You will learn if you keep reading my blog, that I tend to shift gears randomly and for no particular reason. I tend to find topics that spark my interest; I follow them until I run out of things to say, and then I move on. I enjoyed writing about some of the myths that I hear come up most often. Hopefully, they shed a little light on some of the concerns that seem to prevent a lot of people from taking those initial steps into recovery and sobriety. Unfortunately, the myths can be quite convincing if you do not search deeper into the truths and find for yourself what speaks to you about your journey. Far too often I witness people beginning their sobriety journeys based on what other people have experienced. Your path is truly a personal one, it cannot be chosen for you.
This morning I woke up and thought about what myth I wanted to write about. After pondering it for a moment I decided that I did not have any more that was pressing me to write about them. So, I decided to move on to another topic surrounding sobriety that felt important for me to talk about. The myths may keep us from beginning our journey, but what about the ideas that may encourage us to take that first step regardless of our fears? That is what brought me to the topic I am going to explore for the foreseeable future. The joys of Sobriety.
The Joy of Sobriety #1 - Sober Saturdays
There is not a lot of mystery surrounding why this first joy of sobriety came up this morning. It is Saturday, and I cannot express enough the pure joy I feel every week when I wake up on Saturday morning feeling good and ready to begin a productive weekend. It never gets old. For the longest time, Saturday mornings were quite miserable for me. I would wake up early with a headache, stumble through the morning accomplishing nothing only to eventually reach for a hair of the dog to make the day more tolerable. The hair of the dog turned into even more throughout the day culminating with my eventual passing out on the couch. I would wake up Sunday morning only to do it all over again. That was not living.
The most interesting aspect of that whole scenario is that when you are going through it you really don't see it for what it actually is. Part of this is because the misery is sensationalized through all forms of media, and we hear about from all our different forms of relationships. Movies, books, television shows, sporting events, and even commercials play on this ridiculous tradition of destroying our minds and bodies on a weekly basis. Friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances all talk about how hard they hit it on Friday night and how shitty they felt on Saturday. It is almost a bragging right. No, it is a bragging right.
When I was in the Navy, I remember a port of call in Korea when I was on leave for a couple of days. When I made my way back to the boat one morning before duty I ran into a shipmate who made fun of me because I was not still drunk at seven in the morning. Not wanting to deal with the ridicule when I reached the boat, I acted drunk as I walked down the gangway to the hatch where I quickly disappeared to my bunk like everyone else. I felt a need to pretend to be drunk in order to avoid criticism. That is some socially distorted shit right there. Unfortunately, it doesn't end at the military level. I wrote a blog a while ago about what I called, societal peer pressure. The idea is that we have to pretend to drink, make excuses to not drink, and feel bad if we do not actively partake in the eventual social poisoning of our society.
What does a weekend without alcohol look like?
It is an entirely different experience than what I have witnessed for most of my adult life. First, I wake up feeling really good. Then, I try to always offer gratitude for all the abundance I have in my life; my family, house, car, money, happiness, and joy. I literally thank the universe for these things in my mind while I make my first cup of coffee. Next, I sit down with my computer and begin thinking about what I want to write about for my blog; I generally write about a thousand words and then post it. After writing, I like to read a novel or non-fiction book for awhile. Then, I make breakfast for the family; we have some weekend breakfast traditions that we enjoy. After breakfast, I like to tackle a project or two. By noon or one I try to get in a workout. Once I have cooled down I like to write in my novel for a little while. Sometimes I write an article for an online publication I work for. My wife and I like to do non-alcoholic happy hour on the patio if it's nice and then we make and enjoy dinner. By six or seven we wrap up all our personal projects and spend time together by watching a movie or talking about things coming up in the future. Then, we do it all over again on Sunday. By the time Monday morning rolls around, I feel as though I have used my time as wisely as I could. I then tackle the work week feeling good about my personal accomplishments. That is living.
Yeah, that's slightly different than how it used to be. I honestly can't remember or even stomach the thought of how I used to spend my free time. I wasted so much of my life drowning my self in alcohol and trying to recover from its effects that I have to consciously remember to forgive myself every day for how much of my life I wasted. If I don't take time to forgive myself, I would slowly lose my mind dwelling on the waste rather than dwelling on the beauty that is my new life. I feel blessed to have this opportunity even though it is difficult to admit how much different my life would be today if I had taken the steps into sobriety earlier. But, I cannot worry about that now.
My only real job now is to take advantage of every moment I have and to enjoy every joy that comes with a life of sobriety. There are a lot of them, and it is going to be fun taking some time to focus on them one at a time for this blog over the next few weeks.
I hope you enjoy reflecting on the joys of sobriety with me.