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Reclaim Your Passion


One question I have heard asked since I quit drinking and continue to hear today is, "What keeps you happy in sobriety?" My answer, "Sobriety." If you have any other answer to this question, I would suggest making sure you are giving your life, sans alcohol, the proper respect. I am not saying you may not have a better or more relevant answer, I am simply saying make sure you do. This question, while somewhat sophomoric in the recovery realm, is also very deep and complex. When I truly think about my answer to this question, I can't help but want to dig deeper into why I, sans alcohol, am so happy. There are a lot of physical reasons I could easily point to regarding how the lack of alcohol in my life keeps me happy. There are a lot of emotional reasons too. I have written about most of these at some point throughout my two-hundred-plus blogs since quitting drinking. The one area I haven't really dug into, though I have certainly mentioned it, is the reclamation of passion in my life. Without passion, we are stagnant and with stagnation comes boredom, and you know the rest of that story. Let's talk a little bit about passion.

Family


Arguably, the most difficult realization an addict has to face is when they acknowledge how much time they have wasted with their family and friends. It's undeniable. We spend so much time focusing on getting our next drink, we forget to pay attention to some of the most important things in our lives; the people close to us. I know if I spend too much time thinking about wasted time, I can fall into a bout of depression. It doesn't feel good. I feel guilty. But, it is in the past. The best way to fix the past is to live better in the present and future. I heard a saying once that has stuck with me, "The best apology is changed behavior." - Unknown. We are all human and we all make mistakes. It is okay. The only thing that matters about our mistakes is learning from them and changing our behavior moving forward. I have found since I quit drinking, that I am much more present with my family and friends. Granted, I have lost some friends along the way, but the ones I kept and the ones I have created since are stronger than any of my previous relationships. I believe this is because it is impossible to have a solid relationship when you are partially present. Letting go of alcohol allows you to focus on the conversations, actions, and beliefs that aid in the successful acquisition and maintenance of our friendships. Essentially, we can reclaim our family and friends. Remember, do not beat yourself up too much over lost time. Just make up for it as much as you can moving forward.


Writing


I quit one of my biggest passions about eight or nine years ago after receiving some negative criticism. It just didn't feel worth it. Of course, I was drinking at the time too, so I had little motivation to stand up for myself or push through the discomfort the negativity created within me. Nevertheless, I quit and I missed it ever since. Thankfully, on the day I quit drinking I decided to reclaim my passion for writing and began my blog which has since turned into a bestselling book, Alcohol-Free Straight Up with a Twist. How did quitting drinking help me reclaim this passion? The first thing you will realize when quitting drinking is the absurd amount of time you gain back into your life. I wrote an entire blog one time about how we have to be careful not to take on too much when we are living alcohol-free. It's hard not to because for the first time in years and even decades we have more time than we know what to do with. With the extra time and clear-headed mornings, I wrote every day for over 165 days as a way to keep my mind straight and myself accountable. It not only worked, but it also reinvigorated my passion for something I had been missing in my life for almost a decade. Now, I am working on a follow-up book to my first sober book and a novel. It is my goal to write professionally, full-time. That would have never happened while I was drinking.


Exercising


Another area of my life where I had lost passion was in my physical health. I have always been a fairly active person, I considered myself mostly healthy. With that said, I had quit working out for the better part of four years. I maintained my weight by not eating a lot, but I was far from physically healthy. I kept trying, but there was just no way to motivate my body or mind to work out in the perpetual state of a hangover in which I consistently lived. I missed feeling good, physically. I missed the excess energy a healthy body creates. I missed the emotional benefits I knew exercising provided. I missed a lot. Once I gave up drinking, I reclaimed my desire to live a healthier life physically and emotionally. I will not lie and say I am one hundred percent consistent in my workout routine, I mean life does get in the way, but I have done more physically over the past year and a half than I did over the four years prior. There is nothing better than knowing I am physically healthy. It comes with the territory of reclaiming our lives. Once we admit to the stupidity of ingesting a poison we can then begin to admit to the stupidity of doing a lot of other unhealthy things too. I continue to try and increase the consistency of my physical workout routine every day because I know how incredibly important it is to both my mental and physical health.


Values


The loss of our values in active addiction occurs slowly over time. It can be so subtle we may not even be aware of it until it is too late. I know I slowly lost some of my core values during my drinking days. I forgot what was important to me. Things like work ethic, relationships, passion for living, competition, etc... were things I at least tried to incorporate into my daily living. Granted, I was not equipped with the best toolbox at a young age, but I did try. Nevertheless, over time and after the consumption of many libations, what little values I held slipped away into the murky haze of alcoholic confusion. It's hard to focus on what's really important when what's important lies at the bottom of a bottle. Put the bottle away and watch as the murky haze quickly clears and our vision returns to a heightened state of clarity. All those important values we used to hold or at least tried to hold flood back into our consciousness and we are left feeling as though there is nothing more important than maintaining our core values. There is nothing better than the feeling of reclaiming the essence of what makes us who we are. Our values didn't matter as much in active addiction, but they matter now, and they matter more than ever. Protect them like a child as they too will grow over time, if we let them.


New Exploits


Reclaiming old passions is a beautiful and exciting experience. Embrace them and never stop striving to remember and revive old passions, but don't forget, it doesn't stop there. With all the new time we acquire in sobriety, we also have room to seek out and acquire new passions too. This has been one of my favorite aspects of living alcohol-free. How many times have we said, "I really want to..." "I really wish I could..." "I never have time to..." Well, guess what? Now you do? It is time to step up and grab ahold of all those past desires we never followed. It is time to do those things we never thought we would ever do. It is time to step outside our comfort zone and into real life. Think about it. What have you always wanted to do? Go do it. Right now. I started having a nagging feeling in my soul recently about one of the desires I never pursued. I have always been drawn to the drums. For as long as I can remember, I loved listening to a good drummer. I have always been an incessant rocker. I rock in my chair, I rock in bed, I rock when I am anxious, I bounce my leg and tap my foot whenever I am still. There has always been some inclination toward rhythm. So, for my 50th birthday, I asked for an electronic drumset, and guess what? My family bought me one. Yes, I am spoiled, but don't we all deserve to be? I have been playing every day since I got them, and I love them. I am learning a new skill, doing something I love, and using my time productively. I have claimed a new passion I would have never had the energy to take on while in active addiction.


Going back to the question I posed at the beginning of this blog, "What makes you happy in sobriety?" Well, sobriety. Staying alcohol-free. Living well. Living with intention. Being the best version of myself. Feeling at peace. Living in the moment. Awareness. Community. Love. Family. Friends. Life. That is what keeps me happy in sobriety.


What keeps you happy?

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