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7 Things I’ve Learned in 7 Years of Sobriety
by Ben Emerling
Lucky number seven, Seven Seas, Seven Heavens, Seven Continents, Seven Colors in the Rainbow, Seven Notes on a musical scale, Seven days in a week, Seven Wonders of the World and for me seven years of sobriety. I say lucky for me because I shouldn’t be alive today. A lot can happen in seven years and the greatest part about being sober throughout, is the fact that I cherished every moment. So much can happen in seven years and so much more can happen if you are constantly changing. Through my years of sobriety these are the seven most important things I have learned.
Don’t take life so seriously
Of course there will be matters in life that need to be handled with all caution and care. However, when you walk around sensitive to everything you will end up living a stressful life. Don’t make a mountain out of a molehole. You will never get to enjoys the beauty of each day if you take everything so serious. Ease up and relax, nothing is that important to ruin your day over.
Let go of any resentment you have
Resentment is the mental process of repetitively replaying a feeling and the events leading up to it, that goads or angers us. Holding on to a resentment is one of the main reasons people relapse. Metaphorically speaking, keeping a close grasp of a resentment is like you are drinking poison and expecting other people to suffer from it. It is impossible to live 100% resentment free but it is important that if one arises it gets handled immediately. Resentments are somewhat like the whack-a-mole, once one is handled another will pop up. In order to live a happier life, live without resentments
You only have control of yourself
This may seem like an obvious one but I struggled with this for a while. I don’t know how many times in my life I have heard “you have no control over people, places or things.” As much as I wish I did I don’t. The only thing I have control over is my actions. People will and have disappointed me in the pass, I have been treated unfairly and people make mistakes but all I have control over is how I react.
Relationships are the most important thing in lifestyle
When I was using, I couldn’t maintain a healthy relationship with anyone except for my drug dealer. I isolated from my family and friends while they wanted nothing to do with me. If you didn’t have drugs, money or alcohol for me, I had no interest in you whatsoever. I burned bridges with just about everyone close to me and showed no remorse. Today however, maintaining healthy relationships with family, friends and anyone I encounter is one of the most important things to me. I have built back trust with everyone close to me and my word actually means something. Without the support of my family and friends I wouldn’t be where I am at today. So for that, I am forever grateful.
Materialistic items/things mean nothing at all
I used to think life was about driving fancy cars, wearing designer brands, living in mansions and being surrounded by super models. Well, yeah I still fantasize about that but none of that mean anything if you are not happy. The old phrase “money can’t buy you happiness” applies for this situation. Happiness comes from within and as long as you have the essentials in life everything else is just extra.
Always take care of number 1
Like they say in an emergency situation on an airplane “Put your oxygen mask on before assisting others.” AA and NA are programs are programs of giving back but how can you give back if you have nothing to give. No matter what it is important to take the best care of yourself as possible. It is the secret to a life filled with contentment and happiness. Taking good care of yourself includes getting sufficient sleep, eating healthy, regular exercise and healthy relationships.
Life is awesome
Every day that I wake up sober is a blessing. There were many years of my life that there was even doubt I was going to wake up at all. I try my hardest to make the best out of every day, my worst day sober is far better than my best day getting high. Life hits everyone hard and there will always be hardship but there are many tools in recovery that help me get through it. I make it a personal goal of mine to do something that I love every day. Life will remain and continue to be awesome if I continue the path that I am on.