Name: Minister Ralf Friedrichs
Sober Since: 06 / 22 / 2013
Sober For: 8 Years & 98 Days
What it was like?
It is hard to describe the feeling of sobriety because after a little over 7 years, I cannot separate the various feelings that come with thinking with a clear head, the changes in the way I think, and confronting the feelings that I ignored, neglected or avoided for so long. The amazing events that are a byproduct of living sober bring an entirely different set of feelings that include a sense of honor and responsibility. Sobriety alone was pretty frightening. My drinking progressed from the casual drinking up through the catastrophic self destructive isolating black-outs in my late 50's. The last attempt at sobriety before 2013 started out very much like the many temporary attempts over the previous years, as consequences forced me to try to curb or stop my consumption. In fact, throughout the first week of sobriety, I harbored the idea that once the effects of my recent debauchery were smoothed or faded, I could probably start drinking again. I would just have to be more conscientious about how much I was drinking. Somehow, I could not put that thought into the perspective of the many failed resolutions and plans of the past.
Something miraculous happened that next week. Perhaps the eventual purge and detoxification of alcohol from my system allowed me to clearly see the mess I was making of my life and the impact on my loved ones and the people closest to me. A week after my last drink, I suddenly became aware of the pain I was causing my family, friends. I was devastated and completely demoralized. Although raised knowing who God was, and still somewhat practicing believing in him, in all actuality, I was an accidental believer at best. Of all the morning after, foxhole prayers I pleaded with a God I didn’t understand, begging to get out of one scrape or another, I finally found myself on my knees in earnest, giving up before that same mysterious God. I was completely spent. I couldn’t see any way out of the problems of my own doing. My needs were many, but my exhaustion was so thorough that all I could do was ask for help in whatever way He saw fit. I cannot remember ever feeling so completely empty and sad. There was no immediate relief. I could not sleep as I was consumed by a feeling of utter doom. As melodramatic as that description sounds, what happened next could only be described as a miracle. My head was filled with the brightest light that I have ever experienced. I felt an absolute calm that is indescribable, especially in contrast to the crushing despair of just a few hours prior. It seems as if time was irrelevant and all of my thoughts were occurring consecutively, but it was not frantic or confusing, it felt completely natural. I suddenly had insight to what course of action that I needed to take in all of my most pressing problems, with a sense of acceptance to whatever the outcome, as long as I took the action. I am convinced that calm was God’s grace. The obsession to drink was lifted. That grace allowed me to look at Alcoholics.
What it is like now?
Since 2013 , I have become a Minister, a 5 time Author and host both a daily podcast and YouTube show. Sobriety today is so much more than not drinking. It truly is being engaged in the lives around me. It gives the freedom and courage to question my own thoughts and beliefs. It also allows me to be responsible and of service to my family and fellowmen. Today I know I make a difference in other folks lives. As a certified Addiction Recovery Coach, my services to others facing what I have faced is completely pro-bono. God gives me all I need