Cheap Coffee and A Rich Inner World
Sobriety smells like Folgers roasting on the burner. Members of the group take turns, walking up to the pot, pouring the brown liquid into white, Styrofoam cups. The environmentally unfriendly kind; as if alcoholics need more toxins in their already polluted bodies. It also smells like cigarette smoke, left over fumes that carry on clothing from the outside world. The members take puffs before and after the meeting begins, getting in a bit of cheap meditation, a moment of solitude from their addict brain thoughts. Anyone who says sobriety is glamorous is lying.
So why do people do it then? Giving up all forms of numbing, self-medicating and escaping in the name of church basements and the overconsumption of caffeine. Why on earth would anyone agree to this?
For most people who enter into a path of sobriety, it's not usually a choice. No one shows up to a 12-step meeting because his or her life is going fabulously. They typically do so because their options have run out. Dangerous addictions have gotten the best of them and their lives have become unmanageable.
Addicts, like most humans, are constantly searching for something outside of themselves. And in today's world, this pursuit is not only encouraged, it has become the norm. Unhealthily obsessed with The Conquer. The proper acquisition of the perfect job, the perfect body, the perfect high, the perfect partner, the perfect bank account, the perfect amount of social medial followers. But in many ways, the only thing we are all perfect at is acting like addicts.
Of course, not all human beings need a daily dose of AA meetings, but one of the common threads between people in the rooms and out of the rooms is this excruciating, external search. The kind that all spiritual paths say one must give up if you want to reach enlightenment. Err… enlighten-what? I am certainly no Buddha and a far cry from Mother Mary. Enlightenment has sounded like a boring place to be. Can't we just get high?
Well no, we can't, not anymore, since I have made a vow of abstinence. But, what about birthdays and music festivals and dates? Do you really expect me to Tinder sober? Don't you understand that me as me is not enough? That I need something to make everything better? More fun? Different? Exciting?
Soon I would learn that sobriety meant giving up the idea that something outside of myself could increase the value of my life. It meant turning inwards and implementing a spiritual path, rather then a material manhunt. The obsession with the guy, the drug, the image, the cookie or creative achievement that would somehow fix the emptiness I felt inside had to be dropped.
By my mid 20s, I had found that none of these things kept me feeling good for very long. And what comes up, must go down. And down, down I would go. Into dark places of depression, shame and isolation. Whatever high I did feel, no longer justified the low.
Sobriety also meant getting really f*cking honest on a daily basis. I no longer could use the social lubricants that once worked so well, or rely on drug highs to keep things or people interesting. When I woke up, I remembered it all: the night before, who I was and who I was not. Like it or not, there was no escaping the present moment.
Metaphorical rain or shine, I kept going to meetings and not drinking. And sometimes it was great and sometimes it was miserable. I was told to show up when it hurt the most, to share when fear sat in my throat and to be of service whenever possible. Daily prayer and meditation were also part of the deal. "Drop to your knees every morning and whenever things get tricky." said a friend during our daily call. This was no longer just a requirement of giving up drugs and alcohol. It was a decision to become fierce in my pursuit of a happy life.
Truth. A God of your own making. An endless conquering of yourself. Connecting with a Higher Power. Turning it all over. That is what I have come to know sobriety as. It is definitely not easy. In fact, it is one of the hardest things I have ever done. Showing up. Again and again. Telling my truth as I rattle with nerves. Admitting to my faults and character defects. And trusting that it will all be ok anyway.
What I once didn't realize was that getting high was my way of getting closer to God. Now that I know how to do that in a healthy way, it's much easier to say bye bye to the drugs. Well, maybe not easy. But worth the peace, love and serenity that sobriety can offer. Styrofoam cups and all.
Kenna resides in sunny Los Angeles but jumps at the chance to travel whenever the opportunity arises.As far as writing goes, she is currently working on her first memoir that has an Eat Pray Love meets Prozac Nation meets Wolf On Wall Street sort of vibe. In addition to the book, she also spends her time crafting articles for afterpartychat.com. When Kenna is not writing, she can be found working as a Theta Healer and workshop facilitator at Liberate Emporium, a healing center in Los Feliz. She believes that consciousness, creativity and a sense of community are the major keys to finding true peace and wholeness in one’s life on earth. Cheers to getting addicted to the good stuff!