My List of I Never’s


I have been reading quite a bit in the blogging world about the subtle benefits of sobriety, which made me think of this post I wrote about a year and a half ago.  Since I am sick as a dog right now (get out your violins, people!), and have very little energy (and am obviously feeling just a smidge sorry for myself!), I figured I’d repost this and remind myself why I am so damn grateful to be sober…


First published spring 2012:

Today in a meeting two different young men… one 22, the other 20 years old… shared how they felt about being in a 12-step program at such a young age.  To them, it feels restrictive, and they listed all the “normal” things kids their age do that they will no longer be able to do.  They look around the room we are in, and they see the ages of the people in the chairs next to them, and they think, “why can’t I do this for another 20 years, and then get it?”

As I listened to them, it made me think of my own life.  Now, maybe it is my advanced age, but I had a slightly different viewpoint.  Of course, in my 20’s, I did get to experience a lot (not all) of the things they listed… college parties, social drinking events, and so on… and my heart goes out to them, because I remember those times fondly.

But when I think of all the things I will never be able to do again, here is what my list looks like:

  • I will never again get to wake up with my heart pounding out of my chest, because I am so ashamed of my actions from the day before
  • I will never again get to spend the morning violently nauseous, or with a headache pounding louder than a jack hammer
  • I will never again get to piece together the events of the evening before and never quite find all the pieces in my own memory
  • I will never again get to pretend I remember some idiotic thing I said or did, and pretend that it is funny that I don’t remember
  • I will never again get to hear about the jackass I made of myself at a family or social event
  • I will never again get to see the look of utter disappointment in my husband’s eyes
  • I will never again get to see the look of confusion on my children’s faces when they don’t understand my mood swings
  • I will never again get to see the look of abject fear in my mother’s eyes
  • I will never again get to be the guest of honor at an intervention
  • I will never again get to embarrass my husband and children (at least not while chemically altered!)
  • I will never again get to obsess over creating the next opportunity to obtain a mood altering substance

Of course this list could go a lot longer, but I think you get the picture.  I pray that the young men I heard share today get it so they don’t have to make the list I just made…

Today’s Miracle:

Reading this list over a year later and being, if it is even possible, even more grateful to have those experiences stay in the past!

Posted on August 9, 2013, in Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. WOW! So brave and strong! I am setting out to make a list this weekend f my never agains… So funny/crazy how we become so obsessed and in twined in all those things in our earlier years, like its a right of passage to get shit faced wasted at a party, and act like a fool… Love your writing ma’am… Thank you..


  2. Wow! Feel like I just read my own story.. You have such a way with words.. Thank you..


  3. Great list! You know I had no idea what I was missing, till I was missing it! Lol! For so long I was more like the young men you described. I remember once on July 4 th – the USA Independence Day and one of the most popular drinking days, I actually shared at a meeting that I was pissed because I wasn’t free to drink on this freedom holiday! Few years later it hit me how ridiculous that statement was. Your list really reminds what is important. And what true gifts sobriety brings! Thanks! -Maggie.


    • Maggie, thank you for sharing your 4th of July story. I have bemoaned (in my head), “It’s not fair! I can’t even have a champagne toast at my daughter’s wedding!” Wait for the punchline…

      My daughter is 13!!!

      It’s amazing how quickly I can revert to my 2-year old inner child, so that’s why a list like the one above helps me to keep my priorities straight!

      Thanks for stopping by!


  4. I like the intervention one…lol.

    I don’t think I ever made a list like that – wish I did, as I wonder how different that list would be now compared to how it was back then. Would it be different? Hmmm….it probably would be most of the same things, but I am sure some new additions would make the list, as we grow and mature and continue our journey.

    I hope you’re feeling better! Sending hot chicken noodle soup your way…spiritually, that is 🙂

    Love and light,


    • That soup sounds fantastic right about now, and what a fabulous idea… I should have added to that list! Next time…

      I appreciate the good wishes, I am sick and tired of feeling sick and tired (thank God, this time due to illness rather than alcohol)!


  5. Love the list, but so sorry to hear you don’t feel well. Get better soon hun!


  6. I love this list. I would add: I will never get to go to work again with a pounding hangover headache, acting my ass off to seem bright and breezy despite the alcohol seeping through my pores. Hope you get better soon.


    • Thank you for adding to the list! I was hoping people would add their personal bullet points. Oh yeah, I remember that feeling. I am a stay at home Mom, but it is ridiculous the amount of cover-up we have to do after the insanity of drinking. Just thinking about that fake feeling makes my stomach churn. It is a great day to be sober!


  7. Josie, what a great post! Our stories are so similar in so many ways. A telling reminder of how far we’ve come – and most importantly how far YOU’VE come! You are such an inspiration to so many. Thanks for sharing and I hope you feel better soon!


  8. Josie, I love this list too. My goodness, we spent so much time creating and then un-creating a big fat mess for ourselves didn’t we? I too have forgotten so much of what that was like. I am forever grateful that so many of you have documented these thought-filled moments of brilliance. I get to look back and see my growth through your words. I love ya darlin’. Hope you feel better soon or are already better. xox me


  9. I agree, having this list recorded is very important for me… it was even more powerful to read it a year later than it was to write it when I was raw from all of the consequences of my addiction. Keeping it fresh is what it’s all about in recovery! Still working on the feeling better portion, I’m on the mend, but not enough to do cardio, so now I’m fighting with my monkey mind, as well as with my chest infection! One day at a time is all I can do, with recovery, and with illness!


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