To those dear souls for whom this level of honesty is awkward: grab your inhaler, a pillow or two, and Just. Look. Away. What follows are a few thoughts outlining my slow, daily march of sobriety.
And, never one to mince words, it’s been (insert happy superlative, or expletive, of choice) awesome. Like, so way much more awesomer than usual. I’m choosing to call it a time of sobrioteousness.
It is an awkward and wonderful marriage of sobriety, riotous joy, and deeper righteousness. The result has been a clearer head. It has scuttled out some pretty confusing stuff and ushered in a season of newness and productive self-reflection.
And, as one who has spent inordinate amounts of time in the swirling eddies of his own head, this would otherwise be dangerous, even inadvisable.
But times they are a’changin’ as someone once said. Thank you, Mr. Dylan.
I am presently experiencing that which those like me most avoid but for which we most long:
wait for it…
a normal life.
Just a few years ago such a prognosis would have struck terror in me. I mean, the very thought that I was anything less than stage-ready remarkable would have been an unthinkable travesty. Like Madonna with no marketing plan. Kanye West, the guy, not the god. Taylor Swift without the whining. Or the Kardashians, at all.
Much of our lives are lived in pursuit of that which we possess already – acceptance and love. It has certainly been the case for me.
Upon honest reflection, my life has often aimed itself at two primary goals: self-knowledge, and the safety found in praise and adulation. It can be hard to know the difference. It has prompted many, including myself, to ask the question, will the real Rob please stand up?
Of course, I don’t think it either right or prudent to simply write off all pursuits as efforts toward attaining acceptance and the praise of others. There will always be those things to which we naturally aspire.
For example, it would be hard to disattach from me all things Celtic. The skirl of bagpipes, the wild scuttle of Celtic music and the dark, mystical history that weaves it all together. This is the cut of my jib.
And, words. Long have they held sway over me, sometimes in euphoric, hypnotic ways. To read words placed well, taste them under the tongue, swallowing them raw and whole is genuinely nourishing. Those occasions when I feel I’ve written well leave me breathless. I’m seldom out of breath, but trying all the same.
I’ve always loved laughter and the humour that takes me there. I love whatever is funny and however I can be funny. From distant memory I recall possessing the ability to make people laugh.
That makes me happy.
I love to run. To some degree it has become every bit the addiction alcohol was, although with more respectable results. It too has defined how I see myself. How others see me. How I want to be seen.
All of this and more lines up to take its place in the panoply of influences, pursuits, passions, and proclivities that have come to represent, Rob.
Ironically, the older I get, and the deeper I move into the blessing of sobriety, the less interested I am in being unique and remarkable.
I do not spend as much time and energy looking for the wow factor, and that relieves the constant pressure to be unforgettable, memorable. Not dull or without significance or ability in my own right. Just part of something bigger; something beyond myself in which I can play a small part.
Instead of rejoicing in all the ways I am unique, I now find considerable comfort in all the ways I am just like everyone else. And, to my surprise, I’m no longer lonely.
I’m calling this phase of life, sobrioteous. I’m clean and sober, happily, riotously normal. And all of that may, in some small way, contribute to righteousness or the Bible’s description of “the good life.”
Thanks for listening…