relationship with the God of each alcoholic’s understanding. Alcoholics call this a spiritual awakening, and it is the key to true sobriety, not mere sodriety.

BrevityQuest 2007

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