How do I stay Drunkless, just for today?
It's really quite simple, at this point, but it wasn't always. Note I didn't say "easy".
I only had to change one thing when I got sober, and that was "everything".
Today, my sobriety is a habit. I don't spend much time with anyone who drinks or uses like I used to. Sure, there are always gonna be family or associates who drink, sometimes even to excess, and I can like them, or even love them, but I DON'T have to hang out with them on a regular basis. (I don't want a haircut, so I have no reason to go to the Barber Shop.)
I get up in the morning and thank God for another day. Even when there are a few days in a row that aren't great, at all, I can still be grateful. At least I don't have all that unnecessary insanity piled on top of regular life, today. I make much different choices today than I did when I was using.
I think about what I'd going to eat. I don't obsess, but I do consider. If I eat a lot of sugar, I'm going to have a sugar crash in a few hours; do I really want to have that sugar crash? Then I need to stay away from the donuts for breakfast. Same goes for mass amounts of caffeine. (Remember, kids "Easy does it!")
I think about what I'm listening to: early on, I just made sure I wasn't listening to things that I had "partied" to. Groups like Bob Segar, Pink Floyd, Van Halen, and .38 Special were not on the list of everyday tunes. Once in a while, sure, it's unavoidable. They play Pink Floyd in elevators now, so what are ya gonna do? Goodwill plays Prince and even the little country grocer down the street plays things that take me back to the times I used to dance the night away...right into the next morning, or the next. It's not really possible to never hear them again, and honestly, it's not necessary. But I have to be AWARE of what I'm feeling when I listen to certain things. I can listen to oldies, or try different kinds of music that I've not tried before. I had to do something, because not listening to anything was not an option. I have to have music. Today, I listen to things like KLOVE.
I pay attention to what I see on tv and the internet. I'm not in the Cheech and Chong Facebook group. I'm not part of the secret "Beer Pong and Body Shots Association". Why would I want to go there? If those things hold any fond memories for me, or cause me to look longingly into their storefronts, I've got to seriously evaluate my recovery. Sure, any one can look at the beer commercials. Some of them are pretty clever. But how do they affect you? When I caught myself thinking about how it tasted, and reminiscing about the good old days, it was time to checkity check myself before I wrecked myself. Even now, 23 years into this gig, I'm pretty sure if I smelled some good weed, my mouth would begin to water. Yes, still. (Sometimes in the spring and summer, especially, you can catch a whiff while driving around town. Here's a handy tip: KEEP DRIVING to your initial destination!) It may be legal, eventually, everywhere, but that just puts pot on the same list as beer , wine, whiskey, etc.: Not for me. I can't do it successfully, and I'm not willing to trade ANY of my life, now, for the illusion of "having a good time".
I read things that are encouraging. I have a copy of the Big Book, the 24 hour book (in the bathroom, of course), the NA Basic Text, and a plethora of other recovery-related books. I don't look at things that block the spiritual growth that is so fundamental to my recovery, and at the same time, my peace of mind. I don't read trashy romance novels (any more), nor do I indulge in horror flicks or things that are purely entertaining because of The Evil Factor. They're not entertaining to me, anymore. I lived through enough actual horror and fear and insanity that that stuff isn't what I want to fill my mind with, today. And that's just me. You don't have to approve or agree.
What do I do for FUN? I watch people, I went back to school, I learned how to make lots of cool crafts via Youtube. I found out that I can do lots of things around the house that I'd never even thought of doing before. I browse little shops in small towns, and in bigger cities I've looked up the "touristy" spots and checked them out. I've had some really fun experiences, by just being curious and looking things up online. Finding a few like-minded folks in recovery can make all of these things all the more worth-while. To be sure, solitude can be amazing. But after so much isolation, I kinda like having others around (so I can people-watch while also doing other stuff? Hmmm maybe) at times. And I've scraped up some extra change and done a little bit of travelling. My ideal life would involve TONS of travel, but for now, I'm satisfied with the occasional weekend trip.
And I write. Oh, yeah. I guess that's something I didn't do before. I find that it soothes me, seeing my thoughts in black & white. It allows me to reach out when I can't leave the house. And give back. And the online Sober Community is BOOMIN'. Jus sayin.
I am an entirely different person than I was when I began this journey. I'm good with that.
People say that AA "brainwashes" it's members. Guess what: my brain SERIOUSLY needed washed. I wish that many things from my life before sobriety could be taken out, but I guess they're there so that I can help the next person who reaches out for help. I remember how it was. I'm fighting working hard, everyday, to be sure I don't have to go back.
These days I go to a faith-based 12-step group. I like it, but I also still love AA/NA. I guess it takes a lot of different approaches for me, cos I'm still a complicated person, learning to live, simply.