“I’ve come to accept this.” (12/21/16)

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This wasn’t an easy article for me to write. I didn’t want it to sound as if I’m unhappy or dissatisfied with my sobriety and I certainly don’t want to sound discouraging to anyone who’s just in the early stages or thinking about living as a non-drinker or non-user. I’d also been struggling with using the word “accept” in this article. The word accept almost has a defeatist sound to it. I want to clarify my use of the word accept by stating that living as a non-drinker is a conscious exchange that I am making. Therefore, the word accept (or accepting), is a part of my sobriety.

On to the real meat of this article:

I’m not completely thrilled with how things have turned out since I stopped drinking. But I’ve accepted it. I’ve accepted that there will be limitations by living a clean and sober life. Social limitations, emotional limitations, recreational limitations, all kinds of limitations. But the benefits of living clean and sober far outweigh the downside. So I accept that I must stay sober if I want to live a better and healthier life.

There are things that I wish were different or that would improve. We all have those feelings regardless of if we’re drunks or not. My life is now so different in so many ways than it ever was. I accept that it’s different. I accept that in exchange for a quieter lifestyle I am improving my chances towards better conditions. I accept that I have exchanged a “buzz” for a calmer and more productive existence. Are some things still missing? Sure, but I accept how things are now and I will continue to use my sober mind to develop a plan and then work at what actions I can take to allow for improvement to happen.

Ever notice that it’s easy to accept substandard living conditions as a drunk or a user. As a drunk or a user we tend to allow for or accept more shitty situations. Being broke or feeling like shit becomes acceptable. Drama and ridiculous problems almost become the norm. Getting loaded may be fun, but accepting a shitty existence isn’t. I am no longer willing to accept a shitty existence. I know and accept that certain things are out of my control, but with my clear mind I am able to evaluate my conditions and then think through the problems and develop a plan to overcome or go around the problems.

It’s getting easier for me to accept better living conditions as a sober person while at the same time accepting a quieter lifestyle. But this is a weird statement for me. I have by no means grown into a boring or sedentary person. I do a lot of crazy, if not dangerous shit. I seem to miss the thrill of a buzz, so I purposely place myself in some demanding situations for the exhilaration of it. How weird for me to say that “I’m not thrilled with how things have turned out,” but at the same time be able to say that I’ve experienced more and accomplished more worthwhile things in my last 10 years of sobriety than I did (or can remember) from all my years as a drunk. But I still seem to be missing something. I believe that others who have stopped destructive substance use might feel the same way.

Does my sobriety (and your own sobriety), really have anything to do with this? I don’t know. It could just be a side effect of life. But I do know that in some areas there is a direct correlation between sobriety and my “less than thrilling” life. For instance, it’s not thrilling being sober and single. Where do you go to meet uninhibited lunatics who don’t drink? Friends of mine ask me to join them at their church groups. They tell me, “Oh you should come. You’ll meet a nice girl.” I don’t want to meet a nice girl; I like dirty girls. It wouldn’t be proper for me to go hang out at a church when I don’t have the same beliefs or passions as someone who is at a church group. I won’t go to AA or NA meetings. That would be just as disingenuous of me. And besides, going to meetings or church functions with the specific intent of meeting someone seems a bit perverse to me.

Please don’t misinterpret that I’m complaining about my status. I am genuinely in a better position in life than had I kept drinking or started drinking again. But this is just my impression of how things are. I use the words “my impression” because this is how things feel to me. In all logic I know that things are better and that I should be happier than I am. It isn’t that I’m unhappy or dissatisfied. I’m not disappointed by my sobriety. What I am is I’m a bit disappointed with myself and my capacity to make the best out of my sobriety for myself. I know that sobriety doesn’t comes with guarantees of happiness or worldly success. It simply brings opportunity to think clearer. Happiness and worldly success is then left up to us as individuals.

I’m not using this as a platform for me to cry my blues. My hope is to assist you with an honest embracing and acceptance of what living as a non-drinker or non-user will or will not bring you. Your outcomes may be completely different than mine. Your sobriety may lead to extreme happiness within your family, career or social circle. You may not become bored or ever feel as if you’re missing out on something.

And then again you may feel disappointed because your sober life isn’t bringing you what you hoped for or thought that it would. It’s okay to be disappointed, but don’t become disheartened. I assure you that you will be better off (or at least not as bad off), physically and financially when you remove destructive substance overuse from your life. Odds become stacked in your favor when you approach life with a clear mind. A clear mind (or sobriety) doesn’t guarantee anything. But your clear mind allows you to better assess situations and gain the knowledge necessary to make better decisions.

I have come to accept that I have made such an exchange. I’m not saying that I accept boredom or that I am beaten by sobriety. I accept that there will be elements to my exchange. I accept that in exchange for a healthier body and healthier mind I must forego some things that I only perceived as exciting. I have no regrets about the exchange and I truly hold hope that I will discover more answers for this dilemma. I know, (or at least hold trust), that the odds of life improvement are better as a non-user than as a user.

I can promise you that things will change within your life. I’m confident that some of those changes will be unwanted. But none the less, I ask that you accept those changes. Accept them as truth. Accepting situations truthfully doesn’t mean you become a defeatist; you become a realist. Once you accept the facts and get a clear understanding of all the conditions surrounding those facts, you can then set your mind to work to think about different ways how you can make those changes work to your advantage or how you can work around the things you don’t like. So you see, I’m not suggesting that you accept a boring, unfulfilling or bad existence in your sobriety. Accept that you are making a conscious exchange: you’re exchanging sobriety for a better life. And within that exchange I would like you to be accepting of certain limitations, but then work with or around those limitations.

I don’t wish to confuse or dissuade anyone from making positive changes within their life. But with change comes exchanges. I believe that some of these exchanges will be uncomfortable and sometimes difficult to accept. I hope that by openly and honestly discussing these feelings we’ll both get a better idea of what the right answers are. Believe it or not, I would like to stimulate you into finding your happiness, because if you’re happy then that helps me become happy. And I do genuinely wish happiness and contentment for you and I believe that eliminating destructive drinking from your life will put you in a position to reach your happiness.

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: “Okay, I quit. Now what?” “Living Sober Sucks!” “Living Broke Sucks!” “Drunk Dad–Sober Dad” and “A Vampire Story–the first 30 days sober“. 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.

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