Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Put me down for the simple life....

At a recent AA meeting "J" brought up the fact that he was struggling with a decision. To stay where he was or to go back to Chicago from where he came. He's been sober three months, and now it's time for him to return home and he's torn. He knows that there's more job opportunities, friends, and family in Chicago, more stuff happening, but he doesn't want to leave our little town. When asked why, he said, "it's the first time in my life that my brain has been quiet. I feel peaceful from my head to my toes".

According to the AA big book we can go anywhere if we are spiritually sound. J isn't feeling it. He's worried that once he hops aboard the "crazy train" of his former life he will derail within seconds. To me this is a legitimate fear. Those playmates and playgrounds can be hard to leave behind. Or can they?

Many people took this dilemma as an opportunity to share what worked for them. Many told stories of how when they sobered up how their "so called good friends" never called anymore. One man said he's pretty sure those friends are still waiting for him to come out of the bathroom five years later! But what I really think it comes down to is how much you value yourself and your sobriety.

I am aware of how I now protect my sobriety. I often say to people when asked how I do it, "well, no drink tastes as good as sober feels". I truly believe that. I guard my sobriety like a precious treasure. I guess its because of self worth. I never realized that I deserved anything better than the mess I had made of things. I let myself fall into miserable traps over and over again because I thought it was my destiny. Sobering up gave me a choice. A choice to do things differently.

Did I have to change playgrounds. Of course. I can go to alcohol related events or places now that I am confident in my recovery but I didn't at first. It didn't feel right. Did I have to change friends? Not so much. But I don't get together socially as much as I used to because I love being at home with my family. I love my role as wife, mother, daughter, friend, worker, poet, writer, gardener, ect. but at one time those roles overwhelmed me. I couldn't do it all, of course not, AA taught me I am all those things, but one at a time. I set boundaries, I know when to leave, and I will not jeopardize my sobriety. In other words "I will go to any length" to keep sober.

To many people who do not suffer from the disease of alcoholism this "length" seems a bit over emphasized. I mean I've had people say to me, "you probably don't need those meetings anymore". Excuse me? I choose those meetings, because in those rooms people get me. I laugh, I cry, I never have to explain myself. I am 100% accepted and because of that acceptance my sobriety works. I do need those meetings, as I need my sobriety.

So I guess you can put me down for the simple life. I like my Friday nights, watching "GoldRush" in my pj's with my hubby and the kids. Popping popcorn, or making cookies, or singing the "Rainbow Connection" with my daughter at the "Muppets" movie. I spent too long thinking the grass was greener somewhere else. It never is, in fact it's usually brown. I'll keep my simplicity, because it helps me keep my sobriety. What about you?........


  1. smiles...to experience real change in your life you have to change things that enable the patterns...i am glad you did that and you are a testament to others...

  2. Like you, my sobriety remains the most important decision of my life. Every single day it matters--perhaps only to me, but that's ok--I am most interested in My Stuff and being sober holds it all together.

    I love the line you use--no drink tastes as good as sobriety feels--That. Is. Perfectly. True. Thanks for sharing, i read you for a while now but don't comment often... this one really struck home for me.

    Happy Holidays and may your snowfall increase your enjoyment of the season.

  3. Omg I love what you wrote about all of the roles that overwhelmed you until you learned you were all of them "one at a time". Thank you for that! After three years of sobriety, I am just learning how to avoid losing myself in a hundred roles and falling into "overwhelmedness", which is just another manifestaion of my alcoholism.

    Simplicity ~ sober, calm, present living ~ is such an alien concept that I still barely make it through a single day maintaining that kind of mindset. I'm still amazed that it's okay to just live without a hundred larger-than-life (and never attainable) projects, desires, identities. But I am trying and i think succeeding in this particular moment. So delicious to just be here now, reading blogs old comfy yoga clothes while I cook for my family and sing silly christmas songs. Who knew this could be such bliss?! Thank you..

  4. Sobriety has taught me to accept my limitiations, life often overwhelms me since the car accident but thank God that I'm sober and have the tools to embrace each day with gratitiude.

    Slow and steady it is for me