Paulelmo's Blog

Stumbling on Happiness with Sober Legs

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Wine, Bottle, Wine Bottle, Alcohol, Alcoholic, Winery

I wrote recently about the legs of the sober life at five and a half years in, and I want to expand on that some.

When I was wanting to drink less, or not at all, that was the only victory I could see. I couldn’t imagine all of the benefits that come from a sober life because I had no experience living a sober life.

I read a book a few years back called Stumbling on Happiness, which was written by Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert. I highly recommend the read. One of the central thoughts is that we’re poor predictors about what will make us happy, which is largely because we can only imagine the future through the filter of our past and present. We haven’t lived the future.

Gilbert suggests we seek out people who are living lives like we want to live to help us imagine what we’re hoping for, but that’s stuff for another time.

I wanted to quit drinking, but the only way I could imagine quitting drinking was by not being a drinker, and not drinking was the only aspect of not being a drinker that I could imagine, and I couldn’t even imagine that well.

Time shows us that drinking is just the start of it. I stopped drinking, and then I gave up smoking for vaping. (Think what you want about vaping, but as a former smoker I can tell you that vaping is healthier for me.) That led to better sleep and more energy. I began running again for the first time in years. I gave up soda…for the most part. I weigh 15 pounds less than I did when I was drinking. I’m more confident, and I’m better at everything I do. I think clearer, see more clearly, hear better; I have a better sense of smell, and I’m more sure-handed and sure-footed. I’m more patient, and I am seldom hurried.

The best change of it all might be this: I go to bed every night proud of how I lived the day. Every night.

Most of these were parts of my goal that I didn’t know existed, things I couldn’t have imagined, having never lived them.

And a serious attention to what I eat is what comes next. And now we’re here, and I really don’t know what my point was. I’ve made points, and the post is viable, but I just have the idea that I was working toward something else, which I cannot recall now.

Wha’ya gonna do? Stuff for another day I guess. Be well, friends, and treat yourselves well. I’ll see you back here soon.

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