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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A Rebounding Happiness

“I actually wrote something else as a commentary on the election, but I decided not to post it. It was written with a bit of anger, and I’m no longer angry, just sad. All I can do is hope for the best for our country and try not to hold any resentments that I’m sure will come. I know the happiness I’ve cherished since I quit drinking over 20 years ago will return, and I can move on. I will rebound from what, for me, is an unwanted circumstance—it’s what I do. There is nothing that can make me feel like I did back in my drinking days, including an election.”

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Happy Being Me

For some people happiness seems to come easy. You may know or have met one of these types; they’re almost always smiling and upbeat, and have a positive outlook on life.  However, there are also those, who through no fault of their own, are quite the opposite. They feel little happiness in life and may even battle depression.

Recent or passed tragedies can play a big role in taking away someones happiness in life.  And chemical imbalances in the brain can cause a state of deep sadness and hopelessness so great that some people need professional help to overcome the depression they feel.

Then there are those, like me for example, who sometimes have to work a little harder than others to be happy.

Although I know it can be natural to experience ups and downs in our emotions— how else would we discern between happy and sad? Some mornings I wake up feeling down, even though I was in a great mood the day before.

My reasons may be different from others for why this is.  I’m currently not as fulfilled in life as I have been in the past because I haven’t reached some of the goals I set, including helping a greater number of people. However, the important thing is that I know what I need to do for my happiness to return.

I remind myself of what I’ve accomplished so far in life, listen to songs that raise my spirits, and read things that inspire me to keep moving forward on the path of spiritual growth I started when I first got sober. Then sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly, my happiness returns.

Fortunately, even though I may not always be the best person I’m capable of being—lord knows I’m not perfect. I have learned to love myself.  When we love ourselves, it means we’re happy with who we are, which makes it easier to be happy in life.

Especially on days when we have to work at it.



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Emotional Balance For Greater Happiness

Have you ever known someone with an all or nothing attitude? No matter what this person does, rest assured, it’s usually an extreme and often impulsive endeavor of some kind that they feel will bring them satisfaction when they’re done.

It can be purchasing and setting up expensive gym equipment because they’ve decided it’s time to “get into shape.” Planting a lavish garden that ends up being bigger than they needed. Almost anything they build. And even putting up Christmas decorations that when finished turns out to be a grand and extravagant display for the holidays.

I can certainly relate to these people because I basically had an all or nothing attitude myself for a good part of my life, especially when I was younger. But it was the feelings I got during my endeavors and rarely the outcome that I found satisfying.  I simply loved the elation I felt while doing certain things, and I often sought out activities that would make me feel that way again. Unfortunately, however, eventually drinking would be the activity I chose  most often.

There were other times too though, when I actually felt contented with feelings of deep sadness. And although worry, anger and even self-pity also seemed to satisfy in a morbid kind of way at times, the extreme feelings of elation and sadness were the ones I experienced most.

It’s easy to see why I loved alcohol so much.

When I was having a good day, I often thought “what can I do to make this day even better?” And if I was having a bad day, my thoughts were often “life sucks and no one understands me.” But it either way it usually led to the same thing.  Going out and getting drunk—in truth it was mostly fears and insecurities behind the extreme emotions I felt, and drinking was the only way I knew of to deal with them.

l still get elated over certain things today, and I also feel sad at times, but I no longer experience the extremes that I used too.  I am now able to find a balance in my emotions that actually helps me feel happier.

I first noticed this emotional balance early in my sobriety, but I actually didn’t know what I was feeling at the time. I was in the car with my wife who was driving—she never liked my driving and still doesn’t today—and started describing how I was feeling  to her. I said I wasn’t sad about anything, but I didn’t feel real up or happy either. She looked over at me and said “you’re just feeling normal,” and at the time I just nodded in acceptance, but I didn’t like the way I felt, and it would take a while for me to become comfortable with this “normal” way of feeling.

Emotional balance is harder to obtain for some people and they may need professional help to treat actual imbalances in their brain chemistry. But whether someone has an all or nothing attitude or not, I know we can face our fears and insecurities without using a substance to help us, and find an emotional balance that leads to greater happiness in our life.

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