Maybe Our Dreams Do Come True?

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.

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I’d Love A Moment With You

“When I think about the world today. Like most parents and grandparents, I have concerns about my kid’s and grandchildren’s future—some days it manifests as fear. But I also enjoy my time with them, which doesn’t include worry. We can love and still be fearful. But I am truly not in fear when spending time with my kids and grandkids. I’m in a place of love then. Simply living in the moment.”

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The Here and Now

We need to work on overcoming our fears and insecurities. It helps us to become stronger and find greater happiness. Life can be scary at times for different reasons, including our past.  And perhaps more frightening when we think about our future. However, all we really have is the present. Living in the here and now is where we find our strength to learn from our past, not worry about our future, and work on any fears and insecurities we may have. It’s also where we find greater happiness.

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Living In The Moment

The phrase “my life flashed right before my eyes” came to mind as I was getting ready to write this post. As I was going to sit down and begin writing it, I just happened to walk by my wife’s open laptop and saw her screen saver running. She has it set to slowly display pictures of all our friends and family that we’ve shared time with over the years.

As I stood there watching each picture go by, I began to cry when I saw the many pictures of our children and grandson momentarily appear and then give way to the next. It made me realize more than ever how quickly time goes by and reinforced my feelings of how important it is to live in the moment, especially when we’re with those we love. If you think about it,  this is how we actually live one day at a time.

I first heard the phrase “living one day at time” in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Although this was hard to do at different times in my sobriety, looking back now, I was doing it more than I realized. While some days did involve thoughts of past regrets and worries about the future, talking with people at meetings and practicing The Twelve Steps often helped me redirect my thinking to the present and try to be as happy as I could at that moment.

Even today there are occasions when I feel some regret about my past or worry about something that hasn’t even happened yet. But if there is one thing I’ve learned about living one day at a time, it’s to not let the little things bother me in life or remain fearful when adversity comes my way.

Although unwanted events and circumstances have been a part of my sobriety, I have always gotten stronger from them. This often involved using the tools of prayer, people, hope, and self-talk to help me get through them, and those tools have never failed me.

I experience fear much less than I used to. I simply remind myself how quickly time goes by and that Life Is Short.  I also try to remind myself of a quote I read several years ago. — “There are two kinds of worrythose you can do something about and those you can’t. Don’t spend any time on the latter.”

As far as past regrets go; I have made my amends to people I hurt, and today I rarely do things that I need to make amends for. I’ve made great strides in becoming a better person than I was before, which I also did one day at a time, and this in itself makes it easier to live in the moment and feel grateful for everything in my life; especially those that I love so much.

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