Archive for September, 2013

You CAN make the best out of sobriety. But will you?

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

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You CAN make the best out of sobriety. But will you?

(09/03/13)

I’m not special, I’m not a SuperStar, I have no magic powers. My story is more like yours; I’m just an average person living and working in America who used to drink too much. I know that I can sometimes come across as melancholy or borderline depressing when I write about life as a non-drinker, but I don’t want to lie to you or give you false hope. I want you to discover real hope towards realistic dreams; hopes and dreams that YOU create.

I constantly strive towards making the best out of my sober life. My life as a non-drinker is turning out better than I thought it would, yet different than I expected it would. Let me clarify this because we have important key words that I’m using here: Thought and Expected.

I openly state that I wasted the first two to three years of my sobriety. I expected a lot of things out of sobriety. I was under false beliefs and held false hopes that as long as I just stayed sober everything would fall into place. It didn’t happen that way. I had to discover how to properly use my newly re-invented sober mind and body.

That initial timeframe of two to three years may have been wasted, but I eventually learned a lot from it. And here you might say, “See, then it wasn’t a waste of time.” Oh no believe me, it was a waste of time and I learned not do that again. The greatest thing I learned from that experience was to not waste my time sitting around waiting for things to come to me. I have to actively go make the best out of my life and my sobriety.

I came to realize that sobriety was just a part of my new, re-invented life. Living as a non-drinker does have a major affect on the decisions that I make, but sobriety is still just only a portion of my entire life. I came to realize that sobriety doesn’t (and won’t), bring me anything other than sobriety. It comes down to what I do with my sober mind and body. And as a result of actively using my sober mind and body a lot of things are turning out better than I thought they would.

So yes, you certainly can make the best out of sobriety. But will you? And will it be gratifying and wonderful for you? Will everything start going perfectly your way in life? Will the sun shine out of your ass every morning because you’ve woken up sober? I don’t know and I can’t guarantee that it will. It might. But what are your alternatives? You can continue living drunk with all of the problems and uncertainties that come with it, or live as a non-drinker and improve your chances of a less stressful life. (You’ll notice I didn’t say that you’ll have a happy, healthy, wealthy or successful life. I won’t insult you with false promises; I don’t know what will come of your life as a non-drinker.)

It will be up to YOU to discover how you can make the best out of your sobriety. That doesn’t mean that you have to go it alone. I believe that you should learn as much as you can about various “sobriety” philosophies such as AA, Rational Recovery, Holistic methods, spirituality, etc. I also believe that you should try new hobbies and learn new activities to determine what YOU like and what interests YOU. If you don’t want to do that much thinking on your own you can always follow someone else’s rules and standards of sober living, but will that make you any happier?  I don’t know, it might. Only YOU will know what you like.

I feel that there’s a dramatic difference between the two statements of: “Everything works out for the best” and “You can make the best of how everything works out.”

I have witnessed many incidences where people said, “See, everything worked out for the best.” But all they see is what worked out in their life, they don’t see all the other ripples on the pond. Things may have worked out good for them, but what if this “good” turned out to be awful for someone else? (i.e. You sobered up and your partner or friends now lost a drinking buddy. You sober up and your favorite bar owner or liquor store owner has fewer sales and customers. You quit drinking and now Budweiser sells less beer—and a lot of people work for Budweiser—if we all quit drinking a lot of people would be unemployed.)

Or what if things turn out the opposite? What if you sober up and things work out fabulous for someone else but you get fucked in the deal? (i.e. You get sober but end up divorced. You get sober and your friends shy away from you. You get sober and find yourself bored out of your skull.) In this case would you still say, “See, everything worked out for the best”? Your decision to live sober creates a lot of ripples on the pond and you won’t always see them. Sobriety in and of itself will not automatically make everything work out for the best; YOU have to actively make the best of how everything works out.

Even if you hate living as a non-drinker there will be benefits, but they may not always be evident to you. Many aspects of your life will be better than when you were actively drinking (your physical health, financial status, etc.). It will be up to YOU to stop, take note, look for and recognize the benefits. When you’re deeply involved in your own life you may not see positive changes or good situations. This could be because you were expecting more out of sobriety or because it’s been such a slow evolution that you haven’t noticed the good things happening.

We will all have a few different ways of maintaining our sobriety and different ways of making the best out of our lives as non-drinkers. If you want to follow someone else’s rules, guidelines or steps—go ahead. If you want to live by someone else’s standards for sobriety—go ahead. That may be what you like, what it takes or what you need to maintain your own sobriety. But remember that even if you follow someone else’s rules you are still making a choice. You have freely chosen to follow their rules. Alcohol consumption and whatever plan you follow for sobriety are both a matter of choice.

I know that I haven’t passed along any explicit instructions here. This article may sound like I’m being ambiguous and that I’m waffling back and forth between “Will sobriety be good or won’t it be good?” How do I know what will come of your life? If anyone tells you they do—they’re lying to you. What I can do is assure you that this will be different—different than what you expect and what you think. You will lose some friends, you will lose some things from your life, but you will also gain many things in your life. You will gain increased self-confidence and self-worth. You will gain a sense of pride that YOU have shown alcohol that you have power over it. Then for you to make the best out of your sobriety, you will need to carry those greater feelings of self-worth, self-confidence and self-pride over into the rest of your life.

In closing here I’d like to quote from a Rolling Stones song: “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need.” Well how about this instead: “You can’t always get what you want OR what you need, you just get what you get. So why not make the best out of it?” (It kind of rhymes but it’s certainly not as good as the Glimmer Twins lyrics.) I believe that you can make the best out of living sober even when events in life don’t go perfectly your way. It will all come down to how you go about it and what YOU do with your sober mind and body.

Thank you for spending your time to read my blog or listen to the podcast. Remember that these are my own opinions and you may disagree with me. That’s fine. I’m still grateful that you spent your valuable time here. If you enjoy this stuff or get something out of it please tell your friends about my website. It’s LivingSoberSucks.com Feel free to share or forward this link with your friends or on Facebook. If you want to help me cover my costs of putting this site out for free, please make a donation to my site securely through PayPal: http://www.livingsobersucks.com/donate_to_this_site

Thanks again for spending some of your very valuable time with me. My name is Mark Tuschel.