31 Dec Making The New Year Count
So much has changed for the better in the past couple years. I will have two years of sobriety in April, and the closer it gets, the more unbelievable it becomes. Before sobriety I had nothing on the horizon, but now all I can do every day is walk the road in anticipation of what’s coming around the corner. Every day is the start of a new page in a chapter of my life, and around every corner could be a major plot twist.
That’s why I really can appreciate the holidays a lot more now. New Year’s Eve is a perfect time to put the last sentence in on the page, and start up a new chapter. The way I look at it, is that if I had the experience of my life last year, then what does this upcoming New Year have in store for me?
New Year’s is all about discarding some of your old traits, and habits to make room for something new, as well as setting new goals and aspirations for yourself, and trying out new experiences. Last New Year’s was the exact opposite of the one before it. Instead of complaining about life with two friends, I was at a dance with all 30 of my new friends from New Life. We all went to a big sober dance and had a great time. I was very afraid to go, because I didn’t know how to dance, and I’d never done anything like that before. I had no idea what I was doing there, and I put up a huge fight to try not to go. But, once I got there all of that changed. I had a few friends there with the same experience, and we all decided to walk through the discomfort together. We were afraid, and I’m sure we looked ridiculous from an outside perspective. But, we tried our best and enjoyed ourselves in the process. A few of my friends and I danced with some pretty good looking girls, and we were stoked to say the least. We got home and shared our experiences, laughed about our mistakes on the dance floor, and walked away with an experience we’ll never forget. If I didn’t have my friends to push me through that, then I never would have tried. That’s what I have come to find New Year’s is about. It’s about walking through the fear and trying something new. Without what I have learned at New Life House, and all of my friends, I never would have found out what that feels like.
This year I am trying not to put many expectations on what is around the corner. But, that’s not to say that I’m not coming up with goals for myself. There are some on the list, like to make more money, or to work out more. But, most of them are spiritual, and mental goals. Some of these have to do with hitting a certain amount of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings per week, and doing a specific amount of step work per night. But, I would say one of the most important to me is the amount of service I want to be of to others this coming year. I want to find 2 ways to be of service to another person every day. It could be something small like hanging out with a struggling alcoholic, or even taking time out of my day to drive someone to San Diego and back if need be. I believe that it’s through service that most people with long term sobriety stay sober. I want to take a page out of their book and practice more of it myself. When I was in New Life House, we all spent most of our days being of service to one another. It built us a strong community, and a home that none of us could have ever expected. Now that I am out of my house I consistently look for new ways to stay busy helping my family, friends, and fellow recovering alcoholics.
We all have our own perspectives on what the holidays mean to us. I know for me it means to walk through fear, be useful to others, and have new experience. I spent the whole time that I drank and used doing the exact same thing every day. I had the same feelings, the same thoughts, and the same pain every day. I have never had goals for my life until now, and I gave up to the fact that my life was going the way it was supposed to be. I couldn’t have gotten anything different without putting in the effort to see a change. Now that I have been given the opportunity to start fresh, there is no way i would squander the opportunity by resting on my laurels. As a good friend, and mentor of mine once said… “You can’t let life blow you around, and carry you all the time like a leaf. You need to give your will up, and let God pave a path for you. But, it’s up to you to walk the path to where you want to go.” That is exactly what I plan to do. I plan to accept what is coming my way, and work my absolute hardest to get the most out of the opportunities that are given to me. It’s up to us whether we want to make this New Year’s count. So, I hope you have an amazing New Year’s Day, and a great following year to match it!
-Anthony B., New Life House alumni