21 January 2018

Life's BIGGEST Distractions weren't living at all....

... Not then. Not in my addictions. Life's biggest distractions, my drinking, my smoking, weren't living. I lived somewhere between me and the next drink or drug. It was a No-Man's-Land, a nowhere space. How I got there, how I got stuck there hardly matters. Samuel Johnson describes it masterfully: "The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken." And for me, the chains of habit were not being broken. I was being broken.
But now. But now, in my recovery, life's little distractions are like child's play. No drink or cigarette are in the picture. I can get on with the business of living. "Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."  
You see, by the time I had a reason to quit drinking, reason no longer had anything to do with it. Ditto, tobacco and a host of other substances. Somehow, quitting smoking more clearly showed me the veiled, yet glorious benefits of ending my relationship with both. How it dawned on me and then found expression for it reinforces my recovery.
Here, hear how it came to me then, quiet and pure, almost an echo:
"I turn over my fears as I’m walking down the street one cloudy day. The autumn leaves turn over themselves on the sidewalk before me. And then I hear something. Far away I hear a literal bird singing. And then it hits me. This is what turning over my fears and my addictions has finally given me. My hearing. My unfocused hearing. After three years sober I turned over another addiction, my addiction to cigarettes, and here’s what I noticed: Not that I would live longer, but that I could live more fully in the present. Yes, I could taste better and smell better without the tobacco and liquor in my mouth and on my breath. But the real reward is not delayed for some unforeseen future, but lived in the present, because I was not focused on the next drink of my addiction and the next smoke of my addiction.
I could live more fully in the now.
I turn over my fears as I’m walking down the street. The autumn leaves turn over themselves on the sidewalk before me. I live more fully in the now."
Tobacco? Sayonara! Ditto Alcohol. Ditto Any & All Chemical Addictions & Behavioral Obsessions. I smoked 2-1/2 packs a day - more during ever-increasing binge-drinking episodes. Over 50,000 drinks consumed over the course of my drinking career.
Fight over the definition of addiction all day and night. I don't care. Nature / Nurture? Disease or no? This and / or not that? Whatever. The greater part of me is indifferent to a definition for addiction. That seems as difficult as nailing jelly to a tree. But addiction's absence? Ahh... Here is how I define addiction's absence: Freedom.
Freedom from. Freedom to. 
Life's biggest distractions were not for living at all. They occupied all my conscious (and unconscious) time. Addictions were killing me. Alcohol and tobacco were killing me, stealing me, separating me from life, from feeling. Fill in the blank. Addiction is a blank. A blank that steals....
Addiction Up in Smoke (Hearing Restored).... Hear, here.

(photo by Mark Hancox on Pinterest)
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
Passage in quotes from ALL DRINKING ASIDE: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO
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