I’ve been sober for nearly two years now. To the dog on the street that doesn’t mean much. Every day you wake up feeling pretty good and go to sleep feeling pretty good but tired. This existence is like a retirement home for recovering crack heads – Nice and easy in the middle. ..soft pastel colours and nice people saying nice things. Your condition is solid and you suffer no paranoia and no early morning pangs of regret. There is nothing to fear. There is an abundance of possibilities.
I have spoken with various people lately about their quest to find peace within. Now, that may seem like a bit of a high ideal, but it is what a lot of us are looking for. We spend a lot of time looking for it in nightclubs snorting lines of rubbish coke, drinking overpriced fizzy wine, but we are looking for it none the less. It is not easy to find the inner peace that resides when you are content with things. To be content you have to accept one serious Truth about life – it is your ATTITUDE to life which dictates how happy you are.
For me the only way I could move towards being at peace with myself was to become sober. Over the course of the first painful 12 months I recreated my brand of who I am. The last 12 months has been so much easier and I enjoy this world a lot more than the random interconnected madness of Planet “get the yokes and gargle into ya”. I found that the only way I could be a better person was if I could strip away the dark, caustic, cynical bunny I became when I got on the beer and the narcotics. But it’s not for everyone.
I think it is important to have an idea of where you want to go, or more who you want to be. Try not to think of things in terms of “giving up” or “quitting”. Using these words denotes a miserable existence after you “give up” or “quit”. It implies that you will have lost something and that you will not be the same afterwards. I like to say I became sober. Or I took up surfing. Or I wanted to become a professional poker player. I like to think in terms of where I am going and who I am becoming. I do not use the negatives.
I interviewed Natalie Clays who runs the Allen Carr “give up smoking “seminars here in Sydney on the radio show on Friday. Their method involves analysing exactly what the addiction of cigarettes is for people. They show you what the addiction is and over the course of five hours, take that addiction away from you. They offer a money back guarantee if you don’t stop smoking!! How mental is that? I would like to think I performed the same self analysis on myself and my drinking habits and addiction. I saw my addiction for what it was and moved away from it. Now I am addicted to poker, surfing and brooding in the morning wearing a togo while staring acutely into the distance, sipping strong blends of coffee.
The first step towards something new is always the most difficult. Or is it? Maybe not…but you have to take that first step. You have to get out there and change if you want it. You have got to look for help sometimes and it may come from the most unusual of places. But if you are happy then you are happy. If you are content you are content. There is no need to change. Believe me that there is a part of me that would love to be supping creamy pints of Guinness in some long forgotten town down the west of Ireland, with only the fading embers of the turf fire and some oul lads dulled conversation to keep you warm from the gales and rain that pound down outside, but I know I wouldn’t be happy. Not one bit.