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I have this thing about how many miles I put on my bikes over the course of a year. This may seem extreme to normal folk, but I like to be right around 8,000 miles overall (6,000 outdoor miles) for the year. This isn’t an easy task when one has a job, but it’s certainly not impossible. I did it last year.
Then the Wuhan, China coronavirus COVID-19 swept in and I expected March’s total mileage to take a serious hit. Far worse, we’re looking at almost a three week layoff (without pay for me, which is another big hit) if things don’t change. The first day of the layoff, Tuesday, I was sweating bullets. How would this work itself out?! How would I provide for the family?!
Then I remembered that which is most important: God is everything or God is nothing. At that point, I started thinking positively again.
Fortunately, though, my wife and I have a little nest egg tucked away for just this sort of occasion, with enough cash I could easily withstand a month, maybe two, without having to get off the couch. We have this little nest egg because when ex-drinkers sober up, we’re taught that it’s wise to save up some money for just in case… and the only reason we don’t have enough cash for four months is we decided to pay cash up front for my eldest daughter’s Invisiline “braces” so we could get a credit for the youngest’s.
So that’s meant I have been, and will continue to be able to, spend an inordinate amount of time on my bikes. March started out as a mediocre month and with four days left in the month, I’ve smashed last March… and I’ve got nothing but time for the next two weeks. Starting Monday, I won’t be getting paid so I have no problem whatsoever riding whenever the mood strikes me.
It’ll be like being retired for a couple of weeks, and that sounds good to me.
Some people wonder “why sober up”?
Because my life’s become so good, drinking stopped being a temptation twenty years ago. People don’t understand being clean because they can’t see beyond their addiction. If they could see what life had in store for them, quitting would be an afterthought.
And that most definitely doesn’t suck.
Part Three in this series is going to be fun. Part One is (here), Part Two is (here). I’m going to get into why AA fails for the abundant folks who can’t (or won’t) grasp this simple program. For those who won’t, this will be an uncomfortable journey.
While Alcoholics Anonymous is simple, it isn’t easy. We are asked to grapple with thoughts, emotions, actions, and the ramifications of those actions – all while accepting that we are egocentric, which must be squashed immediately – and with the hope that once we do, we’ll be free of addiction’s grip. We call this our return to sanity. Millions have experienced this exhilaration, indeed, it isn’t to be missed.
The problem is, the work sucks. It’s hard. And who would want to do that $#!+ anyway?! Normal people don’t go through all that crap! We even have to give up righteous indignation if we’re to truly be happy. It means ceasing to place blame, pointing the focus squarely on the person we see when we look in a mirror. Most of us can’t even look ourselves in the eyes in a mirror when we first waltz through the door – not without bursting into tears. Try it – and don’t give me one of those bullshit quick glances – really look in the mirror and look into your soul. That’s it.
In the scheme of things, though, is it really all that bad when one considers we’re battling a disease? I’d never complain about my lot contrasted with that of a cancer patient. Now, imagine being able to look in that mirror and be happy with who you are, with your flaws and imperfections being ground into the backdrop by the good you do – by the person you’ve become. Imagine contentment, being glad just for another day like the last one. That’s what you have to look forward to if you’re willing to work for it.
In the end it boils down to one simple idea: AA doesn’t work for those who aren’t willing to work at it. Alcoholics Anonymous is an active program of recovery that takes constant work and effort for as long as one chooses to stick around. Simply put, if you’re not willing to do the work, you’re not ready yet. Come back when you don’t have any options left and you’re willing.
Once you’ve hit “F*** it”, it’ll work like a charm. I’ve never see a person fail who’s thoroughly followed the path – and I’ve seen a $#!+-ton of failure.
Michigan’s Governor (and a whole slew of other politicians with D’s and R’s after their name) suggested recently that we should replace handshakes with fist and elbow bumps.
Where do those same people suggest you sneeze (or in this case, cough)?
Just remember, folks, politician is the second oldest profession. Right after prostitute. Anyone who puts their faith or hope in politicians will be profoundly disappointed… or happy and profoundly ignorant.
When I first heard the concept, as a young, newly sober lad, of “living life like there’s no tomorrow”, I bought into the idea immediately and I repeated it often.
As I’ve grown in recovery, I’ve tempered that attitude and modified it considerably, because of one gnawing little reality; if there were no tomorrow, I wouldn’t go to work today. My friends, if this was my last month on earth I wouldn’t go to work, let alone my last day.
Once I got there in my head, the saying didn’t hold its sway.
See, when I sobered up, I’d run out of options. This is what most people call their “bottom”. The point at which we decide to stop digging. I was technically homeless, though not literally (my parents were “II” that close to throwing me out on my ass) when I left treatment. I convinced my dad, then my mom, to let me show them that I’d changed, that I had made my mind up to stay sober in treatment… and they did. And I lived up to my end. I was a meeting-going fool, starting that very evening. I committed to doing 90 meetings in 90 days. Then I did 90 in 90 one more time, just to make sure I did it right the first time.
Since that stint in treatment, I haven’t looked back. There has been progress, followed by setbacks, followed by more progress until my life doesn’t look a thing like it did back then. I have so much fun with day-to-day life, if the government found out, the politicians would figure out how to tax fun, because it’s obviously not fair that I’m having that much. Folks, it’s that good.
But what I can’t do is lose sight of what got me here in the first place.
Hard, uncomfortable work. Commitment and dedication. Mindfulness, Meetings. Recovery. Doing my best to be a good husband, a good dad, a good employee and boss… Honesty, open-mindedness, willingness. Reliance on my Higher Power and a desire to do His will (even when mine seems like it’d be more fun). Sharing my experience, strength and hope with others. Freely giving away what was so freely given to me…. and most important, I have to remember what got me to do all of that bat-shit crazy stuff to begin with:
I ran out of options.
I live life like I might not get a second chance if I screw this one up.
There are reports emerging, in which people are claiming that the quip, “okay Boomer” is ageist.
Actually, the quip isn’t ageist. It’s funny as hell, and that’s the “why” behind the contortions to make this a slur against age. It’s not.
The claim that something is ageist, sexist, racist, or any other “ist” there is, when that something clearly is not, is the last, desperate argument of a scoundrel.
Got that, Boomer?
I’ve never seen anyone drink their way to happiness…
Or, as the linked post explains, I’ve never seen anyone procrastinate themselves into happiness.
Never thought of it quite so simply, but it sure does work. Please take a moment and check the linked post out.
A radio personality here in Michigan likes to start his broadcast off every day by saying, “Each day is a gift”.
Recently I’ve been on a kick, really enjoying the day for what it is – and with everything that’s been going on lately, that hasn’t been easy. One of my favorite Uncle’s died last week, my wife’s stepmom’s brother was diagnosed with ALS, and we had another tragedy to deal with that makes the other two pale in comparison – and I won’t be able to write about that for at least a year, if ever. We told our daughters, after protecting them all week, about that one and they were devastated. My youngest spent the whole weekend in some stage of tears.
Recovery was never touted as being easy by the old-timers when I first walked in the door. Nobody says it gets easier. It gets better. And it did get better because I got better. On the other hand, I always remember, on a daily basis, exactly what can happen if I decide to pick up a drink. I can have my misery back any time I want it.
Sadly, I see people choose the misery on a regular basis. It’s heartbreaking, what can happen – and how quickly we slide down the scale. There’s no fighting gravity, though.
The only chance I have to feel that today really is a gift is to stay on the path. And so I shall.