I am tired of living this way. I don’t want to live like this anymore. I don’t know how to make a change. I am very confused about a lot of things, but the one thing I do know is that life will certainly be boring if I don’t drink or do drugs. That’s the one thing I know for sure. How would I go to a concert?  Is it possible to watch football, let along tailgate and go to an actual game without a case of beers?  Is it even legal to go fishing without being drunk?  I won’t even consider trying to date without having a cocktail.

Those were the thoughts I had before I decided to get clean and sober. My life had become consumed with getting drunk and high, that I didn’t know how to do anything without being in an altered state of mind. I thought it just made everything better. And I was always taught if you do something, do it to the best of your ability. I thought that by adding “extras” to my routine I was enhancing it. It wasn’t till after I learned to live life again without drugs and alcohol that I realized I could still do everything I did before and enhancing the experience meant being present in life.

Going to a concert for the music rather than going for the drugs and alcohols. Hearing the lyrics and feeling the energy of the crowd. Not having to look at the terribly filmed clips on my phone the next day to see what songs were played became a thing of the past.

Surprisingly you can watch a football game and eat chicken wings without drinking a bucket of beers.  Being able to watch the pregame traditions and getting into the stadium early is exciting, you don’t have to rush to finish all your drinks in the parking lot and hope to get to your seat by kickoff. Being able to feel the nerves of a last second Hail Mary as the ball flies through the air whether it’s caught or dropped.  Not having to search and wait for a taxi and being able to drive your own car home after the game while talking to your friends about the game is priceless.

Sitting on the banks of the river, enjoying the sunrise or sunset. Feeling the day start or end. Hearing the sounds of the birds chirping. Being able to sit there in silence, alone with your thoughts. Trying to figure out life or being able to forget about it for a minute and not having the pressures of addiction forcing those thoughts. The excitement of hopefully catching something other than just a buzz.

Dating is probably the thing I was most scared about. My idea of dating was meeting at a bar or party for a “drink”. It was never a just one drink, at least for me. I would use excuses that I was nervous, or I didn’t really like the person and a drink would be the only thing that would make it bearable. The real fact was that I had no self-confidence and if I didn’t like myself how could someone else be interested in me?  If things didn’t work out, at least I still got drunk. Being sober and dating still turns out to be a challenge. At least now I know my self-worth. If the connection isn’t there, it’s not because I was impaired. It just wasn’t meant to be. Not having to numb the butterflies before a date is exciting. Being able to remember what your date or I said is also a huge plus. Rejection is still the toughest pill to swallow, but a pill I’m willing to take.

All the activities and experiences that I thought I would never be able to do again, I still do. And to be honest, I enjoy them more. I never thought I would say that. Being able to feel the emotions and be present in the experience is the greatest high I have ever experienced. And I have experienced several. The confidence of getting sober and being able to do all the things I love is worth it. And being present and feeling those emotions is the greatest gift of all.