Sobriety isn’t just about being off of drugs and alcohol. It is about being into life. And this is about life as it is, not as you were taught it should be.
It is about being awake, and conscious, and fully present. It is about being mindful of your actions and your life. It is about being truly alive.
It certainly isn’t about having a blissful life. So many people want that. Even if they don’t try to avoid pain by drinking or doing drugs, they’ll try to avoid it by staying in a job or a marriage that they hate, just existing. Or, they’ll try to avoid it by leaving the job or the marriage they hate, eternally trying to find the right something or someone who will make them feel better. Or at least feel. Notice it isn’t about staying or going – there is something in the middle.
In part, it is about accepting life as it is. It is about resetting your idea of what life should be. This isn’t about settling. This isn’t about living with a terrible situation. This is about not thinking that “Happy” and “Beautiful” and “Popular” are normal states of being all the time.
Everything changes. The only constant is change.
Don’t be a zombie. Zombies aren’t alive. You can be one of the living dead and still have a pulse. Zombies just exist through their lives. Even if we don’t self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, we can cease to be alive by watching TV, or by being glued to our computers or cellphones.
Zombies don’t go for their goals. They don’t try to fulfill their dreams. What is it that you most want to do? I don’t mean “make a million dollars” or “go to Paris” or “be famous”. I mean – what is it that you were put on this Earth to do? Is it “write a book about paramecium” or “teach teenagers how to play guitar”? What is your gift that you need to give to the world? What is it that is your special thing that you and only you can do? Do that.
What will make you come alive, what will make you be truly sober, is discovering the thing that is your gift, and then giving it. It isn’t about being selfish. Making a lot of money and being famous are about receiving, not giving.
It is about taking responsibility for your choices and decisions. It is about making a choice and sticking with it – not second guessing and waffling. It is also about admitting you were wrong if you made a decision that didn’t work out well. It is about learning from that and trying again.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer tells us in his book “Wishful Thinking : A Theological ABC” that your calling, your vocation, “is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
Ferris Bueller tells us “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Plenty of people are sober, but they aren’t really alive. They don’t do drugs, but they don’t do life either. They sleep all the time when they are off work. They can’t stand being alone. They eat comfort foods and distract themselves with movies and read books to help them escape their meaningless lives. Meanwhile, the problems continue. And get worse. And they continue to escape.
Sobriety is about facing the pain, either head on or sideways. It is about living through it, and with it, and because of it. It isn’t easy, but it is the only sane thing to do.
Live. And live well. Don’t just exist. Be sober, completely.