By Neal Lemery (12/24/2018)
“I know my limit,” one young man kept saying, his bloodshot eyes and pale complexion seemingly at odds with his statement, as he held his energy drink, hands trembling. We were both in line at a store, he and his friends rehashing last night’s alcohol-soaked party. They boasted to each other about last night’s consumption, getting through hangovers, and the drunk friend who “overdid it”.
Addiction doesn’t care.
“It reverberates through the whole family, affecting entire generations for years,” a friend recently told me. “Our kids saw that, and it affected each of them. Some were drawn to drinking like a moth to the flame; others were repulsed, and became angry and bitter about their childhood. The devastation was so widespread, and we are still dealing with it.”
Give the gift of sobriety this season.
This gift is not a gift to someone else. It is a gift to you, from you. Others won’t respond to your preaching and your nagging, except to become even more entrenched in their behavior.
Give sobriety to yourself. Put some distance between you and the behavior, the “stinking thinking”. Enjoy the quiet when that clutter has been moved to a safe distance away from your corner of the world.
Take care of yourself. Nurture yourself. Spend some quality time with the real you. Surround yourself with the things you truly enjoy. Indulge in the simple pleasures that you hold dear and treasure. Know your limits for addictive thinking and action.
Find acceptance in the silence, away from the chaos and noise. Find the genuine you; that person is an old friend. Honor the innate, fundamental goodness that is your very essence. Love yourself, for you are worthy of that love.
Being sober isn’t just about one’s consumption of alcohol and other drugs. It is about clear thinking, about avoiding the pitfalls of untruths, propaganda, and self-aggrandizement. When we adopt falsehoods and fashion our lives around deceptions and lies, we lose our direction in life, our ability to fashion a life based on reality and honesty. Being honest with ourselves is perhaps our most challenging task, but, in the end, coming to grips with what is really true truly serves our selves and our souls.
At its heart, sobriety is clear thinking and the pursuit of being honest with yourself. Recognize the agendas and intentions of others to trick you, manipulate you and tempt you to serve the ulterior and selfish motives of others. Addiction enjoys the company, but it really doesn’t care about you.
Be true to yourself. Search for the truth, as brutal and loud as it may be. Ignoring truth chips away at our souls, and keeps us from finding and loving our true selves. Seeing one’s own truth is the path to freedom.
Neal Lemery – Community member, author, blogger – his books: Finding My Muse on Main Street, Homegrown Tomatoes, and Mentoring Boys to Men more at neallemery.com