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“You Will Know a New Freedom and a New Happiness…”

In my post yesterday, I inadvertently stumbled on an aspect of recovery that I’ve completely missed. It kinda snuck* up on me. While I have troubles, just like anyone else, the majority of the time I think about happy things and I didn’t even realize it until I wrote that post. Even now, well beyond two decades of recovery, I’m still finding a new freedom and happiness – in ways I didn’t know were possible.

“Jim, if you just keep coming back you’ll come to a point where you think your life just can’t get any better. Then, six months will go by and you’ll realize it did. All by itself.

That promise was made to me when I picked up my 9 month coin. I’ve been there so many times I’ve lost count. I’ve experienced such contentment I often have a tough time believing it’s possible for it to continue, let alone get better. Then I find out it wasn’t only possible, there’s room for much better. As long as I continue to work for it.

I don’t struggle with money or worry much about food anymore. I haven’t had to worry about how I was going to put gas in the tank in almost two decades, now. We don’t live paycheck to paycheck anymore… and most important for my whole family and me, we don’t live under the shadow of my active alcoholism (neither my wife, nor kids, have ever seen me drink).

I don’t regret my past, either. I needed every last bit of misery to finally give up fighting to stay drunk. I needed for things to be that bad so I could have it this good.

I not only comprehend the word serenity, I live in it. Without question, I know peace. I write about these two items regularly.

This next one is interesting, because I’ve realized it’s a little different for me; no matter how high I was on the scale, my bottom only needed to be low enough that I wanted to stop digging, I can see where my experience, strength and hope still benefit others. It happens often.

Uselessness and self-pity? I don’t even remember what they feel like, and let me tell you, that’s enough to make a fella jump up and click his heels.

From the day I quit drinking, my life has changed in such ways, I barely recognize who I am contrasted with who I was. My whole attitude and outlook has changed.

There’s only one item that I fall short on; I haven’t lost interest in selfish things. I still like my bike rides and my free time. I like to sit on the couch over the winter weekends… but I’m working on doing better.

My friends, especially you, Nelson; I promise you, if you just keep coming back, your life will be so good, you’ll think it can’t possibly get any better. Six months later, you’ll find that it did… all by itself.

Just don’t fuckin’ drink or do drugs.

* Of course, it sneaked up on me, but I try to write how I speak, in generally common English and “snuck” is the non-standard past tense of the verb “sneak”. If anything, we know I’m non-standard.