Saturday, January 1, 2011
The Value of Sobriety
Having been a man that lost his legs and could never learn to walk again. I feel these days that I am not doing too badly with my prosthesis. That is metaphorically speaking of course. See when permanently intoxicated or for a large part of the time that you have to spend in reality that is. You become a non functioning member of society, you exist. You fill time and space but none of this actually brings anything positive to anyone else’s lives. And that is ultimately what defines our legacy as human beings; being remembered. Hopefully this manifests as a positive in most people’s lives. However we will always have to put up with the odd Stalin or Hitler where this memory does not carry the positive impact that I have in mind here.
As I see it, for the most I had none to little of anything positive to be remembered by when I was constantly feeding an addiction. The process of sobering up probably in itself did not have too much in the way of positive things too leave others with either except for the fact that the collateral damage in my day to day life had a lot less of an impact than before. I suppose that this in itself was a positive thing. Just that I was no longer impacting negatively.
However as time goes by and wounds heal, I grew emotionally, I started to see my own flaws and actions in the past for what they truly where. I started realizing somewhere along the line that I was no longer craving. I still do not remember any defining moment, or any place in time where I thought that this is it, I am now actually recovering. But somewhere along the line it did happen. Along this path I had to walk to find freedom from what bound me to a hopeless existence. I found value in sobriety.
I suddenly and with clarity, had my light bulb moment of recognition for what sobriety is
doing for me in my current situation and life. Of how it is positively impacting on others,
and not to others meaning only those that were negatively impacted on before. But also
others; meaning, people that I met not even knowing about my addiction. These people
would have been negatively impacted had I entered their lives as an alcoholic.
When I contemplate the value of my sobriety, the first thing in terms of value to that comes to mind is actual monetary value. This is rather glaringly obvious as I can promise you that I am spending a hell of a lot less money on booze, and the affiliated entertainment than when I was drinking permanently.
The second thing that comes to mind is actual relationships. And this means that I can now talk to my wife. We can discuss things like a budget … yes that sounds strange but I eventually realized that some married people actually do discuss things like that. We can spend time talking about what we feel important in our life together.
I was able to soberly contemplate and face my own personal views on politics, religion, life, love, my love for the creative side of life, sexuality, relationships and so much more that spending time talking about each individually might mean that I am left having to write a full book.
The only thing that is left to consider in respect of what value I place on sobriety is the whole life experience.
The ability to live each day, not hiding in a state where I could not care about what happens to me or others that I have an influence on in their lives, the opportunity to make a difference. The opportunity to be able to be counted, the opportunity to being listened to, the opportunity to speak with confidence in the first place.
This life I am living has so many wonderful things left for me to explore, experience, ponder on and to give. That even the consideration of going back to my sad existence by taking a drink, seems senseless. But then the whole addiction in the first place was senseless.
I can not say that I will never drink again. But I do know that today I will not drink. Today I will live this life, today I will experience and tap this wonderful world for every last drop I can extract from it. That is the value I find in staying sober.