• Benjamin Gear

Undervaluing My Recovery?

Sooooo, I got a text from a close friend congratulating me on my two years. The next thing was, “How does it feel?” I’ve been asked that question all day and my response has been unenthusiastic at best. I don’t know how it feels but I know how I think it’s supposed to feel and that’s not what’s happening with me. My journey has been abnormal from anything I’ve heard about and I don’t know how that makes me feel. I just don’t know.

My journey getting sober wasn’t hard past the point of the initial putting the drink down. Don’t get me wrong, that was not easy at all. When I got back from my stint in treatment in Black Mountain I don’t think I waited a week before I had my first beer. I drank under the “I’m only drinking beer” umbrella, until I couldn’t. It wasn’t long before the vodka-grapefruit beckoned with the familiarity of an old friend and the necessity of a long lost love. It was way more than my normal, it was my was me. It worked until it didn’t. It got outta hand fairly quickly and the pressure, problems, and pain were infinitely greater than any semblance of pleasure I thought I was experiencing.

Deciding to quit hurt, like really! But the moment I committed to quitting I was taken under the wing of all my friends. I had rides to take me to AA whenever I wanted to go. Hell, I had rides take me to AA when I didn’t want to go. I had friends that called me literally every day asking “What are you doing for your mind, body, spirit, and emotions?” I never had an answer so I would be given tasks in each area. I was given books and put on to podcasts that promoted growth in all these areas. A friend picked me up everyday and eventually employed me so I had something to do all day. He spent the time talking to me, asking me the hard questions I avoided and showed me a different way to live. He showed me a new normal. No one wanted to see me drink, either for my own well-being or they were pretty much over me and my nonsense.

From the time I decided to stop drinking until I was back in treatment (and had to not drink) to finish my court sentence I had new and productive habits. I spent my entire time in treatment reading on spirituality and self-awareness. By the time I got out, I just wasn’t a drinker anymore. I could and would go out to bars, I didn’t know where else to hang out, but I'd still not be tempted to drink. The people in the bars that knew me didn’t just not offer me drinks but inquired about my sobriety and asked questions pertaining their own drinking.

I say all that to say this, sobriety was handed to me on a silver platter.

I don’t think I take it for granted. I remember people in treatment that were scared shitless to leave because everything they were returning to encouraged them to drink or use. I know people who have tried to stop drinking, even told their friends they quit and then I would see them via FB or instagram with those same friends out and drinking the night away. I can’t fault the friends, that’s all they know of that person and like most people, they seek and cling to the comfort of familiarity. That’s what I was referring to in What About Your Friends when I spoke of Inadvertent Enablers. They mean well but are actually stunting growth and thwarting progress in an attempt to keep a person they love. I am so so blessed that my experience was the exact opposite.

So here we are at my two year anniversary and I’m just kinda indifferent about it. I know that my sobriety is of the utmost importance, I have and will have nothing without it. I know that it will only be sustained through doing the work. The work doesn’t really feel like work because meetings, reading, prayer, meditation, working with others, and self appraisal are just what I do. Granted it ebbs and flows in regularity and routine but nothing gets forgotten or excluded for long. I feel like I sound like an ungrateful, arrogant, prick but staying sober isn’t really something that concerns me. I just do.

It’s the results that drive and push me now. Drive me crazy and push me to overextend myself. I want to be more so I have more to give so I can reach more people. Whether it's recovery related or just life stuff I want to help however I can in easing whatever growth transition people undertake the way it was offered to me. It’s a weird obsession and I’m doing the brainwork on why this is such a huge deal to me. Also doing the brainwork on balance because I have realized how I’m missing out on some of the simple joys and growth opportunities right in front of me.

Point being, I know I value my recovery but it just feels like I’m just doing what I’m supposed to do. I didn’t get a reward or recognition for paying my rent or child support on time for a year. I just continued to have a place to live and haven’t had to worry about that place being jail. Maybe it doesn’t matter how I feel about my sobriety as long as I honor it by maintaining it? Who knows...I just know I don’t.

Thanks for reading.


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