this is a post I wrote back in May from a different website, on being sober four years
I have been trying to write this post on and off for the last 14 hours. Typically, I just sit down and start typing, but today that's not working. I woke up around 2 am and decided to give it a try. I started with the story of my last night out drinking. It amounted to little more than me bragging about how much I use to drink and how great I am now that the drink is behind me. It did not feel right. So, I scrapped that and went back to sleep.
This morning I started over again. I asked out loud (and by out loud I mean on paper) " What is the biggest lesson I've learned over the past four years? " The answer, of course, was going to be the lesson I wished to convey in this entry. I came up with a truth: don't assume you are certain about anything in this life. Again, a valid statement and it had a wise ring to it. You know, in my drinking and partying days I was so sure I had it all figured out; but now that I've seen the light I am more in tune with myself etc. All very true and poignant stuff. But as I got through a couple of paragraphs, once again something felt off.
Neither of the above two points was false. I am a big deal for going four years alcohol-free. I really liked my booze and was in a bad way when I entered rehab May 8th, 2013. And, it is dangerous to assume you are sure about anything in this life. That's an important lesson I've learned over the last few years. But neither felt like they encompassed the spirit of this journey. Once again, I shut down my shit. A Little later as I was taking my dog for a walk, it hit me. The biggest lesson I had taken away from my sobriety so far was this:
Quitting drinking was just one more step in a continuous journey towards happiness, personal growth and discovery, nothing more, nothing less.
Now, it was a very important step. The most important step thus far. By the same token, I don't think my goal was simply to quit booze. I suspect that towards the end of my drinking days I started clueing into the fact there was much more to life. And on some level, I knew I was missing the boat and needed to smarten up. My journey towards self-discovery, passion, and growth had to begin with sobriety. But that is only the beginning. A necessary adjustment, but one of many to come.
Having said all that, I do believe that like with many things in this world, spending too much time dwelling on this accomplishment can get in the way of the ultimate goal. In the early days, months, years; it's important to stay focussed on sobriety and to really focus on abstinence. But once you achieve sobriety for a certain period, it's important to move on. To set new goals.
So, when is the parade over? When should I just file this away, along with my first blow job, under cool shit from the past? It's been decades since I've stopped being proud of certain accomplishments. I don't forget about them or dismiss them. But eventually, they become less relevant. As time goes by, we need to learn to move on.
Recovery from a destructive behavior is different for every single person and only the individual going through the struggle will be able to gauge progress. Not a counselor or sponsor or a loved one. The individual.
As for myself at least, the time is now. It happened organically several months back actually. I can't even remember the last time it crossed my mind that I use to drink, or that I no longer drink. It’s just how life is now. I won! It’s time to move past that chapter of my life.
I shall end this entry with this bit of insight: Sobriety has afforded me the sanity and perspective needed to begin a more productive chapter in life. I am grateful for the fact that I have learned to be grateful, especially in time to appreciate how lucky I am right now. Today, I can barely contain my excitement. The world is literally my oyster, and I suspect that all my various lessons in life have led me to this very point for a reason.
Stay tuned ...