I have been sober for 31 years and I have more interpersonally, emotionally, intellectually, and materially than I could have ever imagined. During that time, I have regularly attending recovery meetings, volunteered at treatment centers, professionally counselled people of all ages individually and in group settings, have facilitated hundreds of interventions and delivered hundreds of speeches. I have created a recovery app that helps thousands every day. I mention this not to brag but so that you might take heed what I am about to tell you if you want to improve your life and see if a period of sobriety may be a part of that improvement.
During those 31 years, I have been almost daily exposed to troubled, confused souls who cannot believe his or her own actions, who vow to stop those self-defeating actions, and who cannot. Even though their troubles worsen, they typically tell me that they know what they have to do to improve. They typically believe the answer is SELF-DISCIPLINE, or MOTIVATION, or KNOWLEDGE, or MATERIALISM, or INTELLECT, or SPIRITUALITY, or MATURITY, or CONTROLLING OTHERS, or SELF-CONTROL, or CHANGING JOBS, SPOUSES, ENVIRONMENTS.
BUT, IT"S NOT DISCIPLINE OR SELF CONTROL THAT KEEPS ONE SOBER. How many times have I heard that I just need to fight harder. Next time I will remember to control myself better. I will never do that again. I know that I am in jail, I finally realize. "I am just going to keep my mind busy doing other things." These solutions don't work.
IT"S NOT MOTIVATION THAT KEEPS ONE SOBER. "Now that I have a daughter, all I have to do is think about her and I won't use." Motivation does not work.
IT'S NOT KNOWLEDGE THAT KEEPS ONE SOBER. "Now that I know it was alcohol that was my problem, I can just remember that and stop."
IT'S NOT THE PROBABILITY OF BAD CONSEQUENCES THAT KEEPS ONE SOBER. "I'm sure I won't use because I am going to fail a drug test."
IT'S NOT THE PROBABILITY OF GOOD CONSEQUENCES THAT KEEPS ONE SOBER. "if I don't drink, I will keep my job."
IT IS NOT INTELLECT THAT KEEPS ONE SOBER. "I can outsmart the craving to use by tinking it doesn't make sense to take the risk."
IT IS NOT THE ATTAINMENT OF MATERIAL POSSESSIONS THAT KEEPS ONE SOBER. "Once my money troubles subside, I won't need to smoke pot to relieve the pressure." "Once I get a car as fancy as my neighbor's car, I will feel on par with my neighbor andless likely to feel bad about myself which made me drink."
IT IS NOT RELIGION THAT KEEPS ONE SOBER. "I'll read the Bible everyday, but I won't change."
THE SOLUTION IS WISDOM!
Wisdom is living in BALANCE and getting back in BALANCE when thrown off balance. Wisdom is defined as the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment so that one can make a sound action or decision. There are so many forces that compete with wisdom. Typically they involve bad habits born from character defects. Bad habits that provided short term relief from physical and emotional suffering.
It seems to arise in an individual in individual ways and by relying on different resources under changing circumstances. Sometimes reading works...Sometimes meditation... sometimes socialization...sometimes alone... sometimes through exercise...physical relaxation...emotional release...thoughtful consideration... feel it through music and the arts...struggle...compassion...accepting suffering.
Wisdom is evanescent. It takes a long time to get it, and it disappears if it is not continually nurtured. It always requires getting appropriate help and not using tecniques which cannot succeed.
Wisdom allows us to avoid being afraid, discouraged or anxious. Wisdom allows us to do the next right thing each moment.
Today I will rely on wisdom to stay sober. I will remember to stay in BALANCE, allow myself to try what oher experts suggest. To stop using, I will wise up.