A common saying in AA is “My worst day sober is still better than my best day drinking.” It's a worthy sentiment, but how can it be sincere? Can your worst day sober really be better than your best day drinking? Countless terrible things can happen regardless of sobriety. On the other hand, some can medicines make you feel better than is humanly possible without medications and often there are no immediate consequences. So why does this saying persist?
Drinking the worst day seems like the best day
One reason is that people in recovery remember events during active addiction as much better than they actually remember. Once you've been sober for a while, you forget how bad life had gotten and a few positive memories start to filter through. Affirming that “My worst day sober is still better than my best day drinking” is a way to remind yourself that whatever you think you're missing wasn't as good as you remember it. Your memories of even your best times are filtered through you alcohol or drug addiction. That means you may have had a great day from your perspective at that point. While from any other perspective, it could have been pretty bad. The classic example is someone who gets drunk and imagines making the party when in reality he embarrassed himself and shamed his friends.
When you are one alcohol addiction your best day of drinking is necessarily linked to your worst day of drinking. There is no separation between the two, which means that you cannot choose. By the time people are ready to sober up, they only have bad days. And that is often the trigger to do something about it.
Pleasure is borrowed happiness
"My worst day sober is still better than my best day drinking" also has a subtler meaning. It is true that drinking and drugs can be fun, but pleasure is not the same as happiness. Pleasure is a kind of borrowed happiness that you often have to pay back with interest. Pleasure comes from the outside and is fleeting, while happiness comes from within and is more robust. While sobriety is incapable of competing with drugs and drinking for pleasure, it is much better than luck. It provides the kind of emotional stability, social connection, and meaningful action that contribute to true happiness.