It’s hard to open a mind that doesn’t want to be open. Same thing goes for hearts and souls. A lot of good people move through life unfulfilled because they’re unwilling to change their narrative. They’ve established a persona, a way people expect them to be, so they fear that being anything else will chip away at their armor, change perspective, and force them to be more than they are.
And they’re right.
Changing course can be challenging. Small movements and little steps can lead you to a better place or take you deeper into the rut. And one rut leads to another. Negativity breeds negativity. Repeating bad habits becomes routine. It doesn’t take long for people to close up, hole themselves away, and blame others for their lot in life. When that happens, it becomes extremely difficult to help them see life in a different light. If alcohol is involved, offering a hand to help someone pry themselves open is nearly impossible.
I knew I wanted to quit drinking. The difficult part was doing it. Not because I couldn’t live without drinking. Not because quitting would change friendships and activities but because drinking was a habit that fit a persona I created when I was younger. Being the drinker, the “fun” guy, the one that could drink no matter what, was what I believed I needed to get me through. I believed drinking helped me cope, made me relax, and helped me be me. I felt right when drinking. And so, to quit that—the ability to pour a glass and get right—was a bit scary.
Giving up a way of life isn’t easy. The day I stopped drinking alcohol wasn’t any different than any other. It came and went without fanfare. It was a private decision. One made on my own in the basement of our old house while on lunch break. All the little steps I had taken over 25 years, forward, backward, and sideways, had led me to the point where change was necessary. The time spent drinking was wasteful and selfish. I made horrible mistakes. Did nefarious things. None of which I would have done had I been sober. Drinking changed my brain. Oh, I thought there were good times, but I wonder now if those good times would have been better without a drink.
I get more out of the days now than I ever have. My ability to think and reason has improved. I have higher highs now, and I do not experience those low lows. If you’re a serious drinker, if you’re really good at it like I was, you know what I mean. Those lovely, sinking, emotional lows when it’s you against the world. Nobody cares. They just don’t get it. Everything has so much meaning but is meaningless at the same time. And you drink more and more because it’s easier to keep going on the path you’re on than to pull back, think of others, and stop.
But you know that’s exactly what you need to do.
Breaking the cycle, getting out and staying out, that’s the hard part. But once you make that break, you’re free. Sure, you have to deal with feelings. You have to begin thinking for yourself because the bottle’s not there to flavor your decision-making. But all it takes is a step. Then another, and another. And it’s not 12 steps. It’s more than that. Much bigger than that. And when you start heading in the right direction, open-minded with nothing to lose and everything to gain, you will be amazed at how productive, strong, and good you are.