I don’t have any earth shattering St. Paddy’s Day stories, which is a shocker for me, but a day like today reminds me of this one:
Today is a beautiful, sunny responsibility free Sunday, and it’s a drinking holiday. In the past this would have been a perfect excuse to round up my neighbors and hit the local pub. Ditching the kids at home for hours, cause you know, I work so hard and I deserve it.
So, after I was sober for a bit, my wife told me something that greatly disturbed her about one of these days in the last year of my drinking. We had done the above (she had joined us) on some lazy weekend day. What disturbed her was not the event, that we drank, or that I was drunk. It was that afterward I was speaking so lovingly, about how grateful I was for her to let me have that day, and join me, on that day of drinking. Like it was the best thing she had done for me in years. It totally creeped her out.
You know, if she had told me that story when I was active, I would have said she was fucking crazy. But hearing it after what I know sober, it makes perfect sense – and it creeps me out too. It was the Beast talking, and to him it probably was one of the best days of his life. Grateful he’s not doing the talking today.
During my sobriety I have been working on “Living in the Moment.” It seems that everywhere I turn this concept is offered as the gateway to happiness; recovery readings, meetings, therapy, Buddhist teachings, self-help books, they all advise living in the moment.
It took me awhile to figure it out, but I will say that is does help – a lot. When I am appreciating, and thinking about what is right around me at a certain moment, the voices in my head are quiet, things are peaceful, and life is manageable. It works, it really does.
A few nights ago I woke up in the middle of the night with a somewhat scary thought. I realized that drinking used to put me “In the Moment”. When I was drinking, all there was was the drink, maybe some friends and some inane conversation, not much else. Troubles were gone, new ones I was creating were not apparent yet, and it was all about the here and now. It worked – temporarily. This thought confused me, if I need to be in the moment, and drinking used to put me there, what am I not understanding?
For the next few days the dime-store philosophers in my head went to work on this issue. Eventually, I came out the other side realizing that it’s that first word that really matters: “Drinking in the Moment” does not equal “Living in the Moment”. The key is to replace a temporary journey to the moment, previously achieved by chemical alteration, with a real genuine presence in the moment. When I can find the moment and actually “live” in it, things are ok, and I lose the desire to try and make that journey artificially.