Yesterday (2nd February) was Candlemas for some of us, and Groundhog Day for others. I received this email from Seth Godin, a marketing guru with a mindfulness/spiritual approach to life:
“Every day is the same if you let it. Of course, spiders, dogs and walruses prefer if the world doesn’t change. But humans are different. Change is fuel for growth and possibility. It’s easy to lull ourselves into a media-fuelled commercial stupor, digging an ever-deeper rut. Same job, same debt, same story, same drama, same … But that’s a choice. Tomorrow can be different in ways we’ve never even bothered to imagine.
[Simple hack: change things in your life to make things better for someone else. Generosity unlocks our passion.]”
What struck me about this, and the reason I’m sharing it, is that I was hesitant about stopping drinking for fear that it might be boring. What would I do? Of course mistake No.1 is right there, in the assumption that I was actually “doing” anything when I was drinking. By the time I got around to stopping I was doing very little of anything and every day had a sameness about it, a predictability. I would wake up feeling like shite, hobble through the morning feeling guilty and full of shame, without motivation to engage in anything much, have a bit of lunch and wait for drinking time to come around. It came around earlier and earlier each day so that at the very end it arrived at 2pm. I then felt great relief that it was time to pour the first drink of the day, and made sure there was ample supply in the fridge to keep me going until bedtime, which arrived earlier and earlier too. Same, same, same, like a never-ending groundhog day.
I made a choice, a brave choice, to give sobriety a chance. I was bored of the sameness, “sick and tired of being sick and tired”. I treated it as an adventure into the unknown, a new way of life, and so it turned out to be. My life changed, as Seth says, “in ways we’ve never even bothered to imagine”.
The other thing that struck me is his comment about generosity unlocking our passion. I might not have put it that way, but I learned sober what people had said for years, that the joy is all in the giving. It’s lovely to receive a gift or a compliment, but the one that touches our hearts is the giving. The biggest joy for me, especially in the first year, was the effect that my commitment to sobriety had on my husband and best friend, John. He stopped worrying about me and we laughed and sang and mucked around again. It was like a weight had lifted from him and also from me. I changed something profoundly in my life and made things a lot better for someone else. By the way, for anyone who doesn’t know that part of the story, he stopped drinking with me and is still sober today. I know that I am very fortunate there, and I am aware of the struggle for many of you who don’t have that support.
Stay close, develop friendships with the people in your sober tribe and set yourself free from that Groundhog Day feeling.
Namaste, Nana Treen xxx