I remember the New Years resolutions, all the things I was going to change, all the task I was going to accomplish toward becoming a better person, a more civilized and enlightened human being. It would last the first few days and by the next weekend it was all old news and forgotten. I wasted many years not getting my act together and living in a world of being “nonpresent”.
I quit drinking 8 plus years ago. It dwindled down for a couple years to nothing and then a final commitment to being clear and here. I don’t miss it one bit and I, personally, can’t stand drinking. I watch people at parties go from normal to some unrecognizable, insane ghoul that wants to yell-talk, sing too loud, and dance in a manner that should be left for behind closed doors…alone! Alcohol, when used as a vice or abusively, can destroy a person, a life, a family, a community. I include drugs also, of course. It is a dark poison and does what poison does best, sickens and eventually kills. Sometimes it just kills the spirit and that is the worst death.
I’ve seen it in our homeless community. Many are mentally ill or forgotten soldiers. Then there are the ones that have fried their brains on drugs and alcohol. They are no longer home in their bodies. Who has taken over, I can only guess, but they cannot take care of themselves and are completely reliant on others for food and goodwill. They still chase after the bottle and whatever else can get them high like Gollum was after the Ring from Frodo’s possession.
It’s hard to overcome such a powerful darkness. It is like leaving a lover that was destructive but you had amazing chemistry with. You want the good stuff and miss it when you have ended the relationship. You very quickly forget the broken furniture and public scenes, or how much your family hates this person when you long for the sweet moments.
Ah, but if you can just be strong enough to get to the other side. If you can just get through all those lonely nights and weekends were the phone doesn’t even ring and you feel abandoned in this grief. The other side is like finding paradise at last after a long journey over rough seas and meager rations.
It helps if you find support. It helps greatly if you can find people on the same mission. You need a tribe when going to war. But this is a war you want to win. The outcome and peace is worth all the fight you will need.
What’s life like without drinking and/or drugs? It is like going from an overcrowded and violent city to a small, charming town where everyone is happy to see you and there is fun, real laughter, and peace. It is like going from an eternity of darkness and turmoil to light and sparkly lakes were you float around for hours humming a good song.
It’s hard to get from that place to the other side. Many people join a group. The fellowship can provide meetings and coffee, therapy and new friends. It gives you a place to go every day besides the pub. It gives you new friends that will carry you when you want to fall back into the old life and run back to friendships that will take you right back to hells party house.
Why be sober? Why get clean and healthy? Because it’s a great life where good things happen. You get out of debt, you make great friendships that last, you meet your true love and build a home and start a family, you get a college degree, you build a career, and live in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. Sobriety is full of life and love.
Being a drunk is filled with pain, misery, humiliating moments that no one forgets. It’s filled with severed relationships and heartbreak. It’s filled with missed opportunities and dead ends.
You can’t manifest or create a rich and thriving life if you are poisoning your mind and spirit with drugs and alcohol. Universal law doesn’t work that way.
Changing my life was the most empowering thing I have ever done. My life went from that opening scene on the first Bridget Jone’s Diary movie where she is in her pajama’s drunk off her ass and alone. There is a sad song by Celine Dione in the background, “All By Myself”, an ashtray overflowing, empty bottles on the floor and an answering machine that keeps telling her “you have NO messages” to a life quite different. I used to spend my weekends like that.
Now I have a cozy cottage in town and two yummy boys, two spoiled dogs and cat running around the home all very busy with their own agendas. I have a good and solid marriage to a man who is loyal and hardworking. I am healthier at 46 years than I was in my twenties. I have a fabulous writing career and good friends. We are close to family, both, blood relations and adopted. I wake up clear-eyed and happy, to the sound of babies and smell of brewing coffee. At night I go to bed with cuddly boys and books about fairytale lands.
I know without a doubt that none of this would have happened if I had continued my bad habits. I didn’t just drink to excess on the weekends, I also smoked cigarettes and was a chronic pot smoker.
I did go to AA meetings and really dove into the fellowship for a year. I no longer go to meetings. I have no desire for that either. I have a life where there is no room getting liquored up. I have created a life that is so full of good stuff that there is no room for anything false or poisonous. I love being present, healthy, clear, and alive. I have too much to lose and I know what living on the “other” side is all about and I would never leave this world.
However, the year I did spend in AA was a great year! I did so much work and healing. I had so much support, friends, and fun. I did all the steps, all the work. I attended all the sober parties, the bar b q’s, and potlucks. I could not have done it without that little meeting hall in the harbor in my old ocean town. I will be forever grateful. You have to find what works for you. I just don’t see that much success with those that go it alone without sober friends, support, therapy, spiritual and emotional work. Sometimes it takes a village.
Good luck to those planning to get sober this year. Swallow your pride and get what help you can. This could be the best year of your life!