People with a belief in an afterlife have a strong reason to get sober. Christians, for one, condemn gluttony as a sin that would keep them out of heaven. There’s not a religion I know of that condones overindulgence. But what of the atheist or existentialist? Does it matter if you die sober or not? After all, we end up the same way, don’t we?
It does matter how you live your life. I didn’t always think so. I used to think that with 6 billion people in the world, individual action didn’t affect humanity as a whole. But in a sense, you don’t live with that many people in the world. Your world is made up of only a few hundred people, with a few thousand in your periphery. Your actual involved world is not very big, and you’re a significant part of it.
Everyone gets a life. That’s part of the deal. For some it may last only minutes, and for others it may last a hundred years. There are no guarantees on how long it is or how good it is. Maybe other people are right, and you get to come back again and again until you get it right, but we have no proof of that. What is true, no matter your religion or philosophy, is that we do get one at least. One life for everyone.
During fifteen years of drug and alcohol use, I talked about being a writer. I wrote one book in that whole time. Since then, this is my third book. I’ve also released a comedy CD. I was afraid I was giving up my writer’s life to get sober, but just the opposite happened. I was able to achieve my goals, surprisingly easily, while sober.
I’ve done amazing things while sober. Since 2002, my life has been unreal. I’ve done shows on nights with musicians such as Fiona Apple and Joe Walsh. I’ve opened for heroes of mine like Jello Biafra and Lydia Lunch. I’ve gotten to know some really wonderful creative people like Greg Proops and Amber Tamblyn. I had an expense-paid trip to Australia.
Every day is a second chance for me. I could’ve easily died from drinking or from my drinking-induced chaos. I had a life and almost wasted it. I’ve had more fun since 2002 than I did the whole rest of my life. Every new person I meet, every new movie I see, every book I read are all things I would not have had had I not gotten my shit together.
Your best days are ahead of you. The movie starts when the guy gets sober and puts his life back together; it doesn’t end there. Adventures await you. You can have whatever you want. Most of all, you can be happy.
My first year sober, I heard a guy share his story about going to Antarctica and living at a science facility there for a year. On a whim, he decided to go to Antarctica and got his affairs in order and did it. It struck me that I could go to Antarctica. I could go anywhere. I could do anything. But what did I want to do? I had no idea what I really wanted to do.
I spent the meeting stunned, realizing I could pursue any dream I had now that I wasn’t being weighted down with this daily casting anchor of booze. I could go back to college. I could act in plays. I could film a movie. I could move anywhere in the country I wanted to go. There were
infinite options, where months before the option was Get A Bottle Of Whiskey.After the meeting, I found the speaker outside. I can’t remember our conversation, I just remember what he said at the end of it: Be Great In Your Sobriety.
Wow, I thought, I can be great! Now I have to figure out at what. . . .
Just as most of this book is knowledge I have gained over late-night coffee, food, and milkshakes after meetings, this is my final message to pass on to you, as it was to me. It’s time for you to get up and take what is yours. You matter. Be great in your sobriety.