Thanks for stopping by. Wednesday I’ll be getting back to the micro stories, but today I felt like I should post something a little more serious. Just for today then it’s back to the usual.
I had a bit of an odd weekend, but before I get to that I think I should fill you in on who I am and where my life is at. For those of you who are new to my site and for those who may enjoy my posts but not know what’s up with me.
So the long and short of it (and we’ll get to the long) is that I am sober. On the 22nd of May I will have exactly 3 and a half years of sobriety under my belt. While I’m extremely happy with that and really can’t believe on a daily basis how much better my life is now than it was, I am also very conscious of the fact that when it comes to being sober I am still in the very early stages and don’t know shit.
I try to keep this in mind daily while not letting it overwhelm my life and thoughts.
When I first got sober I was incredibly embarrassed about it. Hell, when I got out of rehab I told my neighbors I’d been away at a writer’s retreat for 30 days. Over the course of my journey I’ve become very comfortable with it. Who I am, what I was and of course what and who I’ve become.
I really try not to be that guy. You know the guy that just talks about his sobriety all the time…I hate that guy. I’m sure I bore the ever loving fuck out of people sometimes, but I really try to not let it define me as much as I let it define my life.
And it should define my life, and of course it does.
Sobriety is a tricky mistress. No two people can do their sobriety the same way. I know people who never go to meetings and they’re doing great. I also know people who hit 3 AA meetings a day 7 days a week and they too are doing great.
The main point here is what works for one person definitely will not (or more accurately will probably not) work for someone else. For example, the thought of hitting 3 meetings a day every day really makes me want to drink. I don’t know why but that’s just how it goes.
I’ve come up with a routine that brings me much peace, keeps me humble and more importantly helps me live a happy life as a sober person while not simply being sober.
The gist of that is that there is a difference between living a sober life and just being dry or “white knuckling” it through the day.
I have joined a great gym called Systems Training Center that really fosters a sense of community. I do combat conditioning twice a week and Brazilian Jiu Jitus twice a week at STC. The professors, instructors and fellow students have become friends and for a guy my age that’s a really nice bonus.
I meditate almost every day, do a little yoga once a week or so and do a very mild workout at home on the weekends usually just hitting the heavy bag for about 20 minutes.
I don’t go to meetings often but I know they’re there if I need them.
BJJ has been a really important, new aspect to my sobriety. Staying humble is one of the best things for a degenerate alcoholic. And nothing keeps you humble like getting the ever loving snot choked out of you on a regular basis.
Having said all that I also need to be careful that I don’t replace one addiction with another. My body has been telling me for about a month to take a little time off but I haven’t been listening. Which is stupid.
So this week I’ll be skipping the gym to let my body heal up, while still concentrating on my spiritual development.
This isn’t all for my sobriety though if I’m being completely honest, though it just happens to work out with the timing.
I’m in the last stretch of finishing my novella The Eastern Road, which I plan on releasing in August and it is hard to lose yourself in writing when you know you have to be somewhere…like the gym.
So this week is a double bonus. I’ll be finishing the novella and let my body rest so that next week I can go back in full bore.
Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. You’re thinking “Wow Jonathan I do not give a fuck about any of this boring ass, self aggrandizing horse shit!”
Fair enough, I get that but now we get to the point of the post.
So, this past weekend (Saturday to be specific) my friends Ben and Keith came into town. They’re two of the nicest guys anyone could ever meet and I’m grateful they came into my life. Plus we’re all just massive nerds so hanging out with them is always a total hoot.
We met up for dinner and it was just a great fun evening.
I got home and there was an email waiting for me from an old friend and drinking buddy who wanted to let me know that he was giving up the booze and wanted to live sober. He even stated that I was partially responsible for this change in attitude.
I was humbled by this and reached out to him, just to let him know that I was here for whatever he needed. We’re exchanging emails and hopefully I will be able to help him.
But, after I read this email I went to Facebook and there was a post about a friend of mine who’d been found dead in his apartment on April 28th. I met this guy in rehab and we became good friends.
He’d struggled with his sobriety and I’d received maybe 5 or 6 drunken phone calls from him over the past 3 and a half years when he would relapse. Some of the relapses were singular events but some lasted a month or more.
But, he would always get back up and recently seemed to be doing well.
The odd thing about this is, we had been playing phone tag over the past month or so.
I actually called him a few times in early April and he never returned the phone call. Then, a few weeks ago he called me back but I selfishly didn’t pick up. I was working on my book and part of me was annoyed that he took so long to call me back.
I didn’t return his phone call until early last week. Not knowing that he’d already been dead for two days when I finally returned the call.
This hit me pretty hard last night. Not the death itself which is heart breaking. He was a young man and a father.
No, what hit me was the guilt. Did I let my friend down? Did my selfishness contribute to his death? Questions with no answers but a lot of blame.
I know enough to know that in all likelihood no, my not taking his call and not calling him back for a long time had nothing to do with his death.
But then again, maybe it did. I wasn’t his sponsor but I was the one he seemed to call when he was in trouble.
These thoughts in and of themselves may seem selfish to you. The fact that I’m making this about me and not about my dead friend. Well, if I’m being honest with you dear reader, drug addicts and alcoholics are a selfish, narcissistic lot. That’s one of the defects that tends to contribute to alcoholism.
But to be way more specific, I am fully aware that his death is far more important than my guilt. But my guilt is what’s important to me, as selfish as that may sound.
I believe 100 percent that a person’s sobriety is their responsibility, but no one can do it completely alone. A good support group be it AA or family, friends, gym mates is incredibly important.
But routine, humility and honesty with yourself are just as important.
I keep to my routine but don’t let it rule my life. I have a great support group but don’t rely on them to keep me sober. I stay humble as much as possible and at times can be a bit too honest with myself.
My sobriety is my responsibility. Should I fall it will not be anyone’s fault but mine.
However, I will always wonder how different things would be at this very moment had I picked up that phone.
Did I help bring someone who thought of me as a friend to his death? I just don’t know. I’ll never know.
But I’ll live with it. Try to make peace with it and move forward trying to be better, and more understanding of my friends who suffer.
If you think you have a problem there is help out there. If you’re sober, remember to work your routine without letting it rule your life.
Stay honest, stay humble and live.
No self promoting links today, no plugs, just a weird post by someone trying to be a better man than he was who may or may not have failed a friend in need.