What has surprised you the most about sober living?
Well, I guess the thing that surprises me the most is that I am not bored. I was so afraid to get sober because I believed that I would be bored all the time. It turns out that the boredom was when I was active either using drugs or alcohol. There’s so much time now to do things and I don’t get bored. Oh what a relief! Oh what a freedom!
What is your greatest joy?
I would have to say that my biggest joy these days is being present for my family, my friends and the people that I work with. I’m no longer “The Escape Artist” that I was for so many years, without even knowing that I was The Escape Artist. These days I’m the guy that remembers those little details. That just did not happen before. And to talk to my daughters and remember everything I said is such a gift.
What new hobbies have you explored in Recovery?
Well, it’s not so much a new hobby. I have always been a bird watcher. But toward the last few years of my substance abuse I was using those binoculars to hide from the world. I was out there getting so messed up that I couldn’t even hold the binoculars still. Today I’m a member of several bird pages, like the American Eagle Foundation and Cornell Lab. I’m even in touch with the local Audubon man when I spot interesting or exciting birds in the area. Now that’s a hobby I’ll carry for the rest of my life. It really sets me free. And another bonus of that is that I’ve turned my daughter’s on to watch birds and they both have bird feeders and they both text and call Dad when something wild occurs. Priceless!
If you could plan a perfect day for yourself, what would it involve?
Well, it would definitely be outdoors. It would be in early summer, perhaps late spring, with my best friend, Susan. Maybe in the valley between a couple of mountains on a nice walking trail with a river to follow. We would bring some food and just look at what God has given us. The natural high to me these days is being outdoors and in touch with nature. There is nothing like it and I searched for that all my life not knowing that it was right under my nose. So grateful!!!
What tool(s) do you rely on when you’re having a bad day?
Well, I think one of my most important and most successful tools is that pause moment. I pause looking for God, asking God what he would do in that situation. It’s made such a difference in my life instead of just flying off the handle and willy-nilly answering things that really had no foundation behind them.
Name one of your goals for the future.
One of my goals for the future is to become more available to others like me who need help. There’s such a movement in this country, in this world, for helping people with addictive personalities. I sponsored a few people and I’ve got a lot of joy out of that, even though the results weren’t great. But there’s so many foundations these days I would love to get onboard and try to help others in the same way that I was helped by so many people in Portland Maine when I first came in.
What’s one piece of advice you have for someone just starting their Recovery?
Well, I guess it would be that they have to learn how to be patient. I had no patience when I came in. I wanted everything to be all better overnight and it certainly doesn’t happen that way. One of my favorite slogans is “One day at a time.”
If you go by that one day at a time - you can break it down into one hour at a time, one minute at a time, and it works for me every single time.