When I first came in to A.A. -- I thought it was the end of my life... alcohol was always at the center of everything that I did. If there wasn't alcohol there -- I felt I had no business being there!
My questions were:
1. How could I ever be happy not drinking?
2. How could anyone ever have fun -- not drinking?
3. Where could I go -- where people would not be drinking?
4. Doesn't everone drink?
5. How can I go to business meetings -- and not drink? (If I didn't drink they would think I had a problem with alcohol!)
What I realized was: all my thoughts were still about drinking. To think about "not drinking" is to think about drinking.
I thought that my entire life in the future -- because I had become alcoholic -- would center around thoughts about "not drinking."
I thought that because I was alcoholic -- and not drinking -- that I would have to spent 24 hours a day -- thinking about "not drinking."
I thought that the sober-alcoholics insanity of the "next first drink" -- would be when the alcoholic was not thinking about not drinking. Made perfect sense to me!
One morning -- I had been up all night thinking about some problems -- and it was about 3:00 a.m. in the morning -- and I discovered that I had not been thinking about not drinking. It scared the heck out of me, because I thought that I had caught the "insanity of the next first drink" so I called my sponsor to alert him and to ask for help!
I woke him and his wife up with my plea as I told him "I think I'm going to get drunk! And, you said call you before I drink! So, I did it this time! I'm calling!" He said, why are you going to drink? and I said "I was sitting here thinking and I suddenly discovered that I was not thinking about not drinking!" He say "what"? I found out that I wasn't thinking about drinking. And, that must be the alcoholic insanity -- my mind slipped aready because I wasn't thinking about not drinking!"
He asked if I had any alcohol in my apartment and I said no. He asked if I had already started drinking -- and I said no. Then, he seemed like he was mad and said "That's what's supposed to happen! That's normal! That's why we take the Steps so that we don't have to sit around thinking about not drinking!" And, then he told me to go to bed and stop thinking!
One day I discovered a place in our book that says: "Therefore, the main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind, rather than in his body."
I already knew of a Spiritual Principle of "my mind will attract and manifest what it thinks about." And, I put those two thoughts together.
1. My main problem centers in my mind...
2. I will attract and manifest what I think about...
3. If I'm thinking about "not drinking" -- I'm still thinking about drinking -- so, if I don't stop doing that -- I'll eventually have a drink.
So, I reversed my thinking (with effort). I started thinking about "staying sober." Naturally, one of the actions to take to stay sober -- is to not take the first drink -- but, there are other actions, too. So I began to think about those other actions -- and suddenly I discovered that I was taking the other actions -- to stay sober! (My mind was attracting and manifesting what I was thinking about -- "staying sober").
One day, while I was doing that -- I discovered that I had gone the whole day without thinking about "drinking or not drinking." Now, the only time I think about drinking is when I'm in an A.A. meeting and I'm supposed to say something about my drinking!
My mental obession with alcohol had been removed. The insanity of thinking about drinking had been removed. The insanity of drinking without thinking -- had been removed. That's what the 12 Steps do for us. Then, practicing the Steps daily, causes us to take other actions -- and those actions lead us towards staying sober, towards sobriety -- and causes us to have sober thinking.
That huge long story to answer your question?
Simple. I go pretty much where I want to go because the alcohol problem in my mind has been removed. And, I have fun and I'm happy doing what I'm doing -- sober. Drinking would mess it all up. Drinking -- would eventually would lead me back to unhappy and having no fun.
I don't go to bars or clubs -- unless I've got a good reason to be there. And, if I feel like I'm on shaky ground -- I don't go there even if I do have a good legitimate reason to be there.
With bars out of the way -- I can pick up a newspaper, an Entertainment Guide, or phone book -- and see thousands of places that I can go and many things that I can do -- sober. And, I do them.
I particularly like going to museums, art gallerys, antique stores, junk stores, restaurants, concerts, plays, theater, movies, historic sites, fairs, rodeos, carnivals, bike riding, photography, cooking outside, going to the park, hanging out with friends -- my list could go on, ad infinitum!
For me -- Life has become really wonderful -- sober. It's easier to stay happy -- sober. I remember where I go, what I did, who I was with, what I said, what it sounded like, what it looked like, what it felt like. I remember if I liked it or not.
And, for the most part -- I stay out of trouble easier -- sober.
One day -- many years ago, I was thinking the same question as your question. And, I must have had one of those foo-foo type moments -- where it felt like something spiritual might be happening -- and I realized that "God created this entire world for us to enjoy! And, because the alcoholic knows how to have fun -- and they have the "more disease" -- and, I'm a sober alcoholic -- I can put the pedal to the metal and enjoy all of it and more of it than non-alcoholic people -- if I stay sober!"
That's what I do. I stay sober to have fun and happiness anywhere, everywhere and most all the time! And, I do!