Every second I don’t spend caught up in thought is a victory for me. It means for that one second, I am truly alive and experiencing the world around me. It’s a simple thing, but these periods of not thinking are a treasure I never knew I had.
I fell in love with alcohol because getting pissed gave me a way let go of all my worries and concerns – it felt like I was wearing this bulletproof outer-skin and nothing could touch me. There were so many days when I walked around in a dreamy haze – not giving a shit about anything – and in the beginning, the negative aspects of drinking, like hangovers, felt like a small price to pay for this ability to let go.
I began seriously drinking at age 16. I absolutely loved the way it made me feel and how it gave me a reprieve from the tyranny of my thoughts. I always felt so different from the people around me– like everyone else had been given an instruction manual on life, but they had forgotten to give me one. Drinking switched my brain into autopilot, so I no longer needed to worry about lack of instructions.
Alcohol gave me an artificial experience of letting go, but it came with too high a price. The periods of escape from thinking became shorter over the years, and the turmoil I’d face when sober intensified. Eventually, I reached a stage where drinking stopped working completely. The only time my thoughts weren’t tormenting me was when I drank myself unconscious – it wasn’t a nice way to live
I made a silly mistake, but it was an easy one to make. I wasn’t wrong to want to escape my thoughts, but the tool I used to accomplish this state just wasn’t ultimately effective. Drinking to escape my thoughts was also completely unnecessary because all I ever had to do was change my focus. The freedom I yearned for could have been experienced at any time – only this would be the real thing with no unpleasant side-effects.
The Miracle of Not Thinking
I got out of bed this morning, and I felt my bare feet touching the floor. I continued to feel my feet touch the floor as I walked from the bedroom towards my office. I heard my son getting up, and I stopped for a few minutes to chat with him about the book we had read the night before. It was a nice father-son moment, but it is not something that normally happens. I usually wake up with a head full of thoughts, and I’m too busy thinking to hardly acknowledge my son until it is time to take him to school.
When I drove my son to his school this morning, I could feel my hands on the steering wheel. There was something so calming about feeling in control of the car. I’ve been driving this route for 16 months, but I spotted things I’ve never seen before. It seems like every time I drive the car recently, I notice new things that I just missed before.
Every second that I’m not thinking is a victory for me– I’ve had many victories lately, and I’m experiencing a way of living that I once believed was only available through a bottle. I’m a lucky man.