Friday, November 25, 2011
Pleasure is spread through the earth
In stray gifts to be claimed by whoever shall find.
~William Wordsworth, 1806
First off I have to say that yesterday was the least stressful, most joyous Thanksgiving I’ve ever had. That is one more milestone achieved for me, my first major holiday without alcohol was a total success and I will not worry near as much about the next one. The unknown is now known and found to be of superior quality.
Now it’s time to shop. Am I crazy? I don’t think so. I have no intention of stepping foot in one of those insane asylums we call malls or discount stores. I’m going to shop right here in front of my roaring crackling fire, with my sweats and fuzzy house shoes on, Christmas music floating through the headphones and a cup of tea at my elbow. Yeah, I know I’m going to miss all those Black Friday deals that would save me hundreds of dollars but that’s okay because what I’m shopping for shouldn’t cost much, it probably won’t cost anything at all. Obviously, I’m not shopping for the kids or grandkids, they still have the ignorant belief that things of value must have a price tag on them, poor things. No, I’m not shopping to find something for a special someone, but I am shopping for that “just right” gift for a special soul. My sober soul.
I read all the time on the message boards about members that are bored. What are they supposed to do with all of this extra time on their hands, where’s the fun in being sober? Just like my grandkids who think fun comes with a joy stick and then wonder about aimlessly whining, “There’s nothing to do” when the game is broken or, more often, when they are grounded from it, so are we drunks when our bottle of fun has been taken away from us. We’d rather whine and sulk then go look for something else to do. Yet when our kids or grandkids come to us with their complaints what do we tell them? Well, I know what I tell mine. I roll my eyes and say,” What do you mean there’s nothing to do? Go read a book. Write a story. Paint a picture. Go outside and build a treehouse or a fort. Go explore, look for arrowheads or cool rocks.” Are you getting the idea?
A sober soul doesn’t like to get bored. It whines and it sulks and it looks with longing at the liquor cabinet or the keys to the car that will take it to its favorite bar. It’s up to us to find other things to keep it occupied. Look at the list above. Do any of them appeal to a newly sober soul? Of course not, because just like our kids, all that our sober soul wants, is what it can’t have.
Too damn bad!
How many times have you told your kids, “Fine, go ahead and sulk but go outside or to your room to do it” and when you look in on them an hour later you find them totally involved in building that fort or entranced by a book they’re reading? We have to do the same thing to our sober soul, send it outside or to its room and let it sulk until it finally decides out of desperation to pick up that paintbrush or hammer or hiking boots. Does this mean our kids will now turn up their noses at the Wii or Playstation once it’s available to them again? Unfortunately no, and we parents are often too weak or too weary to continue the battle and we surrender even though we know that the other endeavors were so much better for them. It’s the same for us drunks, if all of a sudden someone said we could drink again, would we turn our noses up at it because we’ve found something that is better for us, something that gives us longer lasting, authentic joy? I think it depends on whether we’re still stubbornly sitting on that front step or on the edge of our beds with our chins in our hands sulking about what we can’t have or whether we’ve made ourselves go out and find something better and put our whole hearts and sober souls into it. Because “it” is out there waiting for us, and "it" will fill us up with joy in ways that perpetually diminishing bottle of fun never will.
I still sulk occasionally, probably for a few minutes every day, but it’s not out of boredom. I’ve said plenty of times that there are not enough hours in the day for my sober soul to do everything it wants to do, what with my walking, writing, knitting, cooking, reading and message board chatting but keeping my sober soul busy is not enough, it wants to be enchanted and challenged, entranced and thrilled. It still just wants to have fun. It’s always asking for new things, telling me I wasted too much time. So today I’m shopping for something new for it to do, it deserves a reward for behaving so well yesterday. I’m thinking about getting it some yoga. Sure, it will bitch and moan about it and probably try to return it but I’m going to do my best to encourage it to stick with it. My sober soul needs to learn to stretch and become more limber but it also needs to learn to relax and just breathe, too. It wouldn’t hurt my sober body either.
So today I’m just out there doing my best to find something that will surprise and delight my sober soul and googling “yoga for the middle-aged and woefully out of shape soul.”