I am sitting on a beach in the Bahamas right now. I am off work this week, on a last-minute trip that honestly all came together in an amazing way. We had a day’s notice to find pet care over the busiest boarding time of year, to find flights when they are all almost fully booked, and to find a resort with openings…and somehow…someway…we are sitting here in the Bahamas!
There have been a few bumps along the way – and it can be easy to let those bumps ruin the time if I allow them to. I can sit here and complain about the cold eggs or how they have yet to get hubby’s breakfast order right, how they keep trying to give me booze even though I’ve repeatedly said I’m alcohol-free, or how work things keep interrupting my vacation.
I can focus on those things and waste all of my time off OR I can focus on how I didn’t even know I’d be here this time last week, how I’m fortunate to have the ability to literally say “let’s go to the Bahamas tomorrow” and go, how I now have down time to spend with Hubby reconnecting before he starts a new job, and how I am surrounded by booze and dont even want it.
To be honest, if I count the things I can complain about versus the things I can be grateful for – that grateful list will always outshine the complaint list. And yet- that short little complaint list can completely hijack a state of mind if we allow it to. Isn’t that funny?
The thing is, we can find good or bad in every situation. It’s our choice which we decide to focus on. And whatever we spend energy focusing on – will without a doubt – grow and spread.
Today, I choose grateful and happy.
I often drank to calm down after a stressful day. I thought that escaping from my busy and overworked life -just for a few hours- was the best way to handle things. Back then, I would have said “Why spend my leisure time semi-stressed when I can just eliminate it and really enjoy the time”? The thing is, I wasn’t really enjoying those times. I was just numbing out. I was basically choosing to skip that leisure time rather than BE in it. I might as well have just fast forwarded through it. I wasn’t really there, and no one around me was benefiting from me being there in that state either. And when the altered state ended, the stress was still there to deal with anyways.
Being sober and looking back, I realize that numbing out with substances actually robbed me of my leisure time. It seemed like it was a good time, but now I know that “good time” was fake… a sham… just a chemical reaction. Rather than actually having fun, I just tricked my brain into thinking it was having fun. Rather than actually winding down, I basically pretended to. Rather than enjoying quality time with someone, I was letting a chemical hijack my mind and tell me lies.
A funny thing about being sober: I’m learning all these life lessons…all these amazing skills. I’m learning things that would honestly benefit EVERYONE, but it’s kinda funny how the broken are usually the only ones that have the chance to learn these lessons. Meanwhile, there are people who don’t even have substance abuse problems that don’t know how to be present, how to reduce stress in their lives, how to face uncomfortable feelings head-on and move through them, how to have fun without being in an altered state of mind. And of course, most of us with substance use issues probably wouldn’t have even turned to substances had we learned those lessons earlier in our lives. Makes you wonder why we aren’t teaching these life lessons right from the start.