I’m wishing everyone a Happy New Year. And a sober one should help ensure that. When I look back over my 21 and a half years of sobriety, I can honestly say that the biggest obstacle I faced was fear. Fortunately many of the fears I had turned out to be the boogeyman, and the ones that turned out to be real, helped me to grow and become a stronger person. So while not everyday may bring us happiness, we cannot fail to be happy by facing our fears, knowing that we will find greater strength in doing so.
“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.”
Our time comes. And our time goes. For me, the last several years of my life seem to have gone by way too fast. That’s why when I come across certain things that bring back memories of when I was younger, it can make me feel sad.
I loved the TV show The Munsters as a kid, but I had no idea who this woman was, other than an actress who played Lily Munster. She had a long and successful career before that role, and I think she is a very beautiful woman. She passed away over 10 years ago and I didn’t think much about it until seeing this picture.
Time marches on with or without us. And I want friends and family to have fond memories of me when I’m gone. And I believe that feeling my life is going by too quickly will help me behave in ways that will do just that.
I can’t imagine ever drinking again. I enjoy being sober and living a spiritual life. I’ve become a good person who loves themselves and others. And I’m happy with who I am. But let me make two things clear.
I’m no superhero when it comes to living a spiritual life. And it’s not always easy being me.
There are times when my thoughts become filled with anger about one thing or another, and a small resentment can crop up. I can be somewhat cynical when it comes to certain people—a few celebrities and politicians come to mind. And I’m a man who enjoys looking at woman, although I’m careful not to stare, especially when I’m with my wife. Oh yeah. I also drop the F-Bomb sometimes and say things I wish I hadn’t.
As far as why it’s not easy being me, well that’s a little more complicated.
You would think if I’m happy with myself and enjoy life, it only stands to reason that being who I am shouldn’t be hard. But sometimes it is. Sometimes, a sudden sadness comes over me, or I feel anxious without any real reason for it.
Now I know that may not seem like a big deal, but wait, there’s more.
I’ve gone to bed in a good mood already, only to awaken the next morning feeling down or actually fearful. Dreams are sometimes the culprit and these feelings usually go away quickly. But sometimes they linger and I have to fight mentally to feel better emotionally.
Science tells us that some people have lower levels of what I like to call the happy chemicals in our brains, which I’m sure I am one of. But that doesn’t help much when I’m feeling unhappy for no reason of my making.
Fortunately, I’ve come to realize that there are going to be times when I’m not as happy as I want to be and that the way I am feeling will pass. I just wish it was easier on some days is all.
In the end I do know that living a spiritual life, which doesn’t have to be anything more than trying to be a better person than we were before, helps us to love ourselves and to be happy with who we are. And that may well be another reason I have to fight to be happy.
Truth be told, I haven’t been trying as hard as I have in the past to improve on myself—correcting my negative thoughts and behaviors.
I may not be a superhero when it comes to living a spiritual life. And it’s not always easy being me. But I can’t think of a better way to live or a better person to be.
I just need to work harder at being the person I say I am.
My wife and I are not always a happy couple—we have our share of disagreements. But we have been a couple for over 38 years now. Through ups and downs. Through sad times and good times. Our relationship has endured.
Not a perfect one. But a loving one.
People who truly know us, know we don’t pretend to be a perfect couple. We exist as a couple for many reasons, with the love I mentioned being one of them. But we also love our children and grandchildren. And we have certainly learned to love ourselves.
It is only when we love ourselves and become happy with who we are that we stand a chance at having a relationship where we don’t settle and simply try to make the best out of it. (Sadly, some couples do.)
Now a few may think my wife and I pretend to be a happy couple—a perfect couple. But again, those who truly know us, know we are both far from perfect and don’t claim our relationship is. We’re just two people who refused to give up during times when it seemed like we should have.
Two people who faced fears and insecurities, both alone and together, who endured as a couple and learned the secret to having a long-lasting and mostly happy relationship.
Not a Perfect one. But a loving one.
I celebrated 21 years of continuous sobriety this month. I went from calling myself a high bottom alcoholic, to a recovered alcoholic, and at some point I called myself a self-proclaimed alcoholic. But eventually it no longer mattered what I called myself. The bottom line is that I was a problem drinker who needed to be something I wasn’t, full of fears and insecurities that made me unhappy, and I was often quite lonely and sad.
Thankfully that all changed after waking up hung over on April 27th, 1996, sick to my stomach and afraid that the argument I started with my wife the night before had cost me my family. Fortunately, it somehow didn’t, and the rest is history as they say. But I’ll add that it was hard and scary along the way at times.
I didn’t drink every day, and I was far from the stereotypes one sees in movies and on TV, bottoming out and losing everything. But I had bottomed out emotionally and spiritually, and at the time I only knew of one place I could go to get help—Alcoholics Anonymous.
I wrote about my experience there in my book, and how the Twelve Steps helped me to love myself and be happy in life. And I wrote about some of the answers I found outside the rooms of AA that helped me find even greater happiness. But this post isn’t about AA or my book. It’s about the two answers I didn’t find.
It frightens me some days that there may not be something after we die. And I’m still not sure what my true purpose is in life.
Yes I have a book and a blog. Yes I help people with substance use problems. And yes I currently work helping people with mental illnesses. But I have to wonder why my prayers of being able to financially support myself while writing more books and helping more people haven’t been answered?
One might say that vanity has something to do with it. If I get a swelled head and begin to think I’m more important than what I am, I could end up drinking again, right? But I’ve ruled this out. A lot of things have contributed to my growth and my happiness, and I know drinking would rob me of that. Plus I have never been more humble in my life. I don’t have a lot of money, an expensive car, or a big home. And I’m aware that I still have a lot more growing to do, both spiritually and as a person.
So what is it then? Why haven’t I achieved my dream yet? No god? Not my purpose to help the many people suffering from what has become better known as a chronic, progressive disease of the brain? Maybe I’m just not qualified? Maybe a book and blog doesn’t make me an expert on addiction and helping others? And if there is a god of some kind. Maybe I’m not supposed to be famous or well-known in the field of addiction?
I’m not sure if the answer as to whether or not there’s a god will ever be answered. And I can only hope that the term “when preparation meets opportunity” becomes a reality for me. But I can honestly say that there have been some signs that I’m on the right path in life.
I celebrated 21 years of continuous sobriety this month. I went from calling myself an alcoholic, to a recovered alcoholic, and at some point a self-proclaimed alcoholic. But it no longer matters what I call myself. I don’t need to be something I’m not, and I’ve learned how to overcome my fears and insecurities. I’m no longer lonely. And although I feel sad on some days, finally being happy with who I am sustains me during those times and the sadness never lasts.
So I guess I’ll simply keep trying to believe that something created life and the universe for a reason and that we do have a purpose while we’re here. And not worry about the answers.
If my sobriety has taught me anything, it’s that we can create our own happiness, and that living in the present moment is one of the best ways to achieve it.
I enjoy helping others. It makes me feel good about myself, and gives me a sense of achievement.
The definitions listed below are why I think most people’s troubles come from insecurity, and not ego like many spiritual gurus state. The third definition of ego comes from insecurity. It is a false sense of ego used to overlook our fears and insecurities, and help us feel better about ourselves. I should know. I had a false ego all through my life—even into my early sobriety. It was in my sobriety, however, that I was able to become more self-confident and grow to love myself. I also found greater happiness in life. Especially after finally becoming happy with who I was.
It is those things that I want for others. It’s why I do what I do to help people. Not because of ego. And not because of insecurity. But because of who I’ve become.
ego: 1. A person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. 2. The part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity. 3. An overly high opinion of oneself
insecurity: 1. Uncertainty or anxiety about oneself; lack of confidence.