By Martin Santos
Life is about growth, letting go, change, and transition.
“This too shall pass;” a spiritual axiom written centuries ago is still relevant today.
Relationships are always growing and transitioning. Many need to be cultivated or nurtured, and some need to be let go. Our relationship with ourself is the most important. We cannot give away what we do not possess.
When I was guided into the decision to stop drinking eight years past, I had to make a personal choice that would alter the course of my life. If I wanted change, I needed to change what I was doing.
My experience was comprised of loss, pain, and desperation. I felt I was living a double life. My behavior to others didn’t match how I was feeling on the inside.
My life was consisted of saying the right things and talking myself out of problems that I behaved myself into. I used alcohol as a method to mask not only my personality, but drown and numb my feelings.
Many years ago when admitted to a treatment center, I was completely unaware that I was alcoholic. Talk about denial.
The administrator asked me a simple yet powerful question; “What is the longest stretch that you have been without alcohol?” I sat silenced and stunned. For that brief moment, I entered a time passage.
My mind could not comprehend that question because my alcohol use was an everyday occurrence for the past 15 years. Embarrassed, I replied, “I do not know.”
That was as honest as I had been in a long time. I was disillusioned and helpless. I was anonymous that I had been living with the disease of alcoholism.
She recommended I enroll in a five week outpatient program on alcohol abuse.
My initial impulse was that I really didn’t have a problem (denial). I had seen my friends and others get drunk driving tickets and live unmanageable lives, but that never applied to me.
Immediately after the meeting, a new thought replaced the denial and transitioned into one of fear and apprehension. I instantly reached crisis, the point where I became desperate enough to admit to myself that I had a problem and needed to seek help.
Education and support from someone or somebody outside of my own thinking was needed. My way obviously was not working.
This shift in consciousness required a new focus in character and ability change adequately. It was a leap into faith unknown, a transition into a new dimension of living.
I briefly mention this real example because it highlights that transitions are always happening. I had to learn to adapt with those changes by paying more attention to my thought world.
Ideas manifest; so I need to become aware that many of the things in my life are a reflection of what was planted in my mind without my conscious awareness long ago.
The greatest gift of sober living is the freedom to choose clearly. To be awake and present. My emotions no longer rule my choices.
This transition is an accumulated process of living in the moment. When my thoughts drift to the past or future, I decide to stay in the present.
All my suffering is the result of my my memory or imagination.
A firm dedication and commitment to not do my drug of choice, alcohol, is practiced daily. Just this day, today. One day at time stacks into days, months and years.
My obsession of the mind has been lifted. I am recovered from the physical and mental cravings of alcohol.
TIME, even though illusionary, now means, This I Must Earn daily.
It’s been said that success is 80% psychology and 20% strategy. I now employ this philosophy into a phenomena that we all experience which is fear.
The fear of drinking is greater for me than the decision to pick up a drink. My mindset has made the transition. It is very important to remember that with any transition, you bring you with you.
It is impossible to take a vacation from your problems. Until they are experienced, analyzed, and felt, no lasting change is made. When I feel best about myself is when I am open to the certain, uncertain, and growing connectedness of life. Any transition is possible when experiencing these states of mind.
Never be afraid of change. Accept yourself and trust the process of change, which is life. Be mindful of your moments, your thought world, and the dire consequences of the first drink.