Updated: May 17, 2020
I had some great feedback about the Sobriety Myths, and I am happy those resonated with some of you. Bobby C. and I will be talking about myths in more detail during our videocast this week. I'll look forward to talking more with Bobby and sharing the conversation with you all. There will be more details on the videocast to follow so stay tuned. The Joys of Sobriety seem to be well received too, which is good because they are a lot of fun to talk about and to discuss with others who are experiencing them. At the beginning of our sobriety, my wife and I talked a lot about our experiences with sobriety and how much we were enjoying all the benefits. It was helpful to have someone mirror my sentiments, so I thought writing about them may be helpful for those of you who do not have a partner in sobriety at home with you, especially during this quarantine.
One of the overarching themes I experienced over the past twenty-plus years was the feeling of never really having a clear mind. I always felt a little slow at recall, and my ability to think on my feet was drastically impaired. I consider myself to be a fairly well-educated person with a lot of life experience, so when it came time to draw on that knowledge and I was unable to do so I always felt disappointed in myself. I knew why I struggled with it, but I never wanted to fully admit that alcohol was the problem. Now that I have, I feel like a new person. I feel like a more intelligent man with a hell of a lot more to offer the world, and that is something for which to be grateful.
The Joy of Sobriety #2 - A clear mind
The lies perpetuated by society, media, film, literature, advertising, and even friends and family surrounding what alcohol supposedly does for us is astounding. One of those "benefits" is the idea that alcohol allows us to have more courage to open up in conversations and social settings. Ironically, in the moment of inebriated conversation, we actually feel as though we are contributing and portraying an air of confidence and intelligence when in reality that is not necessarily the case. How do I know this? Since I quit drinking one of my favorite things to do when I am out is to observe people who are drinking in social settings. It becomes evidently clear quite quickly that the persona we think we are portraying in those settings is not quite what we thought. There is a correlational relationship between the booze and the quality of conversation in a group setting. The quality of dialogue exponentially declines as the booze continues to pour. I am not trying to come across as judgmental, I am simply trying to be honest. This is an observation I have made since I have become sober and started witnessing alcohol-infused conversation.
Another data point that I think is relevant is what I have observed while personally conversing with a sober mind. It becomes equally clear that my ability to recall information, use historical evidence, and justify my thoughts are vastly different when my mind is clear from alcohol. I'm sorry, but it feels really good to engage in conversation feeling as though I actually have something to offer and that I am prepared to offer that information when asked. Here is another aspect of a clear mind that has baffled me over the months I have been sober. Not only do I feel I am better equipped to engage in conversation, but I am also more adept at listening to other's contributions to conversations. The reason for this is simple. I am able to concentrate on other people's discourse because I am not stressed about trying to recall the information I want to try and vomit into the conversation. I say vomit because that is what you are doing when you inject your thoughts without considering others when you talk. What is the saying?
"Most people do not listen to understand, they listen to respond." - unknown
When your mind is clear, you have more of an ability to actively listen to the people with whom you are conversing. This shows true interest which affords the group as a whole a better ability to engage in more meaningful conversation. The meaningful conversations have been one of my favorite benefits of living a sober life.
Another aspect of a clear mind that has been abundantly clear to me over the past couple of months is my ability to focus on my intentions. Every day I try to set intentions for what I want to accomplish for the day, week, month, year, and lifetime. This is something I have always wanted to do but was never able to enact on a regular basis. It takes a lot of focus and dedication to first, come up with your intentions, and secondly, to engage with them every day. One of my favorite additions to my daily routine is to begin giving thanks the moment I wake up. Once I settle in, I then write down my gratitude and move on to my intentions. Here is an example of my gratitude and intention posts I put out every day:
Gratitude: I am grateful for 1. My son arriving safely in California. 2. A sunny #SoberSunday. 3. A wonderful partner with whom to spend quarantine. 4. My family's #health. 5. My #dedication to succeed.
Intention: My daily #Intentions: 1. I write professionally. 2. I #write in my blog and novel daily. 3. I exercise daily. 4. I live with intention. 5. I show #kindness. 6. I offer and receive love. 7. I stay present with my friends and family. 8. I stay #positive. 9. I complete my goals. 10. I am me.
I am posting those as we speak. It may seem silly to you but the idea of putting those feelings out into the world via the internet feels real to me. I am not only saying them, which I think is important, but I am also proclaiming them and I think that is another level of dedication to my intentions and gratitude. It feels amazing to say these things every day and it feels even more amazing to observe as they come back to me every day. What you put out there ultimately comes back to you. I am striving to put nothing but positive energy into the universe every day. I haven't gotten there completely, yet, but I am working on it.
A clear mind certainly makes it easier to feel and live with positive intentions.