I do my best to maintain a positive voice throughout my blogs and podcasts. Occasionally, my tone drifts away from the positive timbre I generally wish to convey. My partner is quick to point out whenever this happens. I appreciate her honesty and willingness to help me stay on my chosen path of positivity and continued growth. Nevertheless, at times, I find myself drifting away from my predictable and overtly positive discourse and shifting more toward a tough love and stop fucking around kind of mindset. Does this mean I no longer desire to perpetuate positivity? Does this mean I no longer care? Does this mean I have become deaf to the call of service I have been so drawn to over the past year? Of course, not. It actually means quite the opposite. Have you ever cared for someone so much you wanted to grab ahold of them and shake them silly in an attempt to wake them up or help keep them from making a bad decision? If you are a parent, good friend, caring boss, or even a sibling you have probably felt some semblance of these feelings. It is the natural progression and sometimes the excruciatingly difficult act of loving someone.
Since I quit drinking and involuntarily embarked on this journey of self-discovery through personal healing and a growing desire to help others, I have grown increasingly protective of those in my newfound community. I have gained a large number of new friends I have never officially met. Interestingly, I know I would do pretty much anything for these new friends. You may ask yourself why? Why would you feel so strongly for people you do not really know? Well, it’s actually pretty easy to explain. I feel this way because I know what it feels like to feel worthless. I know what it feels like to feel unloved. I know what it feels like to be a failure. I know what it feels like to try your hardest and still feel undeserving of success. I know what it feels like to scratch and claw your way through a life in which you did not ask to participate. I know, and because of this, I care immensely for anyone caught in this malicious and self-imposed false reality. I am not saying it was wholly our own doing, but I am saying we did choose to believe the misinformed perception we adopted to define our reality. I did it too, but then I learned I was simply lying to myself and so are you.
The good news is if we can choose to believe we are worthless, we can also choose to believe we hold great worth. If we can choose to believe we are not deserving, we can also choose to believe we deserve everything. If we can choose to fail, we can also choose to succeed. Make no mistake, all of these feelings are choices. In the face of the gravest and most unfair odds, a person can choose to see and believe the best possible outcomes are still plausible. Does a positive mindset always end with positive results? No, but I am willing to bet a negative mindset will certainly yield more negative results than its positive counterpart. Why does all this matter? It matters because, on a daily basis, I hear negative statements and I see negative comments from people I have grown to love. I have not yet met some of you. I barely know most of you. Nevertheless, as long as I hear these negative and self-deprecating comments from people I have grown to love, I cannot help but want to grab a hold of you. I want to grab ahold of you and shake you silly and say, “You are a liar.” What are you lying about? Let me tell you.
I Miss It
One pessimistic statement I hear on a far too consistent basis is, "I miss drinking." Excuse me, what? You miss what? Alcohol? No, you don’t. You do not miss alcohol. You may miss something, but it is not alcohol. Can a physical addiction to alcohol occur and make us feel as though we miss it? Sure. Physically, over time, our bodies may believe they need it, but does that mean we do? No, it doesn’t. Every successful attempt at sobriety begins with a decision and a choice to work through the withdrawals associated with physical addiction. Once physical addiction is overcome, the rest is almost entirely mental and emotional. Both of which are choices as well. Do we really miss alcohol? No, but what we do miss is the golden ticket. Whether it is the perceived escape, courage, friendship, or ability to cope that keeps us tipping back the bottle, it is not the alcohol we are missing. What we are missing is the lie alcohol told us, and the lie we chose to believe.
Let’s be honest and realistic for a moment. What has more power? The brief period of relief or escape we receive from drowning ourselves in alcohol, or the ramifications which follow our night, week, month, year, or life of drinking alcohol? I am not going to even bother answering that question right now because I believe, if we honestly ponder the question, the answer is glaringly obvious. If we honestly believe we miss alcohol then we also have to admit we miss the excruciating hangovers, bad decisions, broken relationships, forgotten dreams, buried hopes, pain, regret, and loss of self too. Do we? Do we miss those things? I know I don’t. I don’t miss a single thing associated with alcohol, and you shouldn’t either, if we stop lying to ourselves.
It’s not our fault, you know, to believe the lie. We are human. We are fallible. It is our fault, however, to continue to believe the lie once it is exposed. Consider it exposed. Instead of lying to ourselves about missing alcohol, let's start telling ourselves the real truth. We miss ourselves. We miss our lives. We miss success. We miss dreaming. We miss positive connections. We miss everything pre-alcohol. It's time to stop missing our lives.
Another pessimistic statement I hear far too often is, "It's hard." Now, this is a horrifically subjective statement that desperately needs unpacking. This is also where I know I will generally lose some of you. I hope that is not the case, but I also understand if it is. I understand because this, my friends, is one of the biggest lies we have ever been told and chose to believe. It is a lie not even perpetuated by alcohol. It is a lie perpetuated by us. It is a hard truth to swallow because we do not want to believe our road to recovery is anything other than what we have experienced. I am not suggesting what anyone has experienced is wrong. What I am suggesting is what we have experienced or what we have been told to experience may not be the only road to successful sobriety. I am suggesting sobriety does not have to be hard.