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?........