Four Keys to Life Not Sucking in Sobriety
I struggle with using the word happiness. It is a loaded word. A bad word, per se. I prefer contentedness to happiness. We all know every day is about feeling what you feel and it's not always going to be elated. We can stack our good feeling blocks so high, but we cannot guarantee they'll all be standing tomorrow untouched. Nothing is guaranteed in this life. There are four things that have significantly improved my baseline level of contentedness. They are the track that keeps me riding my sober train to happy town. Choo choo.
Belonging was pivotal when I first set down my wine glass. I didn't feel like I fit in my old life anymore. I felt displaced. By speaking my truth at work and with old and new friends, I find people who are interested in the real me. I was honest with my partner-not partially honest. 100% honest. I do not pretend to be happy when I am down. I do not hide my crying. He sees it. So does everyone else. I’m just me and it is a huge relief. Find the people that love you unconditionally. Some people will not, and that is OK. They're not your people. They're probably assholes.
There is a common joke that people who go through recovery always think they have found the answers to all the world's problems. They become counselors. They start a business of coaching or recovery. They start a blog. Ummmm. Howdy. It is not a bad thing. People are finding their purpose. It becomes less about what you want in life and more about what you give. You use your strength to help others. Sharing is caring. Purpose is fuel.
I am not talking about connection to other people. I am talking more of a transcendental connectedness that comes when I am connected to a higher reality, a higher power. You choose yours. God, earth, wind, fire, bacon, etc...A lot of people have an over-inflated sense of self. I know I did. I struggled in relationships because of it. Since recognizing the size and vastness of the world, I am aware of my place in it. I am not small. I am not big. I am connected to all of it. I get what I give. I think this is why I am so drawn to the ocean. Its magnitude reminds me of how far I've come and how much more I have to learn about life. I am not ever alone. I look at trees with love nowadays. Thanks, trees, for being here for me. Thanks, sky. Thanks, world. Thanks, chocolate.
You get to tell your story. So many people let outside influence shape their story. "I am an alcoholic because I drank too much and I will be for the rest of my life because AA says so. I am not pretty because the magazine says pretty people look this way. I am not marriage material because no one has asked." Blah blah. Rubbish. I tell myself about myself. I can retell my story over and over with a new direction every day. Weave a new story. My experience with alcohol addiction made me recognize that I can be a good person. Every day I wake up and tell my story as a good person who is committed to her family and wants the best for others. You define you. How do you tell your personal narrative?
Contentedness does not come easily. My train to happy town is not a high speed train. Sometimes it stops hard and fast. Things get in the way. I run out of gas. But, I keep laying the tracks and choo-chooing along. I don't minimize how hard it is to feel better. But, it is easy to start trying. You want to be sober? Stop drinking. You want to be happy? Do the work. Lay the tracks.