What It Means To "Own" Your Sobriety

Plus, the popular sobriety meme that needs to go away...

What’s up sober owners? Mike III here, welcome to the Own Sobriety newsletter! This issue is going out to over 200 men (and a few women). Thank you all for your support! 🙏

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👑 What It Means To “Own” Your Sobriety

You’ve probably seen the meme below or some variation of it that frequently goes around on social media. I cringe every time someone posts it…

The idea of my sobriety being rented is something I can’t get behind. Especially when owning my sobriety is how I’ve stayed sober for so long. The traditional way of anonymity, powerlessness, and playing the victim never worked for me. It took owning all my shit and working my ass off to get and stay sober.

I get that one of the sentiments here is to put in work every day, which is valid. But the rent analogy falls short. I earned every bit of my sobriety, and in my book, that means I own it outright. 💯

I should say I came up with the name “Own Sobriety” during my first month sober back in January of 2018. Not sure if the meme existed yet, but I hadn’t seen it. It’s pure coincidence that the name contradicts the meme. But it’s a perfect example of perspective…

Even in my first month, I knew I needed to treat this time differently. I was tired of the process, the stopping & starting, the relapsing harder than before — everything. So while sitting in my room in a detox facility in Northeast Indiana, I promised myself I’d do whatever it took to make this time different.

During that detox, I was in bad shape. Despite being medicated, I was shaking uncontrollably and withdrawing hard. But this time had to be different. So a couple days in, I forced myself to leave my room and sit in the community area of our detox wing. I socialized with other patients and got involved in card games. ♠️

Over the next few days, a group of 4 of us became regulars in the community room playing Spades, chatting about life & what led us there. It made the time much more bearable. Instead of staying in my room and agonizing through the withdrawals, I let it all be seen. I was clearly shaking & sweating more than anyone, but I figured no one else could judge, so why not just own my condition while making the best of it?

During our daily “recreation time,” I even got out on the court to play some volleyball — still shaking so badly I could barely stand still. Later, my buddy from our card playing group asked, “How do you get out there and play ball while shaking like that?” “Just own it,” I replied. And that became my motto for my recovery & sobriety.

Own Sobriety was created around that idea of “just own it.” That means taking responsibility for all aspects of your sobriety — including your past. It doesn’t matter which program you use or how you got sober. It only matters that you be accountable for it and have a desire to keep growing.

To own your sobriety means to stop making excuses and start changing the things you can control. It means to acknowledge your fuck-ups, but also that you celebrate your wins. It means to tell it like it is, but to know that you’re not perfect. It means to rock your style and be who you are, but also to be open-minded and adaptable. 👍

Owning your sobriety is about confidence and mindset. You’re not afraid to say “this is how I was.” You’re also not afraid to say “this is how I am now.”

With an ownership mindset, sobriety isn’t a weakness but a sign of success in overcoming an obstacle. It’s not a burden, sacrifice, or about what we can’t do. It’s a chance to experience a more fulfilling life and show what we can do now.

☀️ Spotlight: SoberPress

SoberPress was created by my friend & staple of the Instagram recovery community, Michael Ferrer. It is a website that shares great stories of recovery from individuals in the community. I recently shared my own story, and the process was super easy. Michael has put together questions to use as an outline to write your story here. When finished, simply email it to him at the address provided on the questionnaire. He will respond with an estimated date that your story will be posted on and, once ready, will send you a preview link to review & approve before it goes live on the site.

Michael also makes custom Instagram graphics to promote your story on the @soberpress page and shares those with you to use as well. Like I said, super simple. Whether you decide to share your own story or not, I highly recommend reading through the stories already up at soberpress.org. There are a lot of great ones and who doesn’t love a good, inspiring recovery story?

➡️ Plus, I’m going to be turning the table on Michael to share his story and that of SoberPress in an upcoming issue of this newsletter. Looking forward to that!

You can read my story on SoberPress here:

🔊 Latest Podcast Episodes

The addiction, recovery & sobriety podcast genre has become increasingly popular and even a bit crowded lately. Here are three recent episodes worth giving a listen to…

📢 Which podcasts, sobriety-related or not, do you enjoy most? Reply to this newsletter and share your faves — your response may be included in the next newsletter!

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