I find the term carefree living an interesting one. Sobriety has in many ways provided me with a lifestyle that is more carefree if anything it has provided me with an opportunity to care more about the world in which I live and the people that share the world with me.
Dictionary definitions of carefree include light-hearted, joyous, elated, and cheerful.
‘Wear your sobriety like a flowing robe, not a hair shirt or indeed a hessian mankini’, these are words that I have heard issuing from my sponsor, the addition of the hessian mankini was a one-time ad-lib, but you get the point.
Sobriety has provided me a platform from which I can care more about the world around me than I used to, I can care for my family, and choose to live in a way that I can add positively to the world rather than detract from it. With this potential comes responsibility, it does not however, weigh me down. It fills me with hope for the future, it gives me possibilities of health, love, fulfilled potential, of working towards dreams so that they might come to fruition.
This is a far stretch from the weight and heaviness that comes with alcoholism and addiction. The promise of drink and drugs for me was the potential to prolong the party, to remove myself from the humdrum of everyday life that I found dull and tawdry. I wanted my world to transform on the weekends, indeed as often as possible and substances helped me remove myself from myself. They turned all that did not glitter into gold, for a time, there were always consequences however, there was a time in which I was surrounded by so many friends, that I kept the darkness of alcoholism at bay. It would eventually overcome me like so many others before, the utter isolation and desolation which comes to visit us when we are truly alone and our one companion is the bottle and the drug.
I was always active and exercised, it is something that I managed to maintain not with strict adherence to I might add, throughout my drinking. It was a tool that I used to try and counter the awfulness I felt while living in that way.
Alongside meetings, the climbing wall has become a place of solace and joy, the feeling of total focus, of a body working in harmony with the mind is a wondrous thing. It helps me to reset in times of stress and gives me a space to think and be when I need it. Admittedly I am no climbing expert however as you continue and progress, joys that seemed previously locked away open up to you, joys that for me without being sober would have been locked away.
Another part of the last six and half years for me has been a growing relationship and understanding of the sea. Surfing has been something that I briefly tried and loved whilst I was drinking, but I could not focus on or give the time and energy required to improve. Memories of peeling blue heavy waves in Morocco, glittering seas, gorse, and summer days by the coast in our native beautiful Isles, and the pumping surf of Indonesia have all contributed to the mosaic that has made up a healthier and happier way of life in sobriety. Not always easy, however, a life in which if I were to die tomorrow, I would die safe in the knowledge that I had lived in a way that made my soul rejoice, not mired always within the fog, confusion, and self-loathing that comes with the bottle for the alcoholic.
The coast and sea were important characters in my childhood; clambering up cliffs and through rock pools, sandwiches with sand in, and beaches emptying at sunset; are imprinted into memories of my childhood. Contact with this wondrous part of the world has been rekindled since I stopped drinking. It seems unthinkable to me today that I might live in a way that means I cannot access this joy, however, that is what drinking and using mean for me. I am confined to a life of constant exhaustion from being up late and partying and searching for that elusive high that is always disappearing around the next corner.
In sobriety, I have hiked up mountains, learned to surf, and climb, practiced the odd bit of yoga, and continue to practice meditation, these are all activities through which I am able to find the joy in the everyday. The reality is that for me, a life of drinking and drugs, which I thought provided me with freedom and liberty was in fact prison that would follow me to the ends of the earth and beyond.
Life in sobriety provided many challenges, I have no doubt it will continue to do so. I do however feel that I am living in a way that is aligned with my happiness, and feel that I am living in a manner with which I can feel happy and in a way proud.
So yes I am carefree, I am also however careful, caring, responsible, joyous, grateful, and hopefully working at and learning to be present.
Words by Samuel S, Recovering AddictBack to resources