Aging Sober & Dying Clean & Sober may not seem like the most optimistic of topics to choose to write about, but I am sure of this one thing: Confronting my own mortality sober will help to increase the quality of my Living Clean & Sober.
When I was in my early twenties, way before my catastrophic downward slide, I already knew I was an alcoholic. At that time, I considered alcohol and other drugs as sources for inspiration. The Tragic Hero had to have a flaw, an Achilles heel, didn't he? Mine would be Alcohol with a Capital A, a source of inspiration and it would surely cause my Heroic Demise.
In my most dramatic fabrication at that time, I couldn't imagine living beyond 40 years of age. Surely, I would die before then. Likely every Addict at some point or another has surrendered to their Addiction. Addiction becomes accepted as a fact of life. That admission and acceptance, at least in my case, were actually forms of denial. NOT Denial of my Alcoholism and Substance Use & Abuse, rather Denial of the Possibility of Living beyond Addiction's Spell in that Unknown Land called Living Sober. I had to learn how to adapt to a new and vibrant life I knew nothing about. I would discover living in this new way and celebrate it. Somehow, I resolved to peer beyond the horizon toward future possibilities.
Imagined pain was inspirational, theoretically, way back when, until the real pains of living with and longing for my substances escalated my brain's tolerance for increasing dosages. And so, the cookies crumbled. The actual decade of my 40's surpassed the best delusional imaginings of my twenties. Addiction seemed to be the cause and cure like venom and anti-venom. I only thought that I could endure under addiction's tightening grip. Numbed, losing more, wanting more. It would seem to comfort as it killed.
The hospitals, detoxes, rehabs, intravenous drips, the jobs lost, the relationships destroyed, the repeated periods of homelessness. My 4th decade of living was, unknowingly, death on the installment plan. If I had died prior to or while being hospitalized, surely my death could have been called suicide by some. "You're drinking yourself to death" (or some other such proclamation) was to be ignored. "They don't understand" was my unspoken thought as I lay trapped in that other world. Total torment, a life impoverished by addiction slowly took everything else away until there was nothing left of me, barely a beep on a monitor. My life seemed to be coming to a close like a cigarette being slowly extinguished.
Numbed by addiction.
Slowly recovery somehow filled my lungs and in recovery, life itself would take my breath away, in the positive sense, each sober breath strengthening my resolve.
In Recovery, I would survive Pneumonia, Cancer and a full menu of other physical and psychological hurdles. "Past is prologue," as Shakespeare so well expressed. No matter your interpretation, one thing is certain: There will be a final curtain. All of us, mere mortals. Addiction broke me and truly, my recovery has been about becoming unbroken. No half measures. I am committed to my recovery, to those before me and to those yet to come. Today is all there is and in recovery today is enough.
As Charles Darwin has said and as I would slowly learn, "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change."
Adapt or die.
So, I did, do and will adapt to Recovery as I once adapted to Addiction.
Aging Sober & Dying Sober are the inevitable results of Living Sober. Aging is unstoppable. Dying is another sober day lived fully.
Addiction is Suicide on the Installment Plan.
Adapt or die.
Recovery is Possible, Doable, Irreplaceable.
Life is good.
Get used to it.
#Enjoy my first book, the Autobiographical Fiction titled ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal. Find it on Amazon. Book it here: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO