Updated: Mar 10, 2021
Today, I submit my book of sobriety to the publisher for final editing. After editing, we move on to reviews, publication, and book launch. The launch is set for the day before my birthday. I decided to launch it the day before instead of on my birthday because I wanted my actual birthday to be less chaotic and more celebratory. This year, I turn 50. Birthdays have never been much of a big deal for me. I somewhat remember thirty feeling a little weird, but it was definitely not a thing. 50 on the other hand, feels pretty strange. It feels as though I am stepping over an invisible line and into another phase of living. What actual phase, I am unsure, but it certainly feels more important than the other phases of my life. I feel if ever there was a time for me to step up and define who and what I am, now is the time. While I sat here pondering, not only who and what I am but also who and what I want to become, I could not help but think back to the beginning of this journey. Before I took the final step out of my own way and onto a path of growth and awareness, I was in a perpetual state of passive living.
Living without intention is not living, it is merely surviving
Passive living, in my mind, is when we live without purpose, without intention, without growth. I have written about this idea many times in the past. While I am certain many people can relate to the following sentiment, this phrase has always felt very personal to me, "Living without intention is not living, it is merely surviving." I went through the better part of my life simply getting through the days and nights. Sure, I hold some memories close to my heart, but I guarantee you, I should have many more. I either did not create them because I had settled into a "comfortable" stagnant life, or I do not remember them which is actually worse if you ask me. Not creating memories is one thing, but actively participating in experiences we later do not remember because we were chemically altered is simply a waste. Why bother?
I began this journey on a trip to Colorado to go snowboarding. My partner and I had, somewhat casually, decided to quit drinking together. I say somewhat casually because we had toyed with the idea of cutting back, moderating, and quitting drinking for years. When the time finally came, it felt different. It felt more important. It felt real. I'll never forget waking up on day one of my sobriety and making the introspective proclamation I was going to start writing a blog. I had done some writing in my past, but I let it go due to personal reasons. I had not written anything in almost seven years. For whatever reason, it made sense to me at the time to document my journey. So, on day one, I created a blog. I did not actually write a blog on day one, but I created an account and set everything up. On day two, I began writing.
From the day I began writing my sober blog, my world has shifted in ways with which I am still trying to come to terms. What started as a way to help keep me accountable, ended up becoming something much more extraordinary. In writing about my personal experience, I not only learned more about myself, I learned more about other people and their experiences as well. The knowledge I garnered through my connections in the sober community urged me to push further and deeper into not only my own personal experience but the experience of others as well. By doing this, I quickly learned a vast disparity exists in the sober experience of people. As many of you know, for me, sobriety has been quite easy. For others, the experience has been quite the opposite. While I have not yet found a definitive explanation for easy sobriety, I continue to push forward in an effort to try.
One thing is for certain, however, in regard to finding any possible correlation between the way we live and easy sobriety, if we are not open to the possibility, the possibility cannot exist. Recently, I wrote a blog about my opinion regarding a higher power. I believe it is not in our best interest to give up ourselves to something "bigger" than ourselves. I believe, in doing this, we create a potentially inescapable realm of reliance on something other than ourselves to control our lives. If we live in constant fear of failure due to our inability to handle a situation, then we can never rise above the situation. In response to the higher power blog, a person commented how they had very little hope for me maintaining my sobriety and how they hoped I would find a meeting. I responded with the following: "I have never attended a meeting and I have never told someone I had little hope for them, there may be a correlation." While my response may seem crass, it was the most honest answer I could offer.
I bring up this interaction not to belittle the person who commented on my blog. We all have our own opinions and beliefs about our worlds, and that is just fine. I bring it up because I believe the interaction speaks loudly to something I desperately wish to see changed in the sober community. While we may not all agree on the proper paths to sobriety and recovery, we all play a vital role in the village it takes to succeed. We need to support each individual person's journey if it is working for them. I write about my experience and why I think my experience has been different from others, but I always try to respect the journeys of those who came before me, regardless of affiliation. If I know one thing to be true, it is this. If what we are doing is working, the reason we believe it is working is true. It takes a very small injection of negativity to disrupt the positive energy flow of an affirmation.
Reflecting on my experience through and past sobriety and recovery, I feel blessed to have experienced what I have experienced. I am honored to have met the people I have and continue to meet in the sober community. I cherish the positive feelings that accompany good decisions, hard work, and jobs well done. I look forward to the challenges I cannot foresee because I know I am ready, willing, and capable to take on those challenges with vigor. I am excited to continue learning about the vast differences in the world of sobriety, but I am even more excited to narrow down the possible reasons why I believe the sober experience can be less difficult and easier than we have experienced or been told in the past. The margins are narrowing as I speak. I am hearing more and more about easier sober experiences in sobriety. People are beginning to believe and I believe it is this belief that holds the key. The more we perpetuate the possibility of easier sobriety, the more it becomes a reality.
As my 50th birthday approaches and I think about all the things I have missed, I cannot help but recognize all the things I have gained over the past year. My life is actually quite unrecognizable to the life I was living before I quit drinking. I am accomplishing more every single day than I used to in a month. My relationship with my partner and my son has grown dramatically in depth and strength. I am chasing career aspirations I would not have even considered in the past. Not only am I chasing career aspirations but I am also achieving them. One by one my goals and dreams are beginning to see the potential of fruition. I not only believe I can achieve whatever I want, but I also believe I already am. I am living my best life. With that said, even in my best life, I am no longer willing to settle. I will continue to forge and chase new dreams, create new memories, and experience life in ways I never knew possible. All of this is a direct result of making a simple change. The change was not that I quit drinking. The change was that I began living with intention.