Things were supposed to get easier. Stuff was going to just start going right.
The seas were supposed to part and blue skies and rainbows were going to appear.
But they didn’t. And that’s life.
I stopped drinking six months ago. It was a conscious decision to stop destroying my life by escaping reality. It was the right choice, and it has been difficult.
I had built up a considerable persona around drinking and what I “deserved” from life. Mostly I was getting drunk because I had convinced myself that I deserved a “break”. I called it a mini-vacation. I work hard and carry a lot of stress. I rationalized a lot of reasons to drink, and spent a great deal of time and money on the subject.
However, most “normal” people don’t take vacations every other day. And no one “deserves” to have a beer with lunch, every day. My drinking had destroyed my career to the point that I could only work for myself, and starting and running a business is best done sober.
So I made the decision to stop and joined AA. I started going to meetings, solicited the help of family and friends, and hopped right onto what us AA-ers call the happy “pink cloud.”
Then something happened: nothing.
A lot changed, don’t get me wrong. There were a lot of things that had to change, and even some that got better. But part of me expected that this one decision would somehow become this magical catalyst for a life change. It wasn’t.
Part of me expected doors to be automatically opened in my career again. Like people would just forget who I was because I was “new man”. I was secretly making a bargain with my Higher Power, that I was going to get special treatment in exchange for the “sacrifice” I was making. But there was no bargain.
Because life doesn’t work like that and it ain’t easy. It gets easier when you deal with it directly and honestly, but no one paves the streets with gold for you.
I still have to fight my way out of a mountain of debt from years of starting over and taking career setbacks.
I still have to work twice as hard to rebuild my professional reputation, while working in positions that I’d graduated from seven years ago.
And I still have to work hard daily to rebuild the broken relationships I’ve left in my path.
Life is still hard. And that’s OK.