See, the thing is this: I am adept at noticing problems. I can string together clever sentences and point them out in a snarky sarcastic way. I could get lots of clicks and likes if I want to spend my time expressing the shortcomings of institutions, corporations, laws even or especially people.
I have a vast network of online connections in which to congregate and unite with others who are also noticers of problems too. It works best when I gather with others who feel the same way, who side with me, who are right, just like I am right…
In fact, one of the main things I accomplish on this blog itself is to notice and point out problems. Usually I am holding the magnifying glass over some unsightly defect in my own character. I find it therapeutic to wax poetic and ‘share’ my innermost insecurities or shortcomings. Somehow, I once decided that this act in and of itself defined a certain level of bravery. Currently-popular is the concept of personal authenticity. I must believe that defining my own problems publicly can separate and elevate me in a unique way.
Even as I am typing this tonight, I am feeling the drag, like I’m wading waist-deep in my own Bee Esss.
Something occurred to me this week, as I posted a screenshot, notifying the facebook world that I have now hit the 4 year mark on this journey of sobriety. I had a realization that the effort of refusing alcohol as a way of life, was the actual work and the actual progress made, after noticing it was causing problems in my life.
For years, I knew that the results of some interactions with alcohol were negative for me, and sometimes for others. For years, I was aware, cleverly and snarkily and sarcastically, that alcohol wasn’t the savior and salvation of life’s problems like it commonly referred to be. I knew about the problems, but that didn’t make any impact at the time. I still experienced all the ups and downs, good times and bad, all the while knowing dangers inherent.
My point is this: Lots of time is spent these days, talking about, typing about, reading about and discussing problems. These problems may be inner ones, like my love-hate relationship with beer, wine, scotch and whiskey. They may be problems with the world around us, like gun violence, presidential candidates, or the dramas recorded on Franklin County Swap and Talk. All these things grab our attention and beg us to comment upon them. We can build ourselves a whole personality, just focused on the style and type of problems we are experts at noticing…
Anyway… We are now able to ‘do’ commentating as a hobby in quite public and dynamic ways. We can share posts online or write our own words of wisdom. All of it however, is a waste of time. Maybe this blog itself, could be categorized like that too.
The actions of sobriety have very little to do with being able to call someone else out on their drunken mistakes. Self-loathing and hungover hours spent wallowing in an emotional pity party, aren’t solutions either. The physical moments of passing on the opportunity to drink, are the hardest parts of them all.
I am not sure that experiencing 4 years of sobriety has even improved my life that much. Honestly, it has brought me almost as much heartache as drunken debauchery did. It is too hard sometimes and God has to carry me through, when I don’t want to do it anymore on my own.
The point here is this: There is actually very little to talk about, when we are solving problems, instead of just discussing them. Solutions aren’t only based in words spoken, or text typed on screen, or definitely not present in a quickly forwarded article post online. Those moments are times when we are putting off and giving ourselves just a little more distance and time and procrastination before really creating a true solution.
When we are in the moments of solving our problems or problems in our community or world at large, the silence tells the story. It may come across more in the salty sweat of hard work, or the repeated heartfelt action of a kind gesture, or a solemn moment, moving away in self-control, from the draw of temptations.
In the still, small voice of God, lies the peace of Christ, and endless love. The clamor and clatter, thumping loud blasts of opinion and rhetoric are vapor and glittery mist. The substance doesn’t lie within those words, but in the physical brute motion of our intentions. Our feet will show us what is actually important, where we find them, we find our truth.
Thanks be to God that I was blessed enough to believe for a small moment that He would help me on my journey if I asked Him to. So far, God has not abandoned me, one tiny, silent, hard-fought sober moment at a time.
Until next week.