Day 14: Kool-Aid For Cynics

Scheduling is tight.

I thought that when I quit my job in order to get sober, that I’d be struggling to fill in large chunks of free time in my schedule.

I was worried. How was I going to stay sober between rehab and meetings? I wrote down a list of things that I could do to keep me out of the bar. The list in my iPhone “To Do” app is as follows:

  • Manicure-Pedicure
  • Hiking
  • IKEA
  • Clothes shopping
  • Gym
  • Making pie
  • Reading
  • Biking
  • Playing Banjo

You can see why I was nervous.

In retrospect, this is the most ludicrous and vapid list I have ever made. Nine. Nine fucking things to do. And, while a few are semi-productive and aimed at bettering myself or my health, in my new found sobriety, I can see that these things could not have taken me far, or kept me sober, for very long. Reading them now, I can see just how isolated I was when I was about to embark on this journey.

While I may harp on about AA here, to a point where you may wonder when I signed up to drink the Kool-Aid, I just can’t say enough about how this program has changed my life, and how I think about things. It’s changing me on a fundamental level, in such a short period of time, that even I’m astounded. It’s pretty fucking profound. And, I’m a pretty tough critic. For most of my adult life, I would have defined myself as a cynic:

cyn·ic [sin-ik] noun

1. a person who believes that only selfishness motivates human actions and who disbelieves in or minimizes selfless acts or disinterested points of view.

What’s hilarious about this definition is, cynics are the selfish ones. I know I was. I spent so much time brooding. Hating the world, the people who wronged me. The infinite injustice of life, even in the best of circumstances. Yet, there I sat at the bar. Doing nothing. Giving nothing. Accomplishing nothing. Only hating my own existence and blaming others for it.

AA has somehow given me the wherewithal to get up, go out, and DO. Maybe it’s just little things for the time being, but, in doing those little things, I am gradually beginning to see that, I can do big things. I just have to take ownership of my life and world. And, that doesn’t mean I have to run for office, be a rockstar, or a Pulitzer prize winner. It simply means I have to get out there and give of myself.

This week and weekend, I struggled to find  a moment to sit on my couch and reflect. Between meetings (lots of meetings), the gym, yoga, hanging out with new friends, working on my step homework for my sponsor…I’ve been up and about non-stop. I’ve arranged my schedule tomorrow so that I can actually make time to sit down and watch a movie.

I never for a second thought that being unemployed, in AA and rehab, would keep me so busy.

I’m grateful. If you had told me a month ago, over a Stoli soda with lime, that I’d have such a full life without vodka, I would have laughed in your face, smugly. If I were to meet that woman at the bar today, that other version of myself, I’d feel sorry for her, and she, she’d think I was crazy.

Fuckin’ cynics.


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