You just worked an 8 hour shift and your boss tells you that you either work a double or you’re fired.
Your spouse leaves you for someone else.
You didn’t get that check you’ve been waiting for in the mail and it’s gonna set you back on the bills.
You found out someone was talking shit about you.
The kids are screamin and yellin and all you want is five minutes to yourself.
You’re zipping through the am traffic like a mad person because you’re going to be late for work if you don’t.
You have a deadline and are afraid you aren’t going to meet it.
You’ve just found out that one of your friends or family members are very ill.
Man, my list of stressful situations can go on and on and on and……Well, you get it. Every day life is just that…..every day life. Things are going to happen, shit is gonna hit the fan, people are going to disappoint you. When you are getting sober, it’s a huge misconception that life is always gonna be peaches and cream from that point on. Ummmmmm, NO! The sky’s are NOT gonna part and you aren’t suddenly going to hear angles singing. Life and all the unexpected stuff that comes with it is STILL going to happen. Sobriety is NOT the secret of life, it doesn’t suddenly mean all is right with the world and life is not gonna suddenly become perfect. Now some of you may be thinking, “So what’s the point then?” Good question, glad you asked. Allow me to EsssPlain. With true sobriety comes the tools and coping skills to live life on life’s terms, NOT your own. You will instinctively know how to handle situations that used to baffle you before.
You’re still gonna get stressed out, but you will learn that you do not have to seek all answers out of the bottom of a bottle. In fact, you will finally realize that by drinking it will only make matters worse because then you must deal with all the consequences that follow. You will solve nothing, you will accomplish nothing, you will gain nothing if you take that first drink. Is it gonna put that money in your pocket? Is it gonna pay that over due bill? Is it gonna bring health to your family member or bring your spouse back? Is it gonna make the kids stop screaming? I think you get the point. Dealing with stress in recovery only seems harder because we’d never truly dealt with it before. That bottle was the tell all know all answers to all our prayers….or so we thought. It would allow us to escape reality so we wouldn’t have face or cope. In recovery, we have to join the millions and millions of people who have dealt with life perfectly sober and turned out just fine. Why rant and rave? Why drink yourself into a drunken stooper? Why make an bad situation worse? Because you WANTED to that’s why. You can use excuse after excuse, and as convincing as those excuses may sound, that’s all they are…..EXCUSES. I’ve seen with people deal with painful, stressful situations as serious as the death of a loved one, and deal with it completely sober. I’ve done it myself.
My sponsor once told me, “You can’t control the wind, but you CAN change your sails. You can either sit in misery and blame the world for your problems, or you can look at things from a different perspective, roll your sleeves up and get busy working on the situation to the best of your ability.
You have a choice. At least in sobriety you do. But once that bottle touches your lips, once you shoot down that shot, your choices become non existent. The mental obsession will return in full force and you will be lost. Alcoholics are not equip with coping skills. Our first instinct in a stressful situation whether it be a small situation or a big one, is to grab the bottle and escape reality. When we sober up hours or days later, the problems are STILL going to be there and you’ll have quite a few more to add onto them because of your “indulging behavior” Don’t blame the world for your problems, problems come with life. Accept the situation, deal with the situation, put the situation behind you and move on……Simple right??? Hell no, but definitely possible and definitely a better way to handle things. With the right tools, the right coping skills, the right attitude and support, you can deal with ANY situation without having to drink over it. The very first step is ACCEPTANCE!! Accept the situation for what it is and NOT for what YOU want it to be or what YOU think it should be. Alcoholics do not want to accept anything unless it proves them right in one way or another. We see things though rose colored glasses and see only what we want to see. We are always the victim and we are never wrong. Maaaaaaaaan listen…..in another dimension that may be perfectly fine, but not in this one. The world does not revolve around us. Acceptance is surely the key to open the door to a world full of possibilities. You just have to be willing to see things for what they are. Then and ONLY then will you be able to move forward and deal with it. The truth of the matter is, if you want to drink bad enough, you WILL, and the only reason you need an excuse to do it, is so that you can justify your actions…..even if it’s in your own mind.
Stress is still going to happen, drunk or sober, it’s part of living. Being in recovery means put your grown up draws on and join the rest of the world. Deal with it and move on. We are our own worst enemies. It’s not the world and all the bad stuff that’s destroying us, it’s “US” destroying ourselves. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
August 24, 2014
AJ Menendez, Master Male Illusionist