“Been scared and only. I’ve asked myself is something wrong with you.” (Bottom of the Bottle, Smile Empty Soul) I’ve listened to this song so many times and those lyrics stand out the most. Life is not easy and sobriety hasn’t been either. If you are new to my blog, welcome to an experience like never before of a young black man detailing his experience on this planet, trying to help the world, and keep himself sane in the process.
It dawned on me yesterday that I just completed 2 years of sobriety. While this is a great accomplishment, I still feel empty some days. One minute I feel fine and the next minute I’m expressionless.. I never went into sobriety thinking this was going to be a cake walk and trust me, it has taken a lot of work and definitely, a lot of patience.
What nobody tells you about sobriety is that you can easily pick up another addiction to replace the one you have which I found out the hard way. One of my other addictions was sex. I’ve talked about this in other blogs but sex was something I’ve always craved. Whether it was with another woman or with myself, sex was like a drug. This wasn’t an easy pill to swallow. I mean just imagine telling yourself, “ I think I’m free from drinking. No wait, I still have this sex addiction to cure because this is what’s really been holding me back in life.” But today, I can happily so that I no longer engage in any form of sex and don’t have a desire to engage in meaningless connections with various women.
Overall, sobriety is about facing all of your addictions and personal insecurities one day at a time. And honestly, that’s a lot for many people to handle. I used to judge people for relapsing whenever it came to food, drugs, sex, or any kind of an addiction but when I learned that people are looking for two things: To be loved and to be understood, I stopped judging others and looked to understand them more. Unfortunately, in this society, it’s hard to get the proper love and understanding that actually feels 100% organic!
When you feel as if nobody understands you, you become somebody else. That’s why a lot of my interactions have felt awkward with many people. Normal everyday things like going to the movies, a restaurant, or just playing basketball almost seemed impossible some days because I was anxious about saying the wrong thing, how my clothes looked, or if these people really wanted me here to begin with. So during my sobriety, there were times I isolated myself and thought about relapsing. But I’m glad I didn’t though!
Mr. Timo Cruz from Coach Carter said, “Our deepest fear is that we are inadequate.” That has always been my problem. It’s never mattered how many times people have said, “Caleb, you’re really good at this!” I looked at them and just said, “Cool or thanks.” (depending on the person)
For the past month I’ve been constantly reminding myself everyday that I’m pretty good at what I do, that I’ve inspired a lot of people, and people really enjoy being around me. It hasn’t been easy but I’ve done my best to let go of my inner pessimism towards others and become more open-minded. At the end of the day not everyone is terrible. Yes, there are people who will hurt you and others who will help you. It depends on the person because not everyone is in their right mind these days. Some people will never take responsibility for anything that they’ve done either because they’re afraid or unaware of how their behavior has affected others. I used to take life so personal. Now, I just don’t care. I wish them the best from a far and keep it moving because I have better things to do.
Here are a couple of tips I’ve drawn up for anyone struggling right now with sobriety. Ultimately, it’s your choice to get sober but from my experience here is what helped me:
- Don’t take the moral high ground: You can’t judge others all of the time. Some people are going through things that you may never understand.
- Take cold showers: Cold showers eliminate negative thinking, headaches, and reduce inflammation
- Leave the house: Whenever I’m in the house too long I either go for a drive or a walk
- Hang out with people: This is one tricky. For me I had to cut a lot of people off. I find for myself it’s best not to hang out in clubs and bars if you get triggered by sexual acts or drinking. One false move and you can relapse very quickly. Instead, hang out at the movies, a friends house, or a restaurant
- Positive thinking: Yes positive thinking works but please follow up with actions. So many people kid themselves when saying, “You just have to be positive and everything will be fine.” because life can be negative. Alot is going on with certain family members of mine and around this time of year I’m not very joyful. However, I don’t lie around in bed all day. The key is to stay focused and keep busy because idle hands are the devil’s plaything
- Prayer: Yes I know many people are not religious or may even label me a “Jesus freak” but prayers work when you have faith and good intentions. Prayer does not work when you have evil in your heart, you look down upon others, and overall, you just aren’t great to be around. Also, remember to pray for others and continue to have gratitude for being alive and well because unfortunately, many do not have that luxury.
- Check a MF: Yes, I said what I said. One of my character flaws is that I let too many things slide. Sometimes I say, “Let me chill” instead of saying, “Let me check them!” I know it may sound like a contradiction to prayer and my belief in God but it’s not. You need to let people know what they did was wrong. However, no need to yell at them. Just speak up in a strong tone and let them know, “Hey, what you did is not okay and here is why!” As stated earlier, people just don’t think because many of them are just off! They can’t empathize with people and may be a possible narcissist.
- Journaling: Writing down how you feel is a life changer. It has kept me so sane over the lockdown, my job, and other ventures and has been very beneficial to my long-term health.
- Therapy/counseling/rehab: Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. Many people are so self-sufficient that they forget that you need others to help you. (I did a video on extreme independence check it out!) Everybody deserves help but you have to be honest with yourself and ask, “Do I really want to get my life together!” because many people don’t. Many people will be told EXACTLY what is wrong with them to their face and will not take action. It is what it is!
I hope those tips are helpful for you. Remember, you can reach me via social media for any tips or if you just want to talk I’ll do my best to get back to you within 24-48 hours.
FB: Caleb Harris.716
Extreme Independence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXMMKxBEV14