Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Sober Life

By sober life, I mean living sober in all aspects of your life: spirituality, health, finances, and relationships. I recommend the sober life. It has joy potential because it offers freedom from most of what angers us. It is a life of binge abstinence, excess avoidance, consumption renunciation, and possession-less existence.

What I think of as the sober life may have been considered asceticism in former times. I stress that I do not live sober as a penance, but as a seeking for communion. I know sober living seems drab to many. I stress that its focus is on the art of spiritual living. The rewards are a fine body, awareness of God, peace, love and freedom.

The sober life includes a great awareness of God. To gain this awareness, the sober person drops from their life the distractions mentioned above (binges, excesses, consumptions, possessions) and instead puts their focus on The Presence. What is boredom to the non-sober is communion to the sober. These times of non-activity are when the sober person experiences the reward of sobriety; communion. Most people would do anything to avoid boredom; but it has not occurred to them that unoccupied time is exactly what is needed to connect with the Divine Presence. Well, connecting with the Divine Presence is not on their agenda, so I guess this doesn’t matter. Why I got so hung up on God is the most dramatic feature of my life. Not very many people become so obcessed.

I would do anything to experience communion; and I pretty much have: going to church or not going to church; joining a monastery; running ultra-long distances; fasting or over-eating; vigils; solitude; spiritual direction; reading; sex; 12 Step Fellowship meetings; etc. In some ways, all of these things are unnecessary, but I didn’t know that at the time. Now all I do is remain sober.

A sober life is trudged day after day. I know I have described the most boring and tedious life there could be. I share this as I am mulling over the temporary demise of my sobriety when I moved to the city and got a very demanding job. Now I am reformulating my sobriety to work with the people who are here and the other circumstances of my new life.

The building where I work is a three story brick structure of offices with an open courtyard in the center. It looks remarkably like the cloistered convent I used to live in. This morning, I have been writing up process hazard analysis reports for thiocarbohydrazide and tebuconazole. I'll never get Alzheimer's as long as I have to analyze these complicated processes. This afternoon I will go to a meeting on the new offices. After work, I'll go down to the basement and use the gym. The normal coffee station is out of commission during renovations. I've had to adjust my habits to find an alternative source of free coffee. I drink coffee because sitting in an office writing reports makes my eyelids heavy sometimes. They brought me a new phone today; and then said it wouldn't exactly work for another week. Today's emergency was a false alarm; a sprinkler head got bumped in a warehouse.

Saturday is the Kansas City marathon. I will be one of many runners experiencing what 26.2 miles can do to a body. But then, I'll return to sober running. Doing miles day after day is the best part of my life. I ran three miles this morning. It was wonderful.

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