I am amazed and slightly disconcerted to find myself in a new world, surrounded by the familiar and yet not.
Being sober for 7 days is reminiscent of a scene from the film ‘Matrix’, where Neo awakes into a new reality and asks why his legs are stiff. The reply comes: “Because you’ve never used them before”.
When I look around, I see the familiar: My home, my wife, and my friends. I remain employed. Gravity still works. My body continues to require sustenance. And yet something feels very strange, new and foreign. I am aware that a fundamental change has taken place, and yet I can’t quite put my finger on it.
Only a week ago, my day would have begun with the same ol’-same ol’. Make coffee, draw up ‘to do’ lists, plan, shop, exercise, chat, cook, work etc until it was time to open my first beer. Then I would settle into the next level of the same ol’ – same ol’: watch TV, cook, eat, talk/joke etc. until the day was done and it was time to go back to bed.
Welcome to my life: Rinse, repeat.
Fast forward a week, and on the surface, my days look very similar. And yet they are not. What has changed?
Perhaps it is I who have changed?
Seven days ago, before the 1st beer of the day, my focus would have been on getting my chores done and then, as quickly as possible, moving on to the beer. Get stuff done. Get to the reward.
Seven days ago, after the 1st beer, my focus would have been to pace myself through the rest of the day, without running out of beer, without getting too pissed, without letting on to those around me that I was adrift in an alcohol-infused fuzz, all the while counting down the hours and then minutes until I could climb back into bed and … escape? Rest?
Maybe “I have changed” isn’t quite right?
Maybe “I have arrived in my own life” is more accurate. Let me explain.
Seven days ago the real Duncan was either completely distracted by chores and duties – They are very useful for providing validation (to self and 3rd parties), making me look like a hero and occupying my time (as I wait for beer-o’clock!). So I cooked, cleaned, ran a business, tended to my loved ones, planned holidays, supported my neighbours and organized/ran events. Either that or … the real Duncan was anaesthetized.
Either way, the real Duncan, the real me, was not present.
Now I am.
I have also inherited a lot of extra time within which to be present.
I am discovering much. I have a lot of questions and uncertainty.
It seems that I have a raft of hitherto unknown/unacknowledged/unprocessed thoughts, reactions, feelings and emotions, to so much! (#uncomfortable). Seven days ago they would have been numbed by the drink. Now I need to engage with them. How? To be explored, watch this space.
I find I have time on my hands, lots of it! (What do I fill it with? Should I even be looking to fill it?).
I am meeting the people in my life, afresh. I am properly engaged in communicating because I am listening more. I am learning about my friends and family.
Add to all this the fact that I have purposely altered many other aspects of daily living to help and support myself as I engage in breaking an addiction and the landscape of my world is an alien place.
LOL! I must laugh. Why not? This isn’t a bad thing. It is just challenging.
It might be all new, but I am a human being, (one of the cleverest and most adaptable species ever to walk this earth). I know that I will figure this out. Millions do. So will I.
Don’t rail against this new world. Go with it. Explore it. Befriend it. Think of this stage as part of a much longer journey. Be sure to enjoy the journey because it’s a part of my life and therefore an opportunity to be alive. Fear not, I am not alone. All will be well. Thank you!!