“What’s the real struggle?” (06/27/17)

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I received a message from someone through Facebook that said: “….every clean or dry junkie still wants it. I love what you do but, it is hard to believe your daily struggle.”

Well, I do struggle daily. It’s not so much a struggle with staying away from substances, but a struggle living a fun and exciting life as a clean and sober person. (Let’s put clinical depression aside for the moment.) Life is boring without mind altering substances. Life is far too real without mind altering substances. Every failure is clear. Every rejection hurts more than it should. Every personal imperfection or limitation is apparent. Life, reality, facts and acceptance of one’s own inadequacies is a struggle.

I am very demanding of myself. I expect the best performance out of myself. I expect the highest and most astounding accomplishments from myself. Sobriety clearly reveals truth to me. I can’t hide or delude truths about myself. I can’t drink away the reality of failed accomplishments. So having a clear sober mind is the REAL struggle for me.

Oh sure, I accomplished a lot while I was a user. But those accomplishments were based on empirically mechanical facts. I could remodel a room or an entire house. I just had to stop the work when I was too drunk. I could fix a car or a boat with little effort, unless I got too drunk. But try to advance my knowledge, education or career while I was loaded? Forget about it.

I would dream up all sorts of ideas or imagine myself becoming all sorts of things while I was loaded. But because I was too loaded I never really tried or only made flaccid efforts. All the dreams failed due to “bad luck” or “someone else’s fault.” I could always drink or drug my way into thinking why something never happened. Now I can see the honest reasons why something never happens. That can be a struggle, but it is actually a good thing, which I’ll explain why at the end of this.

I’m not saying “don’t dream.” Hell, dream BIG and BOLD! But dreams without a plan and without actions are just that—dreams; wisps of thought that never come into reality. So dream realistically. Analyze the feasibility of something. Don’t become deflated by perceived limitations. Take intelligently calculated risks. Use your sober mind to get going in the direction of your dreams. You might pleasantly surprise yourself by what you can do, become and accomplish when you set your clear sober mind thinking towards a goal.

I can honestly say that I have grown beyond any level than I could have as a drunk. I have full confidence in my sober mind. I know that I can clearly set a goal, view what needs to be done and then honestly ascertain whether I have the capacity, attributes and competency to accomplish my goal. Sometimes my clear mind shows me that I can’t or won’t be able to accomplish something. But then I set out to think of a way around my limitations or I come up with alternatives. Every one of my failures, rejections or setbacks has led me to an alternative or to something better than I imagined in the first place. (This is far different than “everything works out for the best” bullshit. You must accept adversity and failures and think how you can make them work in your favor.)

What’s another struggle? Well, maybe it’s the lack of excitement. Some people feel that drama is excitement. But genuine excitement is poles apart from drama. It’s nice to feel needed or that your opinion matters. Helping someone out or being involved in someone else’s problems can give you a feeling of importance. But is that excitement or time wasting drama? (I know plenty of people who don’t drink but their life is always filled with someone else’s problems.) Maybe by getting involved in everyone else’s problems they create a diversion from their own goals or problems? “Oh I’ve been wanting to (whatever), but my friend has all these issues I’m helping her with. I just don’t have any time to take care of my own stuff.” (Martyrdom?)

With all the drama lacking in my life I sometimes feel that my existence is boring or that I’m insignificant. But then I think about how calm and relaxing that is. I have plenty of excitement and intense pressure in my life, but it’s all the positive results of working at projects, jobs and goals. The lack of drama can make room for genuine excitement in your life.

Another struggle for me is enjoying myself in social settings. Beer, wine and booze are such a normal element at entertainment venues, sporting events, parties and gatherings. Bars and clubs are built on beverage sales. So I can’t help but feel like an outsider at these places and events. I get bored and I find myself becoming annoyed around drunk people. I don’t feel superior to drunks, but I’m not drunk with them, so I don’t fit in.

There aren’t many places to go or opportunities for alcohol free events. Oh sure, there’s always AA meetings or church meetings, but that becomes even more boring and annoying for me. And then being a single male, dating becomes awkward. Where can I meet women that don’t drink? The women I do meet aren’t all drunks, but it ends up leading to conversations that I’d rather avoid. “Why don’t you drink? Can’t you just have one? How bad of a drunk were you?” Etc. A lot of times I find myself better off not dating or just staying home. One of my big struggles has been learning to have fun at social gatherings.

So for me, the struggle with sobriety isn’t staying away from substances. My struggles have to do with life through a clear mind. As I said earlier: Life, reality, facts and acceptance of one’s own inadequacies is a struggle. But I’ve come to appreciate and be grateful for these struggles. I don’t waste my time pursuing farfetched or ludicrous dreams. I know my own strengths and limitations. I’ve learned how to work around my limitations and get the most out of my strengths. Reality often hurts, but there’s so much more to gain (and avoid losing), when life can be attacked with a clear, sober mind.

Yes, it’s still a daily struggle being stuck with me and my sober mind. Sometimes I’m really bored and I think I missing out on all the excitement. And as tempting as getting loaded may sound at times, I won’t do it. It’s just not worth it to me.

If you decide to stop destructive drinking or overusing drugs, I hope that you find your life becoming calmer and that your struggles are based around positive growth. And even if you do keep on using, I still hope your life becomes calmer.

Struggles will always be part of real life. I believe that you can overcome your struggles by using your clear, sober mind. I believe you’re smarter than others may think you are. Take control of your struggles and make them work for you.

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.

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