Finding Strength Within And Without

There were times early in my sobriety when it felt like I was barely holding onto my sanity and I wasn’t sure what to do. I was never very good at facing emotional pain or figuring out why I had it. But thankfully I did hold on.

I needed help from others with these struggles. And it was hard for me to believe in more than just this world on some days. But the result was worth the effort.

I learned that part of becoming a stronger person is to never be afraid to ask for help. And I eventually saw that it was better to try to believe in something than it was to believe in nothing. I also found an inner strength that I didn’t know I had, and peace of mind that I didn’t think possible.

Today I know everything’s going to be all right, even when it’s not. Because I know that I can be all right even when I’m not.

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We’re No Longer Alone

“The street-addict is like the rats in the first cage, isolated, alone, with only one source of solace to turn to.”

The above quote is from an article written a few years ago professing that the likely cause of addiction has been discovered, and according to the author, who also happens to be selling a book, the cause is simply loneliness and an unhappy environment.

I disagree in calling someone a “street-addict, or addict really. But I do agree that loneliness and an unhappy environment can contribute to drug use. It’s true that people can feel isolated and alone from their childhood into their adult life, I know I certainly did, but that doesn’t mean everyone who develops an addiction feels that way.

Many people who develop a substance use disorder have friends. Successful business men or woman, school teachers or other professional types, and loving parents come to mind. People who also seem happy in their surroundings or living conditions, but sadly, may not be happy with themselves.

They appear to be all right to others, but fears and insecurities, ones they’ve denied and kept hidden from the outside world continue to reside inside them. They often don’t feel good about themselves despite any successes they have in life, and although they go about acting as if they’re happy, most know different. The same drug that made them feel better about themselves fails them, and this is when they can began feeling isolated and alone.

After I stopped drinking I found friends in Alcoholics Anonymous, but other than having occasional lunches with some of them, I didn’t hang around with anyone long enough to form a true friendship.

I’ve now been sober for over 21 years and I stopped going to meetings several years ago. I’m also a self-professed loner, (although being married and having a best friend in my wife isn’t really being alone) who admittedly does have a few close friends, but I don’t really do much with any of them.

My point is that I drank and hung around with more people than I call a friend today and had some type of connection with them, yet I have no desire to start drinking again.

Personal growth, self-confidence, and self-love are all factors in being happy with who we are, and it doesn’t matter if we have a lot of friends or not.

These things allow us to love and help others, and that along with an environment that we have improved on can be enough to help us remain sober.

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A Smile Can Be An Accessory To Our Wardrobe

“I consider my smile to be an accessory to my wardrobe.

I sometimes get unfriendly looks back from people I smile at, but I try not to let it bother me or stop me from wearing a smile for all to see.

As an older man with a daughter, I will say that smiling at a young lady with a near naked appearance can make me feel a bit uncomfortable. But that’s just dad talk.

In truth. Displays of anger and hatred trouble me far more than how a person dresses. And one of the simplest ways to help negate those things is to add a smile to our face no matter what we’re wearing.”

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Don’t Forget Us Drinkers

“Although the opioid epidemic needs to remain at the forefront in our efforts to help those addicted. (The death rate from overdoses continue to rise.) We should not forget the problems many people face due to alcohol use. A substance that robbed me of many things, including my happiness, until I got help over 21 years ago. I can’t truthfully say that I may have died. I didn’t drink every day and I still had my health. But I can say I was dying emotionally and spiritually.”

Study Finds Large Increase in Alcohol Use, High-Risk Drinking and Alcohol Use Disorders

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The Spirituality Of Cynicism

I’ve blogged before about me being a bit cynical at times, despite trying to live a more spiritual life. But because I believe that having a sense of humor is part of spirituality. I thought I’d list a few types of people who I’ve been cynical about. All in good humor, of course.

One is the “gym dancer.

They’re kind of funny to watch, as they dance around in front of mirrors with their headphones on listening to music that only they can hear. But if you’re not in the mood for it, they can be slightly annoying. You can’t help watching them do moves that can only be described as “made up on the spot,” and you look at them and wonder where, if ever, they learned to dance. Every gym I’ve been a member of has had one, and I’m sure yours does too.

There’s also the “indecisive food order person.

Somehow, you manage to time it just right that you have the misfortune of winding up behind one of them, and usually starving at the time I might add. You already know what you want—you’ve thinking about it all day. But you can tell right away that this person is going to take a while, so you get out your smart phone to see who liked your latest Facebook post, and try to be patient while they ask questions that are pretty much answered by the descriptions on the brightly lit menus with pictures.

Chances are they’re going to finally make a choice, and you’re going to get excited thinking it’s soon your turn, but inevitably they change their mind at the last-minute. If you’re lucky, the whole frustrating process won’t start over again. But sometimes it does.

Then there’s the “ocean view peripheral vision obstructionist.”

You picked out a great spot on the beach. Close enough to the ocean so no one sits in front of you. And just when you’re sitting there relaxed and enjoying the ocean view this person walks by with their chair and carry bag, filled with everything they’ll need for their beach adventure. For whatever reason, they always sit even nearer to the water than you and just close enough to the left or right that you can’t help but notice that they’re there.

Most of them are probably nice people, but since you’re with someone and they’re not, a reason for why they’re by themselves quickly comes to mind. It seems to take a long time for them to set their bag down, open up their beach chair, and place it on the sand. I’m guessing it’s a ritual of sorts for them to look around the beach before making a hard and fast decision like sitting your shit down where you’ve been standing for the last several minutes.

Although they, at least, usually sit down right away after “pulling the trigger” and finally placing the chair in what I’m sure has to be at just the right angle for sun, fun, and viewing, you can bet your ass that the “opening of the bag” ceremony will soon commence.

As time passes you can’t understand how they got so much stuff in that damn carry bag, including a hardcover book that seems larger than the bag itself. But at some point all you can do is hope their stay is short. Fortunately, sometimes it is.

And finally, for now at least. There’s the “loud talker.

They can also be at the beach, where I find them the most annoying, but I’m sure you’ve heard them in restaurants, lines at stores, and anytime they’re on the cell phone talking with someone. It doesn’t matter what they are talking about, but the “bragging loud talker” is more annoying and brings out the cynical side of me even more. But no matter if they are bragging or not, try being around a loud talker while you’re picking out a special birthday card for a loved one, and see if you too don’t become cynical.

I believe for those of us who are naive and over caring, we need to be cynical of people at times. I’ve allowed others that I thought were good people to fool me and temporarily hurt me emotionally. But nevertheless, being cynical for no real reason can prevent us from feeling good about ourselves, especially if we’re trying to live a spiritual life.

Perhaps it’s OK to have what I’ll call a spiritual cynicism. We know that we’re not being the best person we can be at the time, but we also know it’s not who we are.

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