It has been two weeks since I ended my travels and those weeks have been filled with a sense of loss. I have finished what I set out to do and am now left with the question “Now what am I supposed to do?”
A friend recently said to me “now you’ve done everything you set out to do you might go backwards.” I can see how. The feeling I have now reminds me of the first few weeks of sobriety. Having vowed not to drink I would sit anxiously watching the TV whilst bemoaning that I was bored shitless. “No wonder I used to drink!” I would exclaim “Life is so fucking boring.” And do you know what? It is with that attitude. It’s easy to stare into the blackness of the night sky and miss the beauty of the stars if darkness is all you want to see but who does that benefit? Only the person who wishes to deny the light.
That’s the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.Charles Buckowski
That attitude of bemoaning life was really just me not wanting to do anything. It is easier to moan than it is to take action. That’s what was so good about alcohol. It removed the need for action. It is an amazing time killer. Without it, I was left with not only time but also my unfulfilled potential staring at me tapping its watch. I didn’t want to have to make decisions. It was all because I was scared of failure. That’s what I have learned I didn’t try because I was scared of not succeeding. How could I now if I would succeed without trying? I had to take the leap into the unknown and I found that the fear was a mirage. On the other side of fear were lessons and success.
“Choice is the basis of every part of your existence, but so is fear. The difference is, choice creates movement, where fear limits movement.”Réné Gaudette
But at first, much like now, I saw an abyss of time to be filled. It was scary not knowing what to do. Thankfully I realised that I felt lost because I was looking at things the wrong way. Firstly, I was looking at what I didn’t have. I was looking at things with a sense of loss. I was not looking at the things I had. I was looking at the abundance of time as a negative. As something, I had to use up. When I should have been looking at the potentiality of that time. It took a few months until I realised that I needed something to do with my time otherwise I would have sat in the pub and drank again because when there was nothing to do that is what I had done for most of my life. I had to break that chain and change was the only way to do so. So I had to bite the bullet and make a list of thing I wanted to do. Who did I want to be? What did I want to learn? I jotted then down and made them my focal point. Sobriety was my gateway to achieving my dreams but it wasn’t a given. I had to maintain focus and not be deterred by temptation. It wasn’t easy but in the end, it was worth it.
Quitting drinking was also like losing a good friend. A friend who had been there for me when others went missing. Which is why it was so hard to quit. It would have been easy to wallow in the loss and focus on the good times that I had with alcohol. Eventually, slipping back down the rabbit hole and into despair. The only option was to stand up and take a chance. To have a go at setting an outline for my life after years of getting what was given. There is a saying in AA that says sobriety is “Life on life’s terms.” But if I don’t put one foot in front of the other I don’t get anywhere. Life will not push me forward. Time will pass and the seasons will change but without direction, I will not progress. All I had to do was stop bemoaning my feeling of being lost and give my life some direction. I just pointed and said “that way.”
“Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed.”Terence McKenna
All the years drinking was like being a rudderless ship being dragged along by the tides. All the while I was waiting to smash against the rocks. When it eventually happened I had a choice; rebuild and carry on as before or rebuild and add a rudder. Life’s so much easier when I know where I am heading.
So now the dreams have been fulfilled it is time to create some new ones.
What a gift being sober and free is.