by Michael Gershe
With today being Veterans Day, I am reading everyone’s Facebook status paying their respect to our brave men and women in our military. Somehow my brain thought of those who are dealing with sobriety on a daily basis. I thought about the sacrifices our military makes for our freedom and also the sacrifices you make to remain sober. Serving in the military is not easy by any stretch and neither is your sobriety, but yet, with hard work, it can be done. But as I read status after status, for some reason, I thought of you and your struggles with remaining sober. I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you for it too.
I cannot relate to what you have gone through, hitting rock bottom only to climb your way out of the abyss to the point of where you can stand up on your own two feet and say, “I’ve been sober for (insert how long it has been.)” KISS ex-lead guitarist Ace Frehley who is now 5 years sober has also inspired this blog. Being a KISS fan my entire life I knew of his alcohol and drug addiction, but until reading his book, it is amazing that he is still alive. But to hear Ace continually say how many years he has been sober is great, it is a badge of honor that many can respect him for.
Being a comedian, I often hear other performers on stage brag about their drinking exploits or driving drunk and that often gets laughs or applause. However, the biggest applause always comes from a comedian who says how long he or she has been sober for. That is great positive reinforcement and a way of the audience saying, “good job, keep it up.” But do you ever take the time to applaud yourself for the sacrifices you make to remain sober?
Positive reinforcement is a huge reward for doing something well done and perhaps just waking up the next day is reward enough after all you might have gone through. The commitment you have made, not only for yourself, but your family is huge and should never be taken lightly. We know there is so much negative reinforcement out there; I mean all you have to do is watch a sporting event to see all the alcohol commercials on. It is amazing to see people tailgate before games only to walk in drunk to a game and still continue to drink. I never understood the fun in that and I never will.
But you have made that commitment to yourself and your sobriety shows your dedication to living a better life, not just for you, but for your loved ones. People should applaud you because it is probably the hardest thing you have to do on a daily basis. You should also pat yourself on the back too, make time to thank yourself for doing something that is so difficult, but you continue to do it every day you wake up. And by the way, I may not know you, but I thank you for your sobriety. I applaud you…. loudly.