My sober anniversary is this week. Time for coffee and cake, hugs and handshakes. More importantly, it’s time to remember where I was before I got sober. 

To help remember, here is the guest post I wrote for Mrs. D. Her site Living Sober is a great resource and vibrant community of sober folk. Her writer’s page is Mrs. D is Going Without. She is currently writing her second book; her first book, a memoir, is available here.




I will never forget the withdrawal. That trembling of nerves under skin, sweat from shaking pores. Wave after wave of tremens. The delirium.

I will never forget those psych-ward slippers. Blue felt, paper bottom. The nurses taking my blood pressure. The concern on their faces. My teeth grinding.

I cannot remember many a drunken night. But I will never forget waking up with my jaw broken. A two-inch fracture of the mandible bone. My jaw clinched shut with wires for weeks. Sipping the pain medicine. Then drinking it, soon after downing it.

I will never forget the rehab. I first admitted I was alcoholic because I couldn’t read the prayer they gave me and I had nothing left to say.

I will never forget that relief. One small step forward in a life reeling in delusion, grandiosity, anxiety, and doubt.

I will never forget the people who helped me stand when I couldn’t stand myself, those who loved me when I loathed myself.

I will never forget feeling accepted—finally accepted. The longer I stayed sober, the more clear things became. I was alcoholic, and there was a way out. I took suggestions. I shared honestly what was going through my head and I learned to let what was going through my head go…and go…and go.

I will never forget meeting my wife with two years sober, or marrying her with three years sober, or buying our house in my fourth year sober, or seeing our son born in my fifth year. In my sixth year I completed my masters in teaching English. In my seventh, our baby girl was born, and in my eighth I started a blog because I couldn’t keep in the joy any more.

If I ever forget the bliss of my sobriety, I fear I may drink again. I stay grateful to stay sober. I stay sober to stay grateful.

May I always remember.

20 Responses to “Remember

  • Never forget, yes. And let us remember, too, the gift of today with each other, sober. – D

  • Robert Crisp
    1 year ago

    Disturbing…as it should be. May I never forget, as well.

  • doriowen
    1 year ago

    So poignantly written. I could feel every milestone through your words. Congratulations on your hard won sobriety. D.

  • Dwight Chapin
    1 year ago

    What a wonderful post! Love, Dwight

  • Miracles, indeed. You are being fearfully and wonderfully (re)made. Blessed to know you.

  • Great stuff, Mark. The “remember when” kind of thing that sometimes ropes me back into keeping on the beam. Just the other day I was thinking about how horrible it was to get through the day hungover. It was brutal. How I did it, I don’t know. Grateful to not have to feel like that again. Anyway, wonderful post and so glad you started this blog!!

    Have a wonderful birthday week 🙂


    • Thanks Paul! You’re so right. It works that way nicely. I am so relieved to know where I’m waking up and all that. Such a relief. I must prefer this way of life.

  • Marilyn L. Davis
    1 year ago

    Congrats, and thank you, Mark. I just celebrated 28 years and reflecting on why we value our lives today as opposed to what it was, helps others understand that if we can weather the trials of early recovery and make it, they can, too. Encouraging and spreading hope.

  • Oh this made me cry. Just what I needed to read today, yet I worry it won’t be this way for us. I am so so very happy for you Mark. So happy that each year you have a huge success to mark the year with, a signpost of your progress. You are a blessing to me. Way on the other side of the U.S. Know that I hear you and I share in your joy today.

    • I hope everything works out for the best of me. I really do. I know it will always work out one way or another. If I can ever help in anyway please let me know! Thank you, as always, for your great support.

  • Awesome! A work that continues to be well done. Many congratulations!

  • As always Mark your words are an inspiration giving me hope in a time of darkness. Many many thanks for your writing and congrats on your sobriety.

  • Happy Anniversary. Many years ago a friend (Psyc PHD) and I were chatting with our wives while out for dinner. We, all but he ordered a wine. He stated he was on his EtOH sabbatical. Once a year he related, he goes 27 days without alcohol. Do not remember why the #27. He said this way he knows he is in control. Today I do the same. Have a wonderful day and continue to provide thought and inspiration to others.

    • Thank you for reading and replying. Sebright he, that used to be a challenge, is now just a way of life that I really embrace every day.

  • I want to always remember, too!
    Happy Anniversary, and so glad you are here to show how great being sober is!!

  • Great to see you are walking in victory! God bless

  • You sound pretty grounded to me. But you’re right. Never take anything for granted.

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