This Insta fad of turning sobriety into some form of hip trend or pithy T shirt slogan is infuriating.
Yes, it is a victory.
Yes, it takes courage.
Yes, it is a healthy way of living.
But for the junkie and the booze hound sobriety is a necessity.
And it is not a guaranteed state.
It is a daily blessing, dependent on a number of life style disciplines, spiritual practices and repeated behaviours.
I have seen too many beautiful men and women die because they got smug and boastful about sobriety.
And I am not a kill joy or balloon popper.
When you have chased the dragon’s tail, no matter how healthy or recovered you may feel, disaster lurks quietly and persistently in the shadows.
This is our burden.
This is our legacy.
For the sober alcoholic, these are the facts.
In active addiction, I was the noisy parrot flying around the lights.
I was a blowhard.
And a ticking time bomb.
It was either ‘look at me’, ‘look at me’ or ‘look away, I am hideous.’
Too much or never enough.
For myself and those closest to me.
I was a roller coaster.
Tremendous highs and sudden, terrifying lows.
A human wrecking ball.
So my active sobriety is about a quiet smile.
I’m a friend when you need me.
An ear and a hand when required.
Always there but never insistent.
It is a much better way to live for all concerned.
As Graham Long one of our great Australians and past CEO of Wayside Chapel has said to me a number of times;
“Leaders do not lead, they follow.”
Think about what Pastor Long has said in those simple six words.
Quietly meditate on that because that is the topic for another day.
And for a final comment let us read the humility and simplicity of Hermann Hesse in Chapter One of his bitter, sweet novel Gertrude:
“If what matters in a person’s existence is to accept the inevitable consciously, to taste the good and bad to the full and to make for oneself a more individual, unaccidental and inward destiny alongside one’s external fate, then my life has been neither empty nor worthless. Even if, as it is decreed by the gods, fate has inexorably trod over my external existence as it does with everyone, my inner life has been of my own making. I deserve its sweetness and bitterness and accept full responsibility for it.”
Preach Mr Hesse.
You say it with such a quiet, subtle voice.
And my experience is when I am struggling to hear I have to shut up and listen harder.