First Monday after the New Year, correct? Today’s the day I’ll start the resolutions I made five days ago: stop smoking, stop biting my fingernails, eat healthy, exercise, get enough sleep, cut down on the regular coffee, and cut way back on my sugar intake.
These are the goals that I keep separate from my alcoholism. Staying sober comes first. And dealing with my personal defects and shortcomings and insecurities and resentments and feelings and thoughts also need to take priority, as they directly tie into my program. So the order runs as follows: 1. don’t drink. 2. work the program to maintain sobriety. 3. switch to decaf.
Step One: we admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what gets the short shrift, especially when I excuse my lower-level bad habits as crutches that I still need to maintain my sobriety. And that might be fine in the beginning, but after a while more growth is required, because the sober me can’t stand the sober me as is.
I don’t need to segregate my growth. If abstinence can only be maintained through a daily pack of cigarettes, ice cream and constantly gnawing my fingers into grotesques, then how well I am I really working the program? This can’t be the price of sobriety, ratcheting up all the external personal shortcomings in my life while attempting to quell the failings within? Sure, it’s a great excuse: Hey, at least I’m sober. But I’m starting to grow tired of living a life where being “at least sober” is considered good enough. And here’s a thought: am I still clinging to these old, bad habits as ties to my drinking past, remembrances of the way I use to live, just keeping everything warm, familiar and in working order in case I decide to backslide again?
Even as I reread this, I’m picking at my pinky and contemplating a second cup of regular.
Here’s what it might be about: Compartmentalization isn’t the answer; my feelings and beliefs and reactions aren’t all gathered into separate plastic bins. I’m holistic by nature, and the mental state established in one environment automatically bleeds into the next. Applying a nicotine patch to my shoulder doesn’t mean I’m no longer 100% committed on my sobriety.
Today: Know that more is possible than just not drinking. Some of it might actually be fun. Or at least a relief.