Dear Son: Here are 10 things I've learned about life in the 14 years since my last drink

Dear Son: Here are 10 things I've learned about life in the 14 years since my last drink

Dear Son-

A bajillion years ago I was an entirely different person with a bad habit. Mommy was a bit of a bitch, son. Then I stopped the bad habit. And here is some sober advice for you that I learned from living in reality for 14 years. In a row. (Take it or leave it. Because #3...)

1. Don’t compare your “kick off” to other people’s “halftime show." When I was drinking, I was less Keith Richards, more hungover Blossom.  I did nothing with or for my life for a lot of years. In a row. When I finally quit my liquid hobby, I fumbled around in the dark for a little while, looking for a light switch. When I finally found it, and flipped it on, a bunch of people my age were sitting at red lights in their Audis, polishing the medals around their necks.

I will admit, there have been days when it has been a struggle not to switch the light back off, slam the door shut, then graffiti the door with profanities. But I’ve learned it is up to me to silence the Voice of Baloney that hisses its Baloney Voice into my ears: You blew it, kid. The success train is gone. Lookie there: Patty from high school has a garage with bikes hanging from hooks in the ceiling…

But I am where I am, and it’s cool. No, it’s more than cool. It’s perfect. Because I get to do my thing. I get to enjoy my own ride. I get to watch my sun rise. Other people are just in different places with things, and their path is kinda none of your business, anyway. Which brings me to...

2. Life is not a competition. The Ugly Truth: I am prone to bare knuckled fistfights of mental combat against envy.  But when I try to fit jealousy into the Paradigm of Infinity I’ve come to believe in, it is reduced to a (stunningly stubborn) square peg.

When you laugh, for example, is there less laughter for others to enjoy?  If I get the flu, is one less person out there off the flu hook? Good Fortune is not being ladled out of a finite pot by some cosmic Dickensian taskmaster.  These days, when the fruits of friends’ labor get warmed by the Fire of Fortune, I view those flames as Indubitable Proof of Available Goodness. And then I put my attention back on what’s on my plate.

3. There is not a Universal Right Way to Do Stuff. Beware those who tell you that there is a black and white morality to your actions!!! Let the Jiminy Cricket of your soul be the final judge jury, and bailiff.  This I have learned after stumbling so hard over dogma that I scraped my face off on the gravel below.

Similarly, do not feel that, in making big decisions, to make the wrong decision will mean less happiness/luck/joy/a shot at something. I don’t believe that the Universe is a trickster playing Let’s Make a Deal, and if we choose the right door, we will end up the proud owner of an Audi, but if we chose wrongly, we will end up with a fishbowl of beets. There is good stuff behind both doors. What matters is what you do on the other side of the door.

4. There is always Something Else. THIS IS SO TRUE, BUDDY. Doors close, sometimes on your fingers. Be careful not to stare at that closed door for too long. The universe is infinite. There is always Something Else. Do not get dragged behind the Horse of What Was. It will eventually rip all of your skin off, and skin takes forever to grow back. And blech.

5. The only reason that we have a Culture of Youth is because of attrition. (And, perhaps, a one-two punch of fear and big screen tv’s) Everything is possible, always. All that’s needed is action, heart, and focus.

6. Mutual Magic or Bust:  I can’t be in it to adore. I can’t be in it to be adored. Uneven is not fair, and it doesn’ t work.

7. What you focus your attention on grows.  Handle with care.

8. Pay more attention to what’s ahead than what is. This is a tricky concept, especially since the advent of the Zukavian Revolution of Now. And that Now stuff is super powerful. I have found, in times of great distress or discomfort, that when I have come close to the stillness of Truly Now, things have shifted in my favor. It’s like in being so still, I become a Maypole of my own life, and the forces weave and dance themselves in fantastic designs only to be accomplished through my stillness.

But being in the Now doesn’t mean you have to sink to the bottom. Even in stillness, you can rise. How?  Eyes up! Keep your focus on the destination. Match it, so it can recognize you. Be a lighthouse, and point your beam to the horizon. Your ship will find you.

9. There is a "lie" in every belief. It's right there in the word.

10. Don't smoke cigarettes. They are expensive, they make you stink, and few things are more uncomfortable than listening to a smoker cough.

Good luck to you, big man.  I will always be your biggest fan.


That is my piece, and that is my peace. Thank you for taking the time to read my silly words. It means the world. Carry on...

Old Single Mom
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