Another May 3rd is here. This is the day that I celebrate my anniversary of quitting drugs and alcohol. Today marks 26 years of continuous sobriety. I have so much to be grateful for. Sobriety has given me so many gifts, just as drugs and alcohol have robbed nearly every other member of my family of their deep gifts. Today I enjoy a wonderful career traveling the world and helping others. I have a amazing healthy son and partner. I live in a beautiful apartment in Manhattan. I could go on and on. I thank God and the countless people who have helped me get and remain clean and sober. I owe everything to my sobriety.
But this post is not about that.
This is especially dedicated to everyone who is sober, or trying to get sober, or really trying to do anything hard and against the grain. Being clean and sober in 2014 is going against the grain. Nearly everyone – it seems – is a drinker, or pot smoker, or pill addict these days. We, as a modern people, are not clean and sober. We are high. We are anesthetized. We are chemically dependent and chemically enhanced – even if our drug of choice is Prozac. Even if our favorite cocktail is the all-American combo of high fructose corn syrup, MSG, and television, as a people, we’re fucked up. We’re not seeing straight. We don’t know how much pain we’re really in. We use all kinds of stuff to keep us from knowing how uncomfortable we are. We are getting more paralyzed every day and we don’t really know it because our heart is numb like a Novocained tooth in the dentists.
To make the decision to “face life on life’s terms” and be totally sober, totally drug-free is a massive step out of line. It is a departure from the blurried herd. People who do my Advanced Training program are required to be clean and sober for the whole 9 months. Even they have a hard time holding fast to the pledge. It’s a very alternative way to be, but if you do it, and do it for awhile, it pays off and gives you a unique and life-changing perspective. It gives you a tremendous advantage over the herd.
I find it interesting how people these days are really into Zombie fantasies. Living sober sometimes feels like those scenarios. Like you’re the only ones that are awake, like the others are kind of dangerous. Living sober is also very uncomfortable sometimes. Living sober puts you in touch with your being and in touch with your real feelings 24/7. If something is off, if you divert from your deep truth, if you are bullshitting yourself, you feel it. If you are not living your truth, you can’t sleep so easily. If you’re betraying yourself, you feel a twinge in your gut that doesn’t go away. Being sober gives you a closer than front-row seat to your own existence. And after you get the hang of it and tune up your life to be in alignment with your truth and real purpose, it feels awesome.
Now it’s been 26 years and I have to say the main thing that got me here – along with Grace and ton of support from great people – was tenacity. I didn’t work the 12 Steps to perfection. I didn’t do everything that my sponsors told me to do. I made all kind of mistakes and did all kinds of stupid shit over the years. I’ve stayed sober through multiple deaths, horrendous illnesses, a painful divorce, and countless other major and minor tragedies. I’ve stayed sober when I’ve been tempted. I’ve stayed sober when it’s been right in my face. Why? Not because I’m so awesome, or because I’ve had a great “program” supporting me. I’ve stayed sober because I have refused to cross that line.
I’ve gone crazy. I’ve gotten depressed. I’ve gone berserk. But I haven’t crossed that line. I’ve done risky things. I’ve been in co-dependent relationships. But I haven’t crossed that line. I’ve watched everyone in my family succumb to the zombie life. I’ve watched them squander their own years and poison the lives of people around them. And for the past 26 years, I have chosen to walk the path of something different. I’ve refused to give in to that enemy. Trying to be more moderate, or approach the situation in a half-hearted way would have never worked. I have been forced to kick alcoholism’s ass, and keep kicking it’s ass.
On that note, I want to share some words given by General George S Patton. I ran across these words he spoke to his troops during WWII, and feel like they are good medicine for people today. They are definitely good for people who are trying to do something hard. In his case it was fighting Hitler’s army. In my case I would like think this has been my attitude toward the alcoholism that runs in my family and the zombie tendencies that are rife in our society. Hopefully you can adopt this attitude when facing your enemies – inner or outer ones. Here’s Patton:
“I don’t want to get any messages saying, ‘I am holding my position.’ We are not holding a goddamned thing. Let the Germans do that. We are advancing constantly and we are not interested in holding onto anything, except the enemy’s balls. We are going to twist his balls and kick the living shit out of him all of the time. Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy. We are going to go through him like crap through a goose; like shit through a tin horn!”
“We’re not going to just shoot the sons-of-bitches, we’re going to rip out their living goddamned guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We’re going to murder those lousy Hun cocksuckers by the bushel-fucking-basket. War is a bloody, killing business. You’ve got to spill their blood, or they will spill yours.”
If you’ve got an enemy, treat it like this.
So….26 years…..A big mahalo to all who have helped me get here. And blessings to the seekers that are on the path, and to all of the lost ones who have yet to find it.
F*** The Naysayers.
Love and Respect to you all.