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Advanced Recovery: My Happiness in Sobriety is Relies on My Work/Life Balance

January 2020

I have people in my life who work like it won’t be there tomorrow – sunup to sundown, six days a week, sometimes seven. Both partners in a marriage, too. They have more money than I would know what to do with and their vacations are epic, but it’s clear their life is work; outside vacations, there isn’t much else.

I also know people who do nothing. They bemoan the rich and how unfair life is from their armchair. If it weren’t so sad, it’d be funny listening to them drone on about how the deck is stacked against them, when in truth, they wouldn’t know fair if it bit them in the heinie. They have very little because they do very little. And it’s everybody else’s fault.

These are two sides of a broad spectrum, and I’m somewhere in the middle. What isn’t important to me, personally, is what others have. All too often, especially with we alcoholics (for some reason), we have a tendency to contrast what we have with what others have, but completely skip over the sacrifices others have to or are willing to make to have what they do.

There are those who try to throw everything they have at work now, with the hope they’ll retire at some point and be happy later. It is heart-wrenching to hear tales of people who almost make it to that retirement paradise, only to die a few weeks after the party. I’ve heard it estimated (by high-ups in the union) that an automaker’s average worker pension lasted less than a year.

I have worked diligently to come up with a good work/life balance. I work early and I put in more than my share of hours but I do not, even a little bit, sign onto the idiotic notion that I’m on call day and night, seven days a week like others in my field. Also, more important, I find a way to enjoy at least one hour of my day, usually on a bicycle.

I take time off for road trips with my friends. I take time for road trips with my wife, and with the kids. I spend time with in-laws and my mom… I enjoy life outside work because I don’t want to be that poor sucker to kick the bucket just a couple weeks after the balloons fall at my party.

When I go, I want my last thought to be, “Too bad, but it sure was a good run.”

I know for a fact it won’t be, “Gee whiz, I wish I would’ve worked a little harder.


  1. Sheree says:

    “I wish I’d spent more time in the office” said no one, no where, on their death bed.

  2. unironedman says:

    C’mom Jim. You’re not foolin’ anyone. Your last thought will be ‘hmm, must be time to change that ‘bar tape…’

  3. James L says:

    Putting in more hours to work less later seems counter productive. I would rather work sensible hours now and just maintain some steady ‘wind down’ work in the future.

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