By Chris Raymer
Hardly a day goes by that I don’t talk to a friend in recovery or an alumnus that’s gotten to a bad spot. Folks in early sobriety often struggle with feelings of discontent. Sometimes it looks like anxiety, sometimes it presents itself as boredom. However it looks, its uncomfortable.
We all have bad days. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about chronic unhappiness.
I spent a whole bunch of years bouncing around the rooms, never staying sober for long. I sure wanted to and I dang sure needed too! Ultimately, the unhappiness always seemed to outweigh the benefits of sobriety. I’m sure some of you can relate.
Good sponsorship helped me see that I wasn’t going to stay sober if I stayed unhappy. I was fortunate to have a therapist and some good folks in my recovery circle that encouraged me to get out and experience life.
I was so concerned about making mistakes and maybe looking stupid that I just wouldn’t try anything new. But for the first time in years, I was surrounded with friends who encouraged me to seek and accept challenges!
My brother let me set up a little screen print biz at the place we worked. My little sister hired me to work part-time at her cool-as-can-be gift shop in Dallas. (Big challenge for this shy guy. Those that really know me understand!) I took weekend courses.
The result was that a few months sober I was loving life! Not just because I was sober, but because I finally had excitement in my world.
I still went to a bunch of meetings and I stayed focused on finishing those nasty amends. But it all made sense this time. I finally understood why I had gotten sober to begin with!
It’s an ongoing process. I still push myself to stay excited about things in my life.I bought my first bike at five years sober and still ride with my buddies all these years later. (I ride pretty well for an old one-eyed geezer!)
If you need another example, look at my co-worker Jeremy Sosa. In recovery he’s thrown himself into acting with a community theater group. They just competed in a national competition and Jeremy won an acting award. Now there’s a reason to be happy.
Get out there and get excited about something!
Chris Raymer is La Hacienda’s Recovery Community Director.