The Key To a Happy Life; Spoiler – It’s Not Having Everything Work Out In Your Favor. The Choice is Ours, and It Must Be Made.
Do you want to be happy, or not?
My sponsor asked me that question twenty-five years ago when I was just a wet-behind-the-ears noob in recovery. I had a couple of years in but I still had a lot of work in front of me.
Well what knucklehead doesn’t want to be happy?
There are those unfortunates who simply have to fight everything. First, they fight even the idea of a clean, sober life – there has to be a cheat, no? A Higher Power is simply beyond the pale. “Keep it simple, stupid” is an insult. What do you mean, I’m not being honest?! 90 meetings in 90 days? I have a life! The Big Book is out of date. The steps are only suggestions…
They are, actually, only suggestions; they are suggestions in the same respect you would suggest someone pulls the rip-chord on their parachute shortly after jumping out of an airplane. Sure, you can skip that step, but the sudden stop that comes next is gonna suck.
I wasn’t immune. I fought steps out of fear. Rather than just doing what I had to do, I concocted excuses to stall. This meant finding true freedom and happiness in recovery stalled as well. I almost stalled long enough that I thought about getting good and drunk… but I relented. I quit fighting and I got to work, throwing worry to the wind.
Those days are long behind me; I’ve learned time and time again, it’s best just to be honest and get on with doing the next right thing. Freedom and happiness will wait on anyone who believes procrastination in cleaning one’s side of the street is the better option. The only question is, will you be able to outlast getting drunk when life stagnates, when it doesn’t get better?
That’s not worth taunting.
To the main point, though; I had a good conversation with a newer guy yesterday, who made the incorrect assumption that, because I’m such a happy guy, things must just work out for me. I immediately corrected him. When I walked away from my company, after thirteen years, I was pretty sure my life was going to suck, having to work for someone else again. Still, I cast that thought aside. I threw it away like you would a banana peel. That line of thinking was going to do me no good, number one. Number two, it was awful presumptuous of me, no? Number three, what kind of faith in my Higher Power would I be relying on by worrying needlessly about something I couldn’t control anyway? I could go on, but you get the idea.
A year later and I’m so grateful for walking away from my company, words fail me – and that’s saying something, my friends. Words rarely fail me. I’m making about the same money and I’ve got about a quarter of the stress. I’ve taken three vacations so far this year and I’m getting ready for another week off at the end of the year… My work load is a little hectic, but it’s certainly preferable to doing the same thing and chasing money at the same time. This move, while I initially feared it, turned out to be a wonderful, fantastic, surprise.
And if I’d have contaminated the move with my line of thinking, by continually sabotaging – actually, “poisoning” is a better word – what I was experiencing with negative thinking, I’d have missed the forest for the trees.
In other words, my friends, I am perfectly capable of being happy or miserable. The choice is entirely mine.
Just a thought. Recover hard, my friends.