As of Jan. 1, 2023, I am six years sober from alcohol, and have been on a journey of change ever since.
While the overall nature of sobriety is change ⏤ and the positive changes will be the majority ⏤ there are also some hard adjustments.
Other Observer stories (Column continues below)
In the past six years I have:
- Moved four times;
- Changed jobs about three times;
- Been through about six breakups, including one failed wedding engagement;
- Had my overall income chopped by more than half; and
- Taken about four or five different medications until I found one that worked to address my depression and anxiety.
Now, that all might seem like a fair amount of negative. However, each one of those things has led to an eventual positive.
The positive change from the negative start
Let’s go back over those while adding in the positive counterbalance.
I moved four times ⏤ because I was trying to get back home, and I did eventually. And I feel at home.
I changed jobs three times, because either the places didn’t fit me or I lost passion for what I was doing. Now I know what I want to do, and I embrace that just as passionately each day.
I had so many relationships fail because I wasn’t the right person for them or they weren’t the right person for me. Or, in some cases, I simply wasn’t in the right mental place for it. And now I know what I need to do to be a better partner.
I had my overall income chopped in half ⏤ so that I could start over in a field that I enjoy more. “To whom much is given, much is required,” is one of my father’s favorite quotes to use. And it’s true. The more money I had, the more of my time people expected me to give. So I gave up those financial bonds to take the time I needed to work on myself.
And I went through the unfortunate and, at times scary, guinea pig phase of taking medications in order to better address imbalances in myself. And now I’m more balanced for having gone through it and finding the right one.
Change is easy when you accept it’s about balance
Have the past six years gone exactly how I dreamed they would?
No, not even close. But they were never meant to.
The past six years of my life have been focused on becoming a different person. These years have been focused on cleaning away the dead parts of my old self and building back up the atrophied parts of my personality to give myself a better overall balance.
And any time you’re doing major work on yourself, you will encounter growing pains. You will encounter stagnation. And you will have to deal with self-doubt and the call of your old void in the world at times.
However, I can tell you ⏤ now six years removed from my old, addict life ⏤ those growing pains are worth the final result. And the pains of growing into a better person are far less severe than the pains of staying the same when you don’t want to.
The choice is yours
You always have the power to either change or stay the same.
If today you decided you wanted to live differently tomorrow, you could do it ⏤ as long as you completely commit to it.
You can’t bury something if you’re still holding on to it. Likewise, you can’t let go of your former self if you’re still clinging to the things that gave it life.
You can choose to outwardly be less so that you can inwardly be more.
It’s okay to do that. It’s okay to choose a different life ⏤ one that you can truly be happy and content in.
The choice is always yours.
Therefore, I guess the only question for anyone in my old shoes who’s dying to change is this: Have you made the right choice today?
Ep. 13: The problem of being overly positive – Inside the Mind of Daniel Thompson
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