I’ve been sober for over two years now. It’s a substantial amount of time, but also less than 6% of my time alive…so I’m not out of the woods yet. If I am still sober when I reach fifty I will have been sober for just under 70% of my life, or just over half my adult life. For me that’s a very encouraging statistic. From an alcoholic point of view though, you can just take it one day at a time. Stay sober for the next 24 hours and you are doing well. Rinse and repeat.
Thinking about my sobriety in these terms has got me thinking – Life is short. If you have reached the age of adult hood then you are pretty much one quarter of the way through your existence. There is not a lot left to play around with. So you are faced with some difficult questions around this time. Are you willing to do what it takes to get yourself to where you need to be? Have you got the balls to take on sobriety if it means improving your life?
Everyone is different… bland terse statement number one. But it is important to realise that you do need to analyse your situation and take action. For most people this will be normal, everyday action. Will I get married? Will I go for a promotion? Will I have kids? Will I get a driver’s license? For some though it will be more dramatic – Can I give up smoking pot? Can I take on the political elite? Can I lose 40kg? Can I stop gambling? Can I get sober? The real question you need to ask is “Will my life be permanently better if I take this action? The answers should come easy.
While you may know the correct path to take, it is really difficult to action. Peer pressure and social acceptance make it very difficult for people to step out from the norm. A sober Irish man raises many the eyebrow and it has taken me a long time to build this idea of myself. You will find that if you are making tough decisions about your health and wealth, many people will not accept the new you. Many people will doubt and wonder. Many people will slag you and put you down. Show courage in the face of adversity. Let their negativity give you more strength.
Social drinking and drug taking can slowly eat away at you. While you may think you should do something about it, realising you have to power to completely change your life may seem a thousand miles away. You may even believe that it is you and not the drink and drugs that change you. This is the power of the addiction. Believe me when I tell you this – if you think you have a problem with drink, gambling or drugs…then you do. It is simple. You know it yourself.
Let me tell you what to do. You do whatever it takes to get there. You show balls and strength and character and you get help if you need it. You share your thoughts with an external expert in AA or NA of any of the free counselling services which are out there. Apply the same rationale to getting your life together as you would to getting fit and you will get there. Eat well and train hard. Think well and live hard. Sacrifice and you will get back plenty in return.
I came up with another figure the other day. I have been in roughly 20 fights in my adult life off the sporting field. I have been glassed, stabbed, kicked and punched. Every single fight came when I was drinking or on drugs. Since I took on sobriety the occasions for fighting have disappeared. I don’t let the situations aggravate. My mind is calmer and my propensity to fly into a rage less active. It can work for you too.
Everyone has problems. You hate cats, smell bad, drink too much, rob from your neighbour, fornicate frequently, don’t like Asians. Whatever it is you can do something about it. The question is really this – Are you willing to do what it takes to change? Have you got the balls and the courage to make a difference to your own life? Whatever it is you can handle it. Be sure about that.