I hope I don’t get caught. I hope I don’t get pulled over. I hope she doesn’t leave me. I hope I don’t get fired. I hope I don’t have cirrhosis. That was pretty much it for ‘hope’ before sobriety. My life was small, my outlook bleak, and fear ruled. I was beholden to alcohol. Once my best friend, alcohol had turned into the worst kind of abuser. It almost never gave me what I had come to rely on for my very existence. In fact, it almost never gave anything, anymore. The promise of relief was now only in my mind, and I couldn’t let it go.
Alcohol wasn’t my problem, at first. It was my solution. Alcohol was my solution to the way I reacted to life. Instead of actually addressing life and the inherent difficulties that are a part of it, I just drank to escape. Of course, that never actually solved anything. Instead, the result was a snowball effect that became seemingly insurmountable. I just kept stacking up unaddressed issues, shameful behavior and moral shortcomings that enforced my view that I was doomed to failure.
In Robert Frost’s poem “The Road not Taken” he describes:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” The road I took that led to my dependence on alcohol seemed to be the easier path for me, at the time. The “easy way out” as it were. Avoidance beat discomfort, isolation beat risk, false bravado beat actual courage. Instead of growing as a human, I hid in my alcoholic blanket fort and suffocated inside, for lack of exposure, oxygen. I slowly lost the reason to live.
Every day I create my past, and for me, my past began to affect my future. Enough prior failures convinced me of the likelihood of future shortcomings. Why even try? Moored to my inadequacies, I stagnated. The best I could hope for was that things didn’t get worse. I stopped living and started existing.
A ship is safe in the harbor, but that is not what ships are for.
Then I got sober and all that has changed. Today I am full of hope, for today and the future. The path I choose today isn’t always the easy one, but easy is no longer the goal. Life is for living! Feelings are for feeling! We are here to help each other. Life isn’t necessarily always fun or easy and that’s ok! The fun and the sad, the scary and fulfilling, all these are part of the journey, they are life. Recovery has taught me this and today my aim is to live like it.
If someone you love seems only to be existing and you feel that they’ve lost their way due to drugs, alcohol, or both, an Intervention for Substance Abuse may be the most loving act you can do for them. We know this is scary and hard. But you can do hard things, and Synergistic can help. Please let us.