My experience as a clinician is that many people can find a way to develop a sense of ease in their sobriety. While I fall down in several areas of my life, I feel like I have mastery around staying sober.
In the last two months I have been tested in various areas of my life. In the first part of February my wife let me know she was filing for divorce. None of my friends could put me up so I have been homeless for almost nine weeks. I am fortunate that I have a running vehicle so I have been sleeping in my Jeep. Getting divorced has brought up a whole bunch of low self-esteem thoughts and feelings of failure. I am prone to depression so getting divorced and being homeless certainly stimulated my feelings of depression. Beyond any of this, last week I went to the ER as I had significant pain in my left/lower abdomen that ran all the way up my back. DIAGNOSIS: three kidney stones. I have an operation on 4/13, however, having kidney stones has certainly redefined my pain threshold.
During all of this I didn’t have a desire to drink.. Things need to get REALLY bad for me to even have thoughts of drinking. I suspect this has to do with how I have developed a “program” that works for me. If going to 12-step meetings is your ‘thing’ then by all means continue to go to meetings. I never resonated with the program so it’s not a part of my life. I’d like to posit a few ideas that have been helpful for me:
1) Create a positive future. What I mean by that is that I invite you to focus on the kind of future you’d like to create in your life. While I have been a clinician for a long time, I’m thinking that I might like to return to graduate school and get trained as physician’s assistant or obtain a graduate degree in applied mathamatics. Either of those things sound interesting to me.
2) Do something you love doing on a regular basis. I like walking around one our local parks. I do that a few times a week before I go to work.
I won’t bore you with why exercise is helpful, however, I like walking the lake as it reminds me the world is bigger than my current worldview
3) Make sure you connect with people on a regular basis. I am very active on one of the social networks – these folks are are my support group.
While my life sucks at the moment, I like having people in my corner. I couldn’t have ordered better friends if I tried, and I am grateful for them.
4) Write a list of goals and work towards them every day. If you want to work in a specific field, find people who are doing what you want to do.
I value experiences so I listed a whole bunch of things I wanted to try. I got to work as a roofer for one week, pour concrete for another week, etc.
It’s pretty amazing what this can do for you. My list of goals continues to expand the older I get.
5) Focus on getting past your current situation. Every day before I start my day and before I end my day, I visualize what I want for my future.
I see myself in my own place, with my cat, paying bills, and having a regular gathering of people at my place involved in all kinds of board games.
I hope this is helpful for you. Writing it out has been helpful for me and has reminded me that I’ll be okay. If you have a concrete and specific plan, you increase your chances of success.
Good luck on your path.