Second guessing choices we made, or ones made for us, is a fool’s errand, not because we don’t learn a lot from reflection, whether we regret some decisions of someone points out what we could have done or should have done differently, we don’t have that power.
Or do we?
If I choose today to live differently, whether I reinvent a daily procedure or rediscover some part of who I am and how I’ve been living my life, I believe I can. To be sure, I can’t change how anyone sees who I am or who I used to be, but I can choose to change. Anyone can.
I cannot change my alcoholism, and I do not want to change the process of stopping that spiralling downhill horror that was my life and my future 36 years ago today.
I was watching a Jeopardy episode on TV, enjoying my favourite drink, when I put down that half-filled glass, and I haven’t taken a drink since.
I’m not cured of anything; I feel sure a re-start of a single drink would be a stupid, risky test.
I choose not to drink. I’m living sober. But living sober doesn’t equal success, it’s just sober. Living sober doesn’t make you innovative or successful, or nice or kind; it’s just sober.
But sober helps. It is not miraculous, but it is a choice.
Every day of the year presents an opportunity to live well or poorly, to fix things or be content with disrepair. A thousand daily choices and not having a drink is one such choice, but a decisive action choice that can define a life of resolve or, alternatively, one of giving up.
I cannot help anyone, but I’ll listen to anyone. I cannot impose my point of view on anyone, but I can pose questions to anyone who will listen.
Each year on this day, I write about my alcoholism, my addiction, and my sobriety. I welcome anybody who wants to talk or meet to discuss their issues, their drinking, and their problems – but in my experience, when booze is in control, nobody is in control of their life. The booze doesn’t have an agenda, it enables the addict to wreck just about anything. The best way to prevent collateral damage is to not give the booze control of your life. I know it sounds much easier than it is, because it is incredibly hard. Ask any alcoholic and they’ll confirm that staying sober, difficult as is for many of us, is infinitely tiny compared with getting sober.
Finding sober for yourself doesn’t make you an expert in the living sober business – but it gives you a chance, another chance, at a life worthy of us.
I’ve learned that I cannot make anyone care for me or care for what I have learned to live by; I’ve learned there is a lonely alone place in the world – that place we stand in, on our feet.
We can’t have a do-over, but we can always have a do-better. Changing a behaviour, putting an addiction behind you, is a big deal. But so is every choice we make, the people we care about, the family relationships we celebrate and ones we have troubles with – they are all a big deal.
Every day we can try to improve – we can hang on tight to the wheel to steer a steady, unwavering path – that’s the easy part. Everyone can, but it’s far easier doing it sober. One day at a time, one life at a time.