What’s in a word?
Life? Meaning? Communication? Every day we use millions of words to convey meaning or to instigate action.
If one word can describe many things, there are also many ways to describe one thing. The English language is renown for its duplicity in that respect. Fuck you! I didn’t mean that the way it came out.
Our lives can take unexpected turns and twists too. In fact, none of our lives have proceeded with the direction, velocity or consequences that were expected. Sometimes I think that if I didn’t have such expectations then my outcomes would be easier to accept.
Leaving High School back in 1980, I had plans of great successes in all fields of enterprise. Commerce (which I studied at University), Family (which I started before University), Travel and Discovery of faraway places. In all these endeavors and more would I achieve acclaim and fortune.
What happened was a series of failures and setbacks which lead to Alcoholics Anonymous.
…And that’s okay.
Taking stock of what I have now and being grateful for all of that, means accepting that no other path could have got me to exactly where I am now, with whom I am with now.
Do I love my children – YES.
Do I love my partner – YES.
Am I happy doing what I do – YES.
When I go down to the beach where I live in Coolangatta, Queensland, I see lots of different people there of all varied ages and ethnicities. How did they all get here? They all got to exactly the same place as me in exactly the same number of paths there are people here. I got here my way…or was it someone else’s plan?
Many Paths Up The Mountain
Again, there are as many cosmologies as there are people but I am where I am and whether God, Buddha or Mike Mather got me here, this is where I am at today.
My labels include Mike, alcoholic, Dad, sponsor, and sober. I like them all. If I don’t like the label that you bestow on me I have a choice to be hurt or walk away.
Once upon a time, I didn’t have so much choice.
When I was addicted to alcohol I had fewer choices. Similarly, my addiction to cigarettes distorted my ability to make healthy choices. It took some effort and help to be rid of that one as well as the addition of alcoholism
We don’t do it alone.
My choice today is to believe that there is a Greater Power involved in keeping me sober and cigarette-free.
I believe that the miracle of recovery from addictions is facilitated by the reliance on others in the physical sense and in another realm that is not easily explained. One reality check that has been helpful to me is that many more intelligent women and men have discussed and written about this matter than me, and it’s still a mystery. Maybe it is beyond us to have a suitable description in this physical realm, and that more will be revealed in another time.
Friends of mine have just returned from a Buddhist retreat and Gary, my friend, said to yesterday, “I have a greater appreciation of Tantra and Lamrim now, Mike”.
I replied, “Gary, isn’t that everything?”
For some students of Buddhadharma, that is most of our worldly education, but as my girlfriend told me this morning, “If you want to know Zazen, do Zazen”.
So, I have arrived close to my 55th birthday with 3 kids and a few more step-children, 10 years sobriety and a home by the sea. My doctor tells me I am well fed.
So, even if 18-year-old Mike could have another crack and predicting his future, what would he expect?
It’s a moot point, isn’t it…and who would trust 18-year-old Mike with such an important decision?
Be Here Now
The important thing for me today is that I relish my present moment because if there was one BIG THING lacking in younger Mike’s life, it was being here, now.
Stay present, and don’t look back too far – or project too far into the future. The light at the end of the tunnel could be an oncoming train.
P.s. My first three podcast episodes will be released in iTunes today or tomorrow. Please search your App for Happy Sober and Frickin Awesome and laugh along with me. Funny? No, only my attempt at humor is funny. (love alwaz..)
If you like the feel of this article and are thinking you would like to give sobriety a go, try my FREE 5 part course, “Stop Drinking – Start Living”.