California vs Florida: Which Sober Are You?
By now you probably know that California Sober types believe it’s a-okay to smoke pot and kick back the occasional cocktail. You probably also know that Florida Sober folks don’t believe any such thing. In fact, for the FLA sobriety equals abstinence — no puffs, hits or shots about it. So you’ll never see us mistakenly pull out our Cannabis Card while we’re shopping at Big Daddy’s.
Nevertheless our only real issue with the California Sober movement is how much their brand of sobriety provides fuel to those who’d like to burn down all the addiction treatment facilities. Yep, believe it or not, some people are still anti-recovery. Yep, even though we lost over 90,000 Americans to drugs last year. Those folks are particularly opposed to recovery centers. And when the opposed find out the sobriety seekers have a bong in one hand and a flask in the other, recovery takes a serious hit.
No, we’d rather keep defining sobriety just how Merriam-Webster has been defining it all along. That is, “the state of being sober.” And since Ol’ Merriam defines sober as “abstaining from drinking alcohol or taking intoxicating drugs,” there’s really no room for equivocation. Besides, we believe cannabis and liquor are more likely to lead people right back to serious drugging and drinking.
The California Sober movement didn’t begin with Demi Lovato, but she surely gave it a significant place on the recovery map. She also gave the cause some much-needed perspective. Anyone can poke fun at someone though, especially if said someone is doing something that flies in the face of what you believe. But trying on another’s system? That takes some guts. It also takes some empathy.
And Lovato’s “California Sober” is certainly deserving of empathy, especially when you consider the guts she’s shown throughout her sobriety battle. She’d initially came clean, so to speak, with “Sober,” a song that’s as beautiful as it is crushing. Our colleagues at the Schnellenberger Family Foundation even raved all about it. Then again, there wasn’t one thing about that track which wasn’t absolutely laudable.
When Lovato relapsed and then overdosed we were as afraid for her as everyone else. We were even more alarmed when word leaked that the incident was far more serious than initially reported. When Lovato then followed up with the doc Dancing with the Devil however, we were relieved. Our colleagues at Recovery Boot Camp helped us say so too. For here was the Lovato we’d come to know and respect. The artist who takes control of her trajectory, no matter how wild. And owns up to who she is and all that she’s done. It’s a remarkable trait, and it comes from a remarkable talent.
Another New Chapter
The song “California Sober” simply represents another new chapter in Lovato’s highly-storied life. She’s not done with recovery; she’s simply tweaking it to meet her needs. And the lyrics make that perfectly clear.
Cashin’ in my chips for forgiveness
Trading in my shame for perspective
Tired of being known for my sickness
It didn’t work, I’m tryin’ something different…
For Lovato, “History was always repeating” itself. Rehab. Relapse. Rehab. Relapse. The near fatal overdose made her realize the time had come to switch it up. Plain old ordinary rehab not only wasn’t working for her, but it was dangerous.
Well “not anymore.”
But just because Lovato is California sober, “doesn’t mean the growin’ part is over.” She believes “it ain’t black or white, it’s all of the colors.” And really she’s right. She needs to find the colors that work best for her. Who are we to say otherwise?
What’s good for Lovato though isn’t necessarily good for anyone else. Her life is her life. And tailoring your life after the life of another is never a great idea. That’s especially true if said other happens to be a popstar. There’s no way the average citizen’s day-to-day mimics that of a celebrity. Sure, everybody hurts and heals, lusts after and longs for. A whole lot of people are veterans of more than a few rehabs too. But there’s a reason they say what’s good for the goose isn’t necessarily good for the gander.
Florida Sober doesn’t permit any such leeway. Maybe it should; maybe it shouldn’t. That’s for each individual to discover (and determine) on their own. But as a rule, Floridians don’t equivocate. Sobriety is sobriety. Just as it’s defined above. And just as it was defined by a guy named Bill W.
You thought we forgot about the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous? How could we? Bill W is the very personification of sobriety. And AA keeps millions upon millions of folks sober each and every day. In fact, it does so day-by-day. In every way.
AA also begins (and ends) with abstinence. From the get we admit that we’re powerless over alcohol and drugs. And powerless means we don’t dare put either into our bodies. Not even a little. You know the drill. One drink is too much and a hundred is never enough. Same goes for drugs. Times a thousand.
As the weeks pile up the need dissipates. Before long, it’s gone completely. Oh, there’s the occasional reminder here and there. Sometimes there’s even a spark. But if you hold tight and stay focused, you’ll easily shrug it all off.
You’ll be glad that you had too. Damn glad. Because all the time and money you used to spend on drinking and drugging becomes yours again. So does all that piece of mind. Your friends and your family begin to look at you differently too. Like they used to, way back when, before the toxins took over your life.
It’s a wonder to behold.
But Florida Sober doesn’t come easy. It requires effort. Serious effort. There are Steps to take (and take). Meetings to make (and make). Amends you’ll need to bring to light — and to live up to accordingly. There’s also a whole new set of practices and principles to adhere to. Well, not entirely new. You knew them before the drink and the drugs. You’ve simply gotta start reliving them. And start reviving your life.
California or Florida, Just Get Sober
Again, Healing Properties may be diametrically opposed to the California Sober movement, but we’re not against sobriety. So if it takes you going all West Coast in order to get off meth or coke or opiates, by all means go for it. You’re much more likely to eventually find that you can do without everything if you’re in the right ballpark. Then when you do, you can join the folks who are Florida Sober.
Meantime, we still applaud Demi Lovato for her continued courage. Living under a microscope can’t be easy, especially when you’re dealing with substance abuse. Yet, she’s handled herself with absolute grace. And hey, if a little cannabis or liquor keeps her out of the ER, we’ll gladly look the other way.
How about you? Is your sober Florida or California? Are you thinking about either? We’re obviously pulling for Florida, but we stand ready, willing and eager to help regardless. All you’ve gotta do is phone. But whatever you do, please do something. Life’s far too short not to.
(Image: Mojo Travels)