Being Happy With Who We Are

“When I was young. I never needed anyone. And makin’ love was just for fun. Those days are gone.
Livin’ alone. I think of all the friends I’ve known. But when I dial the telephone. Nobody’s home.”

I had girlfriends as a teenager. But the above lyrics from the song All By Myself, sung by Eric Carmen in 1975, still sums up my teenage years. And although I got married at the young age of nineteen, the song also sums up many of the years that followed. Years that I call my drinking days. Where even with a wife and kids, and friends in bars, I still often felt sad and alone. But fortunately that’s not the case anymore.

I celebrated 22 years of sobriety on April 27th, and although I was actually “all by myself,” it was a quiet and relaxing evening.

With my wife at home in a nearby state, the night went by with some TV and doing a few things to improve the personal use of my blog. I then fell asleep in front of the TV at some point, (it happens a lot more now that I’m fifty-eight years old) and after waking up at a time I don’t remember now. I went to the bathroom and then went to bed. (There’s a lot more peeing at fifty-eight too).

Now the point of this blog post isn’t to talk about my drinking days or tell you about my bathroom habits. I covered the loneliness I experienced throughout my life in my book and my frequent peeing may fall under the expression, “too much information.” But I do want to talk about how after 22 years of growth, both personal and spiritual, I am the happiest I’ve ever been, even though I’m not as happy I was several years ago.

I know that sounds confusing but stay with me. I promise there’s a positive message coming.

Back in January of 2013 I wrote a blog post called A Quiet Confidence. It’s about my college experiences, but it mostly focuses on one in particular. An experience that helped me to grow at the age of fifty-two, and one that reflects how I have been feeling for a while now.

I have spent the last year and four months working as a case worker for people with mental illnesses and I have also spent that time being away from my wife more than before. Although we have been married for over 38 years now, I can honestly say that we miss each other when we’re not together.

Since there’s a rather long story behind my current situation, I’ll move on by simply stating that my present circumstances came to pass due to the passion I have for helping others.

It was in that blog post from 2013 that I wrote how I had begun having doubts about some of my personal views on counseling and addiction and how it was affecting my self-confidence. And it was also in that post that I wrote that I felt like I was losing my identity. Now while those things currently hold true, I will say that I love myself and that I’m happy with who I am. Which is why I am the happiest I have ever been, but not as happy as I was when I was in college.

Now for the positive message I promised.

I have found that being happy with who we are can sustain us in times when we’re not as happy in life as we want to be. And that as long as we don’t give up, our lives will improve for the better.

I believe that this past year and four months have helped me to grow as a person, but it has also shown me where I need to grow more. And that even though I have a job that I love, I need to start being with the wife that I love more.

I also need to start believing more in a creator of some kind. A creator that I sometimes call god. Not the God of the bible, but one that gave us the ability to be happy and to change our lives for the better if we need to. After all, it’s what helped me to grow spiritually and become happy with who I am.

“All by myself. Don’t want to be, all by myself anymore. All by myself. Don’t want to live, all by myself anymore.
Hard to be sure. Sometimes I feel so insecure. And love so distant and obscure. Remains the cure.”

In truth I have been sad at times without my wife by my side as much. But I know that love will be the cure.

The love I have for my wife. The love I have for myself. And a love for life that I never had in my drinking days.

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Don’t Fear Your Happiness

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.

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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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I Think I’m Correct About This

“There can be times in our recovery when we focus more on what we’re doing wrong than on what we’re doing right. While it’s certainly important to find and correct the things that made us unhappy in life and with ourselves. It’s equally important to see the good things we do. Eventually, as this process continues. We find less things that need correcting. More things to be happy about. And more reasons to love ourselves.”

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I’m No Superman

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.

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