Sober – an unpleasant word? #R2BT







We built that word to describe the absence of intoxication – and you either are or you’re not – it’s an exclusive condition [like ‘pregnant’].  But sober is an interesting word, because it’s a default condition. We are all built sober.  [Inside #R2BT, some of us are trying to stay that way for February]

Given time, we all will be…. do nothing and eventually you’re there.  The whole world, in the absence of fermentation and yeast, is sober.

Yet, despite being universal to humans who aren’t working to be otherwise, sober is somehow an unpleasant word.   Think of how we use it.

It was sobering – it was dry and uninteresting

Sober as a judge – an idiom about being over-serious and unwavering

10 years clean and sober – hard work, every day working on the straight and narrow

Sober, a song by the band Tool – an anthem of pain and self-loathing.  The one by Pink is about pain, too.  And the one by the Trews.

I couldn’t find a common use of the word that was appealing.  Yet that’s what we all are, most of the time, and what we are naturally built to be.  And if our language defines our thoughts….then what does this say about our opinions on everyday sobriety?

Author: Doug Ironside RN

Doug is a Registered Nurse (PHN) with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

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