You may have seen this on social media. It about sums up where i am these days:
I’m coming up on one year of no drinking. Remember this post? (Sorry about the sickeningly cheery tone.) Well, 2015 has had its way with me as often as I have had my way with 2015. Turns out I’m not exactly Rhonda Rousey or Holly Holm. And I’m not a fantastically prolific, ultra-encouraging blogger who has turned her sobriety into a lifestyle.
About the only thing I am knocking out of the park these days is the “active lifestyle/leggings” look.
I do love spandex so much. Almost as much as I love my non-drinking life.
A few months ago, after about 10 months of weekly attendance, I gave up AA completely. By its very nature, of course, AA insists on focusing on alcohol. And, for me, that conversation started to become redundant. When I gave up alcohol, I knew I wanted to “stay” sober, but what I really wanted was to “move on” from alcohol and find better tools/truths that can provide me with a strong foundation to weather the storms in this Crazy Ass World. The conversation at AA meetings was too much on the “staying” part of sobriety and not enough on the “moving on” part.
Having said that, AA gave me two invaluable tools for which I am very grateful: traction in my early days of sobriety and a glimpse of how to attain peace of mind.
I think one reason so many of us in post-alcohol lives find ourselves studying yoga, mediation and Buddhism is their emphasis on unflinching clarity and love to achieve that ever-elusive peace. A few weeks after giving up AA, I visited the local Modern Buddhist center and attended a workshop on living a stress, worry and anxiety-free life. After the session I bought one of their displayed books, “Transform You LIfe: A Blissful Journey.”
Since I am seeking to live life with unflinching clarity and truth, let me just say that “Transform Your Life: A Blissful Journey” is anything but blissful. There is a lot of disturbing talk of unfortunate rebirths, hungry ghosts and unending suffering. Selling Buddhism as “blissful” requires a leap into suspended disbelief. As someone who used to love over serving herself, I know exactly how to have a blissful time, and this little tome ain’t it.
But, I am no longer interested in good times as much as I want some fucking truths to live by that won’t leave me anxious, nauseous and strung out.
So, while I have no intention of donning gold robes and shaving my head, I am hungry for helpful perspectives and “Transform Your Life” has them in droves. The concepts of self cherishing, self grasping and attachment, all of which are touched on in AA , are given proper billing by the Buddhists. I attended a second workshop last week. The lessons and guided mediations during the sessions left me feeling fuller and calmer. I’m intrigued. It’s as though I have been wandering the grocery store looking for something good to eat and have stumbled upon an entirely new aisle of healthy, affordable foods. I’m not sure if I will like all of the items, but there are bound to be a few that will work.
Meanwhile the beer/wine aisle remains off limits. Most of the time I think of it as a silly aisle full of silly people. And I am adulting. As we all know, when you’re trying to build a house of brick rather than straw, it requires some serious adult focus.
But there remains a part of me that thinks someday I can walk down that other aisle again and rejoin the silly people. And it would be ok because I am just visiting, rather than taking up permanent residence.
But, for now at least, I don’t want to. I have traded silly for blissful. And happiness.