For some of us, not knowing what the future holds sends a shiver down our spine. We try our absolute hardest to plan everything in detail and can be thrown off balance when our plans go AWOL.
In sobriety, this can become especially difficult. There are so many new things happening in our bodies, minds, and lives, that it seems peace, calm, and control are a million miles away.
The chaos that sobriety can bring probably has something to do with why AA chose their mantra (The Serenity Prayer): “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
We don’t have to entertain the idea of God to see the point here. Whatever your beliefs, it will drive you mad if you try to control things that you actually have no control over.
So, this January, I invite you to instead focus on what you can change
You don’t need to have every tiny detail planned.
If you have a break from booze, things will go wrong; sobriety is not a magical shield that prevents bad or unexpected things from happening. In its early stages, it will likely add to the madness.
But this doesn’t have to be nauseating; it can be exciting. Sobriety opens an abundance of invisible doors that you aren’t even aware of yet.
When people come to me and tell me that they couldn’t go sober forever, I tell them that’s totally fine. We don’t (and can’t and shouldn’t) know everything that is going to happen for the rest of eternity. That would be terrifying!
Making small, short-term commitments feels a lot less scary. It allows us to focus on what we can control, and it encourages us to be in the moment.
Of course, milestones are exciting, but you might not be looking for full-fledged sobriety, and that’s okay! We’ve got your back – no matter what.
Your year ahead is totally unwritten. Who knows, this time next year you could be at day 1 again, and that would be fine! Or maybe you’ll be celebrating 1, 2, 5, or 10 years of sobriety!
We are these outward-reaching, forward-thinking creatures. The page ahead of us is entirely blank, and we are left to fill it in. It is what we choose to do and how we choose to think in each moment that makes us who we are.
You may have had a really hard life, and there could be a bunch of extenuating circumstances that mean the odds are stacked against you. But it’s you who chooses what to make of that. You can give meaning to it and you can change it. And if it's something you can't change, then well, better get serene as hell and begin accepting it!
When we stop trying to control every detail and worrying about every possible future outcome, we give ourselves space to breathe.
Don’t fret and worry about forever. Breathe and be in the now. You’ve got everything you need.
What are you waiting for?
Go live your best 2022!