Getting and staying sober has taught me that I have a perfectly good brain. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe I am extra smart but I’ve come to realize my brain is fine. So why would I want to poison it regularly? In our world today, drinking is portrayed as such a normal part of life that sobriety seems unusual. The newly sober often dread the question “Why don’t you drink?” In reality, there aren’t as many heavy drinkers as we may think, but you wouldn’t know that if you watch any TV, listen to the radio, read advertisements, or pay any attention to social media. It would appear that we must celebrate any occasion by drinking, and conversely, we must deal with any of life’s pitfalls by having a couple stiff drinks to comfort ourselves. I’m happy, let’s drink. I’m sad, let’s drink. I’m really sad, let’s get really drunk. Really?  

Here is a basic truth, ready? We have feelings for a reason. As humans, our experience here should be one of growth. We are supposed to feel things completely. Spiritually, mentally, emotionally… completely. For me, avoiding my feelings in any given situation inevitably sinks me into a karmic debt. I lose. My thinking/feeling/world simply goes off-kilter. Further, if I’ve smothered these feelings with alcohol or drugs it does not mean that they go away. Worse, it just means they just haven’t been dealt with yet. And likely, the act of not dealing with them will manifest in an increasingly negative way as time goes on. I’ll either lash out or lash in. Somehow this debt will be paid. If I don’t deal with feelings they just eat away at me, like cirrhosis of the soul. 

I didn’t realize how much life I avoided. After some deep introspection, inventory, and of course, sobriety, I was quite surprised to learn how much of my life up to that point was reaction. Like a human pinball, I just bounced off of situations, jobs, and relationships. I never really had a clue who I was or what I wanted… what I loved. It may have been part of my emotional maturity having been stunted due to the alcohol and drugs. Growing up is hard. Being a grown-up is hard. Not growing up is harder. Buddha said, “Life is suffering.” Life just ain’t easy, but trying to avoid the hard parts does not result in a “get out of jail free” card.  Life is suffering, sure. But it can be really great too, if we don’t miss it.

I think life is like a rollercoaster. Sometimes it feels like I’m waiting, bored. Then, laborious uphill climbs, terrifying drops, exhilarating moments, fear of the unknown… I can’t just get off, or make it stop. I need to learn to love the whole ride. I need to continue to learn. Ups, downs, they are all part of the ride. Without bad, there is no good. Anytime I don’t feel grateful I just try to remember the bad times. In my past, life has been really hard. Of my own making for sure but still, life was really painful. This never fails to remind me that now, things may not be exactly how I want but at least they’re so much better than they were!

I got sober with a heroin addict that said to me, “I’m so glad booze isn’t my addiction…” His point being, alcohol is actually encouraged in society. We are being coerced to poison ourselves! Society is constantly trying to convince us that we should aspire to be intellectually disabled. If you look around with a critical eye, the normalcy of booze in our daily lives is overwhelming. Ever wonder why they need to advertise so much? Just like the barrage of advertisements leading up to the release of a sub-par movie, it’s because the product just isn’t that good.

Alcohol never really made me happy anyway, if I’m being brutally honest. It just made me feel like I was going to be happy in about 15 minutes. If true happiness was a product to be bought, alcohol would be the cheap knock-off that rarely works as promised and fails quickly after use. Not recommended. Sober joy is the real deal. A name-brand product that does not fail to deliver. 5 out of 5 stars.

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