On Three Years Sober…And Chasing The Buzz

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Usually when I come here to post, I have a pretty good idea of where I am going with the piece.  I have some elements, a focus, a plan of sorts.  Then I just give ‘er on the keyboard. Let the mind and spirit take me where I need to go.  Unearth some stuff as I go along. Perhaps make a friend or two before I move on to the next town (oh wait, I am thinking about The Littlest Hobo).  So you’d think that with what I wanted to share today, I would be exploding with stuff to say, that I’d be riffing left, right and center.

But I’ve been sort of “Meh”-ish these last few days regarding this post.

You’d think that celebrating three years of continuous sobriety (May 4th) would be something to broadcast effortlessly, coming from this middle-aged has-been drunk.  Three years. Whoda thunk there would be a Hail Mary pass spiraling over heavy air and into the hands of happiness and freedom?  Not this guy.  Back then, I would have thought that three hours was a pretty long stretch without alcohol pressing up against my lips, let alone three years.  I couldn’t fathom three years.  It wasn’t allowed on my radar.  My scope of sobriety went no further than the span of my open hand seeking for escape and temporary blindness to the world and my self.   Seeking a bottle.

You’d think that passing through so many stages of this early recovery would provoke some sort of reaction.  You’d think that running in my first race ever, a half marathon, on the very same day would be some sort of gargantuan epiphany of sorts.  You’d probably think I would explore some lovely and endearing metaphors about recovery and running – the long haul, the gains, the pains, the growth experience, etc.  But alas, no.  Finer runners and writers have done that (see Christy, Josie, Kristen, etc.) so I won’t tread on well-laid out paths (excuse the pun).  And hey, even the aforementioned Christy just wrote a beautiful and touching post about her own 3rd birthday (Happy 3rd! Go NOW and wish her well, will ya?)  So yeah, I think it’s all been covered.

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Actually, THIS guy has it all covered. Not only does he showoff his best Benny Goodman impression, but you know, he has that bee thing going on too. Time to update those online dating profiles to “single” ladies, if you want to land this honeypot!

But then again, we write from our own experiences, don’t we?  Isn’t that the whole point of this outwards expression of the inner landscape?  Our experiences of sobriety are very common with others, and yet uniquely ours.  Our collective oeuvre that make up our lives are singular to us, and that is always worth the price of admission when we click onto the blogs that we enjoy following.  Or else there are no stories left to tell.  It’s all been covered.  From ancient scrolls to sacred texts to Medieval and early century works…all the way up to the latest blockbuster books and films…it’s all been done before.  But we always come back because at some level, we yearn to connect.  And that’s why I write, that is why I read. To connect with you and have you connect with me.

So what does this have to do with the price of eggs?  What does this have to do with recovery from a state of mind and body that can’t control alcohol and yet craves nothing but?

Perhaps it has to do with where I am at, now entering my fourth year of sobriety. Perhaps that “meh”-ness I spoke of isn’t apathy or a blase blanket tussled over sleepy eyes and spirit. Perhaps it’s just about being comfortable in a way that I have never been comfortable before.  Passing year three is…nice.  See?  No fireworks there – it’s just…pleasant.  Like anything that isn’t forced or put upon.  Like anything that has settled in with the ease of a needle passing through delicate fabric.  Perhaps this whole thing is just about accepting where I am right now and fighting less and less – figuring out how to just be, figuring out when to sit with feelings, figuring out when to assert myself and create those all important boundaries with myself and others.  About staying as true to myself as I learn precisely who this stranger “myself”  really is.

And part of that process of finding out who I am is by exploring and trying things.  Feeling things out.  Not fear making mistakes or looking foolish.  Heeding the nudges of the Creator…even when I doubt it and want to run the show on my own.  Sticking my neck out. And that is what I did when I took up running.  It was an initial lark – a pebble in my shoe that I couldn’t seem to shake.  And then I found out it wasn’t that bad.  I started to get into it, pushed at it, poked it with a stick to see what would happen.  And I improved. Slowly…very slowly.  Eventually I took the leap and decided a half marathon would be fun to try.  And frightening.  And hey, it wasn’t until later that I realized the race was the same day as my sober date.

Nothing subtle about that.

Ah, subtlety.
Ah, now this is subtlety.  Cue the clowns and elephants.

So race day came, and I wasn’t too nervous.  I had read a lot about races, and tapped a few brains for their experience.  Start slow and move up to your own pace.  Don’t burn out too early.  Don’t do anything different on race day than you’ve done in training.  And so it went.  Six thousand raced and I was in the middle.  We were off, and hey, what can I say, I was buzzing from being around the folks there.  I could feel a connection to everyone there, as I slipped into some sort of trance, and could feel the city about me breathing in a way I never experienced before.  And no sooner had I made the first turn a few minutes later, the tears started to fall.  I didn’t know where they were coming from.  I once read an article about why pro athletes break down and cry when they win something, and they mentioned it’s because the athletes are overwhelmed.  There are too many things going on at once, so the body does what it does when that happens – it cries.

And that is how I felt – overwhelmed.  It took me a few seconds to suck it up and be a man about it.  You know, flex some biceps, perhaps do some Gladiator screams and mid-race push-ups.  But no, I got leaky and lucid, because what I realized is that what I was feeling was gratitude.  An all-encompassing feeling of just being thankful for where I was in my life, my sobriety, my new experiences and friends (and that includes all of you, lovely readers).  It’s like it was all focused on that day – a snapshot of what three years looked and tasted like (later I would taste vanilla from one of those carb-laden gel packs that I had never had before – see note about about not doing anything on race day that you haven’t done on training days…busted!)

The race was fine – I chased that buzz of emotions and effortlessly as I chased the 2:15 bunny ahead of me.  I forged deeper into my reserves – mentally and physically.  I raced with Batman at one point (I would have overheated wearing that costume) and just did my thing.  As I got closer to the finish line, I tired.  My walkman battery died too.  I did what I normally do when my body and spirits flag – I prayed.  Not the foxhole / drunk prayer of “God please get me out of this one”.  But of how I can help others.  What can I do to help an alcoholic that day?  Thank you, Creator, for giving me this healthy(ish) body to do this.  Thank you for my sobriety.  Thank you for all that I have.

I make sure that I am nice and limber before
Thank you for there not being a wardrobe malfunction right now.

And it was done.  2:13 later, I crossed the line, spent…but on a buzz.  The kind of buzz that beer, wine or vodka could never, ever give me.  The buzz of a sense of accomplishment, of hard work, of connection to others.  Of love and fellowship amongst these other runners.  Of being comfortable in my own skin.  Something booze never could fulfill.

As I later reconnected with my family (they missed me by 5 minutes – I was already in the gate when they got to the finish line with signs and such – quelle bummer), we started to walk back to the car.  We were going to have a little get together back at the house- some cake, lasagna.  We were going to celebrate my sobriety, my run, my brother-in-law and wife’s wedding anniversary…just a reason to hang out and pig out.  And as we got closer to the car, I thought of that prayer I said.  How can I help others?  What can I do for an alcoholic today?  We buckled up and my brother-in-law turned the car on.  He has one of those fancy radios that shows the name of the song and artist on a screen.  As the engine turned over and the music blasted, I looked at the radio screen – “Message In A Bottle – The Police”.

That’s the kind of thing that happens when we open ourselves up to the synchronicity of our lives to the Universe.

So now what?  I do what I need to do.  The things we all can do.  Live boldly.  Love freely.  Forgive with reckless abandon.  Release what doesn’t serve you.  Let go.  Surrender.  Cry.  Laugh.  Eat well.  Get lots of rest.  Find something that speaks to you.  Call your loved ones more often.  And live for another day.  Because no matter what happens today, we get the cosmic do-over tomorrow.

Blessings and thanks for being here.

Paul

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90 Comments Add yours

  1. 1jaded1 says:

    Happy Anniversary. You give inspiration to those of us who are not yet there. It can be done. Yay for finishing the race. Your smile is radiant.

    1. Thank you, my friend. We all share our stories so that others can identify and it helps us as well. I am glad this resonated.

      Blessings,
      Paul

  2. Congrats Paul! Woot woot and lots of 🎂! What an awesome journey you have had and what an amazing inspiration you are! Love this post! I still feel weird at times when life “seems” meh! But like you, I know that this is it. This is life and living, just gliding along, and comfortable. Congrats on the race and the picture speaks a 1000 words! Thank you Paul! May you have many more 24hs. coming your way! Hugs!

    1. Thanks Magz!! Just gliding along is all it is most times, isn’t it? I’m okay with that – better than all that drama 🙂

      Have a wonderful day, my friend!

      Paul

  3. good2begone says:

    Sober looks good on ya, my friend! 3 years is an amazing accomplishment. Who am I kidding…each sober day is an amazing accomplishment. You have blogged your journey for all to see and I continue to learn through your posts and stories. You bring strength and hope to many and give practical experience to the difficulties that arise in recovery. I am happy to be along for the ride. Congratulations.

    1. Thank you Michael! I too have learned from you. I know you don’t talk about it as much, but I can see how it colours your outlook on life. You have a great sense of humour about things, and that helps me too, so I don’t things so seriously (especially with the kids!). Thank you for being here and a part of my recovery 🙂

      Paul

  4. You’re awesome Paul! I felt that meh-ness last year at 2 years. Like big whoop. But this year I really did feel the joy and gratitude. Look at how far we’ve come… Man!

    I bawled during and after my first marathon. Such a culmination and release of emotions… And that synchronicity. Chills!!!

    So happy and so proud of you. I’m glad to know you. Shine on, -Christy

    1. Thanks Christy!

      I am so glad to hear that I am not the only one who was weepy during and after the race! I felt it even after – days after. Not sure why, but it really hits all the spots in me – mentally, emotionally, spiritually…quite powerful stuff.

      Thank you for all your inspiration – you’re probably the first one to get me thinking about running in the first place, even though I had no idea I was thinking about it at the time!

      Yay to us…and congrats again to you 🙂

      Hugs,
      Paul

  5. mishedup says:

    Congrats Paul…..
    what an awesome picture of a proud and grateful sober man.
    love the special wink of the Police song…..a better kind of police than you’ve dealt with before!
    Here’s to moving ahead into year 4, a day at a time! I’m right there next to you (except for the running part…but fee free to picture me at the finish line, cheering you on!)

    1. Muchas Gracias, M! Yes – you picked up on the police thing…ha ha. I didn’t mention it, but it certainly crossed my mind too.

      Thank you for being there, always. I feel you are a part of my recovery 🙂

      Blessings,
      Paul

  6. clearlee says:

    Congrats Paul! Congrats congrats congrats. You’re an amazing writer and an inspiration to be sober. Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Lee…that means a lot to hear from you 🙂

      I hope you are well!

      Blessings,
      Paul

  7. Mrs D says:

    Happy Soberversary Paul.. and big congrats on the race. You are awesome in so many ways. xxx

    1. Thank you, Mrs. D! You help to inspire any aforementioned awesomeness. I have learned a lot from you – how you handle life and how you just shake things off. Amazing.

      Hugs,
      Paul

  8. furtheron says:

    Congrats brother. You have been a great source of inspiration to me over the time we’ve been friends in this blogverse dear boy (had to slip in an over the top English colloquialism :-/)

    The Meh bit – I understand I’ve had several periods in my sobriety where that has hit. I have it now a bit as has been obvious in the last 6 months or so of my blogging activity – or inactivity maybe.

    Congrats on the run to – I couldn’t do anything like that. So unfit and all that – I’d die!

    1. Love the English colloquialism, ol’ fruit 🙂

      I know that I will hit more meh’s, but that’s okay. No one has fireworks going at all times – recovering alkie or not. I’m sure the rockstars of the world still have their rough spots. But being here with you and the others gives me strength and perspective. Your calm demeanour has been influential, Graham. So thank you for that.

      And congrats on your upcoming 10 years sobriety! Hazzah!!!

      Paul

  9. FitFatFood says:

    I don’t quite know what to say Paul apart from a huge WELL DONE and THANK YOU. You do so much for this blogging community you deserve every day of sobriety and the tranquility it brings x x x

    1. Thank you so much – and so happy to be a part of the sober blogger community. I have really enjoyed watching your journey…inspiring!

      Blessings,
      Paul

  10. Congratulations on 3 years and completing that half marathon in a great time

  11. Your blog has so much peace and acceptance of yourself it’s amazing. So very happy for you! *insert happy dance* 😀

    1. Thank you, Doctor 🙂

      I can’t dance very well, but I’ll try and join you there 🙂

      Paul

  12. Oops – am always accidentally posting before finishing typing…
    I needed some !!! on the end of that last sentence. !!
    As someone who is coming up on 3 months and frequently gets frustrated by the feeling of going backwards instead of forwards, it’s so good to read your perspective from further down the line. Though our worlds and our stories our very different, I always find your posts and insights interesting and valuable. Thanks, and congratulations 🙂 🙂
    PS – also I can only run 2 miles before collapsing, but give me another 2 yrs and 9 months, and who knows where I’ll be!

    1. Two miles is pretty good. I couldn’t even run around the block when I started up in September. I would have looked at you in awe…still do 🙂

      We do get that feeling that we haven’t moved, that we’re stuck or even regressing. But as long as we keep doing the things we need to do, we are progressing. We’re either moving towards or further from the drink, as they say. So I may get all emotional and be pissed off at things, etc. but I know that I am not going to drink that day and it’s all good. I just learn ways of managing my emotions.

      Progress, not perfection 🙂

      Thank you for being here and your warm comments 🙂

      Paul

  13. nomoremerlot says:

    Good job sir!

  14. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Thank YOU for being here, Paul. You are an inspiration for many reasons, my friend.

    1. Thank you Sheena…you are a special person. Always remember that 🙂

  15. Congratulations Paul! Your life is full of so many blessings! 3 years sober is amazing! Doing a 1/2 marathon is amazing! Having love, family and food for celebration is the best.
    Keep on keeping on, you are an inspiration to this sober lady living one day at a time. 🙂

    1. Thank you, my friend. As are you – seeing how you are moving through your own journey is quite inspiring to me. Your insight is keen, as is your self-awareness. They alone don’t keep us sober, but man, they shine the light on the things that do. You are a light…keep shining 🙂

      Love and light,
      Paul

  16. Paul, what a fantastic post! Gratitude is contagious and you’ve spread it to me. I love what you say about the synchronicity of the universe and the amazing things that can happen when we’re feeling that spirit connection. Congratulations on the race, hitting your 3-year mark in sobriety and on all the wonderful things that are happening in your life. And congratulations on understanding that all your blessings will mean more if you can share them with others. That’s the ultimate gift of sobriety. You inspire me. 🙂

    1. You are right, Karen – sharing with others is the key for me. Not in a navel-gazing type of way (although I am guilty of that! hey, I am a blogger – that comes with the territory 🙂 ), but in our shared experiences. When we share with others what it was like, what happened and what it’s like now, we are passing on part of the solution – identifying and saying “hey! I drank like her too – I am NOT alone!”.

      And you share so much with us, and it is I who is learning. Seeing how your blog has shifted and changed as you have…what a joy to watch 🙂

      Thank you.

      Paul

  17. JLForbes says:

    Beautiful post, Paul. I love the synchronicity in the car with the Police song. It’s the universe’s way of letting us know that we are on the path. Congrats on three years too! I know what you mean about it being a subtle moment without the fireworks, but I think that’s growth. If there are fireworks, then we may deem the sky empty when there are no fireworks. It’s good that there were no fireworks. You have come a long way. Peace!

    1. Thanks JL! I agree that the growth comes in the quiet moments as it does the thunderous ones. I am okay without the fireworks. My post may have come across that way, but really, the meh-ness of stuff is alright. I need that. If mowing the lawn and paying the phone bill is the highlight of the day, then that’s what it is. I am still sober, and present and open to what the Universe will supply me for that day.

      Thanks for your kind and insightful words…here and on your own corner of the world 🙂

      Paul

  18. Debbie says:

    Congrats on . . . . well, everything. Great accomplishments all the way around!! D

    1. Thank you Debbie…for the kind words and encouragement…and for being here.

      Love and light,
      Paul

  19. lucy2610 says:

    That’s a PB to be proud of (and yuch to the gel packs!) I’m running a 10K on Saturday and shall think of you when I’m running – like you’re running beside me 🙂 Congrats on 3 years. Amazing xx

    1. Awww…thanks Lucy. Yuk to the gel packs? You know, I tried them the one time ever, and at that point in the race, they tasted like truffles and lobster. Not that I was hungry, but I was hoping it would give me a bit of jolt for the end! I heard one can make their own, but in the end, it’s just sugar, isn’t it?

      I am sending you big positive love and vibes to you for tomorrow’s 10K! I ran 10K yesterday (my first run since the race) and I am sore…but it was great. So I’ll send that 10K energy to you as well 🙂

      Hugs,
      Paul

  20. sherryd32148 says:

    Wow dude…just…wow. Congrats on ALL of it. You deserve it all and more.

    Sherry

    1. Thank you Sherry for always being there 🙂

      big hugs,
      Paul

  21. For someone who wasn’t sure where this post was headed, you sure steered it to a beautiful place! My most heartfelt congratulations to you, both for your 3 years of sobriety, and for the completion of a half-marathon. You are my hero for both, and you inspire me to do and be more each day.

    I really do get what you mean about the anniversary meaning less, but in a good way. As a recently declared non-smoker, when I say my prayers and thank Him for another smoke-free day, I still get that little charge, the one I used to get when I thanked him for another sober day. It’s not to say I don’t appreciate my sobriety, it’s exactly as you so eloquently described above… I am comfortable with it, and I feel like I can own it. I have declared myself a non-smoker, but the smoking days are in the too-recent past to feel truly comfortable with it. Have no idea if that makes sense or not, or if I’m just rambling; either way, you struck a chord with me in this post, and, as always, I am a better person for having read your blog!

    Can’t wait to see what year 4 brings!

    1. congrats again on the no-smoking! As I mentioned to you on your blog, I never smoked, so I don’t know what it’s like to quit that…but I know many who did smoke and many of them (my mother and wife included) who quit cold turkey and have never gone back. So thank your HP for that, and your work in maintaining the fertile ground for that process to continue.

      And yes, this particular year it wasn’t all fireworks, but there was in some ways, if you know what I mean. The joys of not going to jail (yay!…lol), getting our son, doing the running, etc…these are things that I am grateful for and couldn’t have happened without God and the steps and my dear friends in recovery like you Josie. So yeah, in many ways things are fantastic, and at the same time…same old. And I think we enjoy that, don’t we? Better than the old drama.

      Thank you again, Josie. Love seeing you around and you posting and just being here for us all. You rock 🙂

      Paul

  22. Holy crazy synchronicity, Batman! http://youtu.be/qbpaz-u5WIE
    (that part gave me goosebumps, for real).

    Congrats on your race, on three years, all of it! You are inspiration, Paul! xo

    1. Duuuuddde!!!! Very cool. I am listening to that as I write this. I loved that song – forgot about it. I think it was the best on the album, actually. And yeah, fits in with the whole theme, doesn’t it? Your turn to give me the goosebumps 🙂

      okay – is it your day yet, or what?? I am having a hard time holding back the big fireworks!!

      Big hugs,
      Paul

      1. Cool beans!!! And yep, two more days. 🙂 Very weird feeling of anticipation on my end. This is something I honestly never thought I could do. It’s good to still able to surprise myself. 🙂

  23. jrj1701 says:

    Дай Бог Вам много лет ††† (hint: Google translate is very good, Russian to English.)

    1. Ha ha – don’t think I’ve had a comment in Russian before – you set the standard once again, JR!!! thank you for the kind words (yes, Google Translate is pretty cool!) Nice seeing you here, as always.

      Blessings,
      Paul

  24. Congrats on several jobs well done!
    Sharon

    1. Awww…thank you Sharon 🙂

      Have a wonderful evening!

      Paul

  25. Laurie Works says:

    Paul, it’s been such a privilege to get to know you through the blogging world and I’m really grateful to say you’re a part of my recovery. And this “meh-ish” post was wonderful. What really caught me was the synchronicity piece. Isn’t it so crazy how that stuff shows up as we just do this thing called sobriety? I had a similar occurrence on my sobriety birthday Tuesday.
    Also, I had no idea our sobriety bdays were so close, day-wise!! So fun to celebrate with you and Christy, too. 🙂 🙂 Congratulations!!!!!!!
    Sharing in your gratitude, and sending some as well,
    Laurie

    1. As well to you, my dear friend! I have had such a pleasure watching you on your own journey…and what a hell of a journey it’s been. But you are in such a fabulous place, it’s very inspiring. Sometimes I think of how bad I had it, then I sometimes think about some of the stuff you went through, and I think “wow, I am not sure I would have gotten through that”. And you did. The Big One Upstairs has some special love for you. And you shine that back on everyone. it shows.

      Thanks for your kind and warm comments…and yes! Let the early May-babies whoop it up!!

      Hugs,
      Paul

  26. DB says:

    This posting put the hugest smile on my face!

    1. ….as did your comment, DB 🙂

      You rock…thank you 🙂

      Blessings,
      Paul

  27. lyn says:

    Beautiful – your smile and eyes tell the whole story. I feel very proud to know you through the blogging world Paul – you are a very gentle spirit.

    1. Thank you Lyn…that is so wonderful for you to say…I am flattered. I have learned a lot from people out here in the blogging world, actually. Learned a lot about grace, actually. I didn’t know what kindness and gentleness was until I saw how you all responded to one another and it was eye opening for me. Thank you for being here. Means a lot 🙂

      Blessings,
      Paul

  28. lifecorked says:

    You rock!! Congrats on three years and your first big run – awesome! I call that feeling you were describing the pure joy of being content where I’m at now – not tomorrow or next week or next year – but just now. It’s a beautiful gift to simply be content. Grateful for you and your sobriety.

    1. thank you Chenoa…I am very grateful to have you here and in your corner of the sober interweb…you have shown me a lot of myself through your own words and experience…and for that I am forever in debt to you. Maybe I’ll pass that joy to others, eh? Sounds like a good idea. God likes that kind of thing, yeah? He keeps me sober, so might as well help carry the load 🙂

      Thank you for being you, my friend.

      Blessings,
      Paul

  29. momma bee says:

    Rock on my friend! Sobriety does look amazing on you! Loving all the great things going on in your life now…… Message in a bottle helps so many. Thank you for your amazing posts and support!

    1. MB! You have a full life on Twitter that I enjoy so much , so it’s doubly fun to see you here too…ha ha. thank you for being a part of my recovery life. I love your enthusiasm! Contagious 🙂

      Blessings and hugs,
      Paul

  30. Nadia says:

    Paul, congratulations! How fantastic that you are truly happy with where you are. This was an inspiring read, truly. Much peace. x

    1. Awww…thanks Nadia! I am so very happy to see ya here. And for the wonderfully kind and warm comments. Hope you have a groovy weekend 🙂

      Paul

  31. So lovely. I’ve been feeling the “mehs” lately too and it makes me nervous. It’s like I think I’ve got to find new ways to complicate my life so I have to stay alert, I have to keep pushing myself or I might get bored and you know what happens when baby gets bored. Baby drinks. But I’m tired of pushing all the time too. Thank you for reminding me that sobriety is a gift that is meant to be shared, yes, but also to be enjoyed and appreciated. Congratulations on your three years, you’ve done it with courage, grace and so much kindness. You’re a great man.

    1. “It’s like I think I’ve got to find new ways to complicate my life so I have to stay alert, I have to keep pushing myself or I might get bored and you know what happens when baby gets bored. Baby drinks” I loved this, Kary. I am with you on the complicated thing. I can complicate an ice cube. or a life that is going well. Huh, aren’t we a freaky bunch? ha ha.

      I too have to remember what you said – this is to be enjoyed. Not hyped up or amped up. We did enough of that out there, didn’t we??

      thank you for walking with me on this journey. Although we are strangers in most ways, we are connected deeply in other ways. And for that, I will always be grateful 🙂

      Love and light,
      Paul

  32. Wowsers!! So much to celebrate!!
    Congrats on three years!
    Well done in the race, inspiring!
    Thanks for always sharing so much of your wonderful story.
    Great pic!
    Carrie x

    1. Oh Carrie!! I was just seeing where you were at and realized I missed YOUR one year!! I feel like a slug. anyway, a much belated Happy Birthday 🙂

      Thank you for sharing of yourself too – I remember when you first popped up on the sober blogging community – and man, have you grown 🙂 Inspiring!

      Thank you for being here…and to see you around. Life must be catching up to you…always a good sign, yes?

      hugs,
      Paul

  33. Paul. You inspire us all. Love your prayer… How can I help someone today? Just lovely. Keep on running toward your happy life! Trish

    1. Thank you Trish!! Yeah, not sure why that is my “go to” prayer. I think it’s because I was taught to not petition for ourselves when praying, unless it helps us help others. Maybe it’s about humility – getting out of my own selfishness. Who knows. But it makes me feel a bit more grounded.

      Have a most spectacular and peaceful weekend, my friend 🙂

      Paul

  34. Thank you for always brightening my day, Paul. You have something fantastic and enlightening to say to everyone regardless of the situation.

    Your insightfulness led me to believe that you were an elderly man at the end of his journey and then you gotta go throw the picture up and prove me wrong. You are wise beyond your years.

    Congratulations and thank you for being so giving of your time.

    Jenn

    1. thank you Jenn! Old man, eh? did you see how much grey I have there? lol. I do feel like an old dude sometimes. But thanks for that. My seemingly wise ways are offset by juvenile and downright dumb decisions or actions…ha ha. I balance out some how.

      I am so happy you are here, and so happy that we’ve crossed paths. You make my recovery stronger 🙂

      Paul

  35. How the heck this post got past me on my reader is beyond me. So while a bit tardy in my congratulations, they are as heartfelt as they would have been on the “real” day.
    How momentous. Three. Whole. Years. Dayum. Reading your blog makes me think of how to respond when I tell people I don’t drink to which they respond, “Really? Well, what do you do?” I shrug my shoulders outwardly.
    Inside, I think of bizarre pictures, like the honeypot and the charismatic human rubber band. And there was never any amount of beer and/or alcohol that put THOSE images in my head. The best part is I can caption them in my head, too, without the alcohol.
    I love that you got leaky on your run. What a catharsis in so many ways. Tears of joy, gratitude, the image of running from your old life to the continual blessings of your new one. It’s all just so fantastic.
    Congratulations, Paul.
    Thanks for another good read,
    Linda

    1. You know, sometimes I miss BIG posts in my Reader too – happens! So please don’t worry. I didn’t even post it on the actual day – too tired…ha ha. I think that whole thing of boredom, etc. that we all fear eventually dissipates. Life gets back into us, and vice-versa. I am still fairly a dull dude, but I’m a happy one. So take that, vodka. Beer. Wine. The things that I *thought* made me more interesting ,but really made me retreat from life rather than meet it head on.

      We may not be jumping out of planes or building cathedrals (we may!), but doesn’t mean we aren’t interesting or have our own things. Sobriety scrubs away the things that block us from life.

      Thanks Linda for your wonderful and kind comments. I am so happy to be doing this things with you 🙂

      Blessings,
      Paul

  36. primrosep says:

    a great post, thank you, Paul! many congratulations on your three years!

    and can I just say that reading one of your posts for me is often like riding on a ghost train? that image of the man with the bees – shudder and squeal! you getting emotional on your run – goosebumps of recognition! your fantastic prayer and rousing final paragraph – coming out into the sunshine and smiling!

    thanks for your writing, Paul. always an enormous pleasure to read.

    Primrose xx

    1. Thanks P! Ghost train? Cool. I’ll take that too. The scary ride was all those years of drinking and causing damage on all fronts and taking hostages down with me. Yikes! So at least this kind of ride has safety features. Better music. Softer landings if needed.

      And so happy you’re on the ride too – makes it more fun 🙂

      Love and light

      Paul

  37. stacilys says:

    Hey Paul
    First – Wow! Congratulations on three years of sobriety. Hope you at a huge piece of cake.
    Second – Is that really a picture of you? You look so different then your other pictures from before.
    Third – You Rock! I truly love and appreciate your vulnerability.
    “And that is how I felt – overwhelmed… …what I was feeling was gratitude.”
    –You never cease to put and smile on my face Paul. And this quote here had me lying on the couch, my daughter watching Disney and me laughing out loud. Soooooo funny. I would love to see that. One day you should post a pic of you flexing those biceps, looking like a gladiator.
    Oh, hahahahahaha, I just reread the caption under the yoga dude. I didn’t catch the meaning of it before. Yea, really good thing. Imagine that. Certainly would provoke a ton of comments if there was a malfunction. lol. So funny.
    Bless you Paul, and may year 4 prove to be the best yet.
    Big hug – Staci
    🙂

    1. Thank you Staci!

      Yes, that pic is of me. Different? how? Maybe I’m smiling in this one? ha ha. I usually look dorky when I smile, so I don’t always do for the camera.

      Thanks for mentioning the vulnerability. I guess for me it’s not that big a deal. I know some fear bearing themselves online (even anonymously) but I guess I spent enough of my time in secret or hiding in the shadows or being deceptive and manipulative. And being honest and “telling on myself” was the only way I could be open to the healing process. So this is just an extension of the whole deal.

      Bless YOU for all that you do, Staci. I can’t believe that we didn’t know each other until a few months ago. How did we not meet sooner? Very cool you in my spiritual path, my dear friend.

      Blessings and hugs

      Paul

      1. stacilys says:

        Hey Paul
        The last pic I saw of you, you were wearing a tuke and had a beard. Maybe that’s why i thought you looked so different. Plus, you look a lot more caucasian in that photo. This one you look like you could be Brazilian. Like my hubby, he’s got dutch, indigenous, african, possibly Portuguese. He’s what we call, ‘moreno’, meaning he’s darker skinned, but he’s definitely not full on black, or indigenous, and far from being full on dutch or portuguese either. Just like many Brazilians. You can actually buy t-shirts here that say:
        25% Portuguese
        25% African
        25% Indignous
        25% Italian
        100% Brazilian
        🙂

        Yea, how did that happen? I mean, we’re both Canadians right. How did we not meet? Hehehe. So glad our paths crossed to, my friend.

        Blessings and hugs
        Staci
        🙂

  38. Congratulations! Amazing achievements!

    1. Thank you very much 🙂

      It’s grand being sober, ain’t it?

      Blessings,
      Paul

  39. fern says:

    Inspirational, Paul. Congratulations on your run and 3 years of sobriety.

    I love to hear good things from you — it makes my day. Love the photo. Your smile says it all.

    You know your messages have been life changing for me. This post gives me hope that I may find something I love in recovery to help feel like life is more than getting through another day sober.

    I love you, Paul.

    Fern

    1. Awwww…Fern. Don’t get me misty this early in the morning 🙂

      It took me some time to find the things that propel me in my life, the things that bring me some sort of joy and peace. IT’s within us all…just took me a while to find it. As will you. And then when we think we have that nailed, something else will come to capture our imagination. And we get to do it sober! How cool is that?

      Love ya back, my dear 🙂

      Paul

      P.S Happy Mother’s Day!

  40. mike says:

    Paulio

    See what happens when the blockage is removed? We become receptive.
    Important shit happens and our interior self rebukes it with the Meh’s. You gotta a cosmic kick in the ass, my man.
    The song was a nice touch by the HP.
    Reception and direction is the name of the game.

    1. Ahhhhhh Mikey…I have missed you, brother. Glad you’re here. Had a good jolt when I saw your name pop up on the old laptop here. I hope you have been doing well!

      Yes – the important shit happens and sometimes I off peeling potatoes in the corner and miss it. Then wonder why I am a glum chum. Then other times I’m that pitcher, catching that laser-like fastball knuckler combo and I am right there. Hearing the whiffle of the bat and thud of that thing striking me at heart level. How cool is that, kind sir?? And that’s that kick in the ass you talk about. God reminding me who’s keeping me sober, reminding me that there is so much more out there than I can possible comprehend so he keeps it simple for me. Let’s my lizard brain understand the little things.

      How you doing, Mike? I pray you are in fair weather and high spirits 🙂

      Hugs,
      Paul

  41. Yay Paul!!!!!! This is so great 🙂 Happy three years and happy half marathon finishing! What an absolutely wonderful way to celebrate. And what you wrote there, about crying and being overwhelmed with gratitude and all that? I get it. It must have be in the air right now, because that exact same thing happened to me on Saturday. The crying and all. Feels good doesn’t it? Scary good. So glad you’re in the sobersphere doing so much (being vunerable, encouraging and honest) for all us other boozers. You ROCK!

    1. Thanks Rebecca! I am sorry (or not?? ha ha) about you getting leaky last Saturday..nice release valve regardless, no? Built-in too, ya know? Nice to know that The Architect got that one right too. So glad you’re here, my cool boozer friend 🙂

      Hugs to ya,
      Paul

  42. There’s so many things I want to say in regards to this one, Paul. Again, you’ve struck some contagiously inspiring chords here.
    Three years of sobriety is a great accomplishment. And so is running a half-marathon. I remember running my first half-marathon and you are right; the feeling you get from this accomplishment is far better than any buzz. There is something in the air which is incredibly addictive… and it isn’t alcohol, that’s for sure! It’s a sense of belonging and becoming something anew. It’s uniting amongst other fellow runners, strangers and friends to do the unthinkable. And once the unthinkable is attained, the high you receive is something that words do no justice for.
    I loved when you wrote, “Isn’t that the whole point of this outwards expression of the inner landscape? Our experiences of sobriety are very common with others, and yet uniquely ours.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. I think this is what makes sobriety so intriguing and beautiful. Each one of us plants a different seed when we make the commitment to walk along the sober path. How that seed decides to bloom is entirely up to us and what the Creator has in store for our destiny.

    1. Thanks Gina – so sorry about getting back to this so late…ugh. I don’t like “stragler” comments.

      You have added so much to me and look forward to blooming with ya 🙂

      Paul

  43. Hello Paul,

    My good friend, first it’s nice to see your smiling face at the end of this post!! Nice to SEE who we are Pals with! …LOL.

    Of course, Congrats on three years of sobriety! But I do know what you were talking about, and feeling, as I felt the same when I made my 4th year from addicted gambling and a wee bit to much alcohol consumption when I gambled. I got to that “Stuck” place they talk about in recovery. It’s like, “OK……I make & chair meetings, I’ve done my recovery work and 12-steps, TWICE by 4 years, I help others by sponsoring, I’ve been a guest speaker at many GA & AA meetings, I’ve made most of my amends where I could, I continue working on my “Character Defects” and even started a women’s GA home group for a few years before we had to come here to Arizona,……..but a my 4th year,…..NOW WHAT”

    I’ll tell you a secret,……LIFE BALANCE! LOL….We can get so wrapped up on the recovery work and service to others that we forget at times to live our own lives In The Moment.
    Live just for today for US! Yes, it does sound selfish, but I’ve always told newbies when they first come into recovery, “Recovery means you get your life back, so make sure you LIVE IT.”
    Addiction & Recovery only have ONE thing in common, they are both Selfish……
    We are selfish with in our addiction, because we don’t think about anything but the addiction. We hurt everyone around us and ourselves. But when you enter recovery, WE HAVE TO BE Selfish to in order to recover.

    That means again, putting our selves First…..We at times need to work on all the FUN things we did before we became addicts. For me that was reading and writing. My recover is what helped me accomplish one of my major goals to be a published author by age 50.
    My HP and Recover helped me to that! So those in recovery need to just go out and live in the moment, to the things you love, and your passionate about. And we can still halp others along the way 🙂

    You should be very proud for your 3 years clean! By the number of comments you have for this post proves you make a big impact on many of us out here!! WTG!
    That’s my 2 cents worth, now I’m BROKE!…LOL.

    Hugs & Blessings Paul,
    Your a true inspiration to me!
    Catherine Lyon XoXo 🙂

  44. Happy 3rd, Paul. I’ve been meaning to read this post for ages, and am so glad I got round to doing it. I wish you many, many more years of sobriety. Of acceptance. Of mindfulness. Of running towards your better self. Big hug. MtaA

    1. Ah thank you MtaA!! Big hug back to you – I hope you are doing well, as is Rosie 🙂 Give her a squeeze for me!

      Paul

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