I find that I get so busy that I don’t have time to drink or think about drinking. Hell, I’m able to write about the subject of drinking and it doesn’t trigger any desires to drink. I can even reminisce and talk fondly of my drinking escapades and I don’t get an urge to drink. I know what will happen if I drink and I truly have too many things that I want to accomplish, so I just don’t drink, thus I am sober by default.
We all have to make choices about what we’re going to do with our time. If you have a job or family responsibilities, that will consume a lot of your time. In that case it’s even more important to make good choices with the limited amount of time you have for yourself and your own interests. I’m just like you. I have a job (actually a couple of jobs), and I have personal and domestic responsibilities to take care of, so I have to make choices of what I’m going to do with my limited amount of free time. Even writing this article about drinking consumes time that I could be doing some other project. But I enjoy writing and I feel that the subject matter helps me maintain my own sobriety and I hope it will inspire others who also want to live as non-drinkers. But by staying so busy, I stay sober by default and so can you.
Just because I’m busy doesn’t mean that everything I do is a thrill-a-minute or that I like doing everything I’m busy with. A lot of the things I do are mundane or dull. But they’re important things to do and that need to be done. They help keep my life free of chaos and that in turn allows for a calmer existence even when I’m under pressure or really busy.
Please don’t misinterpret that just by getting sober that you’ll become a super-achiever and have a busy life filled with excitement and activities. Far from that. Sobriety will just enable you to think and work clearer. You will have to set goals, make plans, plan work tasks and then actually DO the work. Sometimes projects won’t come to fruition. But if you keep yourself busy you will stay sober by default.
In all fairness I will say that I know of plenty of drunks who are quite accomplished and very successful. But that’s because they follow the exact same simple processes I do (and that you can), as a sober person. Those drunks think, establish goals, plan the work to be done and then DO the work. Even successful drunkards are busy because they’re smart enough to follow some simple principles. Could those drunks be better than they already are? Probably. That may be acceptable for them, but that isn’t acceptable for me in my life.
I was fairly accomplished as a drunk. I was able to perform many tasks and accomplish many goals while completely loaded. But many things were also done poorly, never completed or done simply because I knew I could do them and still drink and get stoned at the same time. Oh sure, I would get too drunk to function a lot of times. I might get too drunk to drywall. But installing drywall wasn’t my occupation. I could stop and work on it another day. Ironically, because I could drink and drywall, I would do that instead of doing my occupation or taking care of some other responsibility which required clear thinking. So drinking did get in the way of many important and valuable things I wanted to accomplish.
Sobriety doesn’t mean you’ll become a great super-achiever. I am in no position to tell you what you should be doing to keep yourself busy. I don’t know what your desires are or what your interests are. You may not even know. I have a tough time clearly knowing what my own long-term goals are, let alone knowing what I should be doing at this very moment to achieve those goals. None the less, I am always busy doing something or planning to do something. This is what keeps me sober by default.
At this point you might be saying, “Well whoopdee-fucking-doo, so you’re busy. Well I’m bored out of my fucking skull, what am I supposed to do?” As I just said, I’m in no position to tell you what you should be doing to keep yourself busy. I don’t know what you like and you may not know what you like either. But that doesn’t mean you should just sit on your couch staring out the window like a neutered cat. I’ll give you some suggestions and then YOU discover what is of interest to you.
First off, is your life and your house a mess? Try spending some time cleaning and organizing your life. It may not be all that thrilling, but it’ll give you a sense of accomplishment and it will make your immediate world around you less depressing and overwhelming. What about your weight and health? You can implement a self-imposed exercise or workout schedule for yourself. You don’t need fancy equipment or a gym membership. Use your own creative mind to come up with an exercise plan and an exercise schedule for yourself.
Start reviewing and evaluating your diet and eating habits. Cook more of your own foods or expand a little by trying to cook new foods or recipes. You obviously have an internet connection or you wouldn’t be reading or listening to this. Browse for food and recipe sites. Look for food types that pique your curiosity. Try some new foods and recipes. What’s the worst that can happen? You might get the runs for a day or two. Oh, like that never happened when you were drinking.
Here’s another crazy idea: watch some TV. Not just reruns of “Big Bang Theory,” but educational TV. Watch Discovery, A&E or the History Channel. Learn about more subjects and watch some biographies. Something will catch your attention and it might get you thinking about something you’d like to try or learn more about. The more diverse subjects I watch, the more I learn. Then I find myself discovering more about myself and my interests. Any biography or educational program can suddenly compel you to discover more about something. Maybe you’ll see something that you want to “disprove” and you’ll find yourself deeply involved in research or a new career field.
There’s also these crazy things called books. Go to a bookstore like Barnes & Noble and sit there reading their books. I’m sure there’s a public library somewhere near you. Libraries don’t just have books. Most have music, computers and DVDs. Unless you take action on your own behalf, you’ll simply sit and be bored.
Look for things that interest you. Set some goals. Determine what must be done or performed to accomplish those goals and then get involved and work at and on the activities that need to be done. It is completely possible to become so busy and so involved that you’ll become sober by default.
Part of creating a busy and achievement filled life will require that you reflect on your own behaviors, attitudes and typical activities. Use your clear, intelligent mind to take a hard look at yourself. What behaviors, attitudes and actions need some adjusting or changing? Most of us have heard the term: “Dry Drunk.” This is used to describe a former boozer who no longer drinks but still continues exhibiting the attitudes, emotions and (sometimes) crude behaviors they did as a drunk.
Don’t wait for sobriety to bring a sense of busy into your life. Use your clear mind to pursue your own discovery. Or, just sit there and stare and ruminate about how miserable you are. Drama, gossiping and bullshit doesn’t make you busy, it just means you’re involved in draining drama and bullshit.
I’m asking you to be present and play an active role in and with your sobriety. Let your sober mind work for you. Become so busy with living that you also stay sober by default.
These are my own opinions and observations. Please, think for yourself and come to your own conclusions. If you enjoy this stuff or get something out of it please tell your friends about my blog, podcasts and website. I invite you to pick up one of my books: You can find my books in paperback, eBook or if you prefer, you can get my Audiobooks. My books and audiobooks are available through Amazon, Apple, all sorts of places. I put my blog, podcasts and website out for people to access FREE of charge. I pay for all of this with my own personal funds. If you like what I do and what I write about, you can show your support by making a donation to my site, it’s done securely through PayPal: http://www.livingsobersucks.com/donate_to_this_site I post a truthful report on my website of how much is donated and what this all costs me. I am very appreciative that a few people have signed up to make a $5 a month donation. Thank you for spending some of your very valuable time with me. Mark Tuschel.