• David Sales

Just Hold On

I can sum up everything I know about life in one word... nothing.

Sure, sometimes I might think I know a little, but something inevitably makes good and sure that I am reminded I don't. I think it is human nature to want some level of control over our lives, but life is not a proven mathematical equation whereby 1 plus 2 will always equal 3. If you really like math, the best I can give you is the probability that 1 plus 2 will equal 3, but then again, it may not.

I suppose that is why it has taken me so long to accept that life is just easier without firm expectations. I can have desires, hopes, dreams, and goals, but no matter what, there will always be uncertainty. However, accepting such a concept and embracing the very uncertainty that I've always feared is a whole new level of freaky wizardry I have yet to master. When I imagine living my life that way, I can envision an inner peace that was once unattainable. I am still, and probably always will be, learning.

I have, as of May 23rd, been abstinent from alcohol for 17 months. For me, such an accomplishment was completely unthinkable to me. I have failed so many times, but it seems I have finally settled into a life of freedom from that addiction, which has allowed me to work on myself, giving myself the gift of time to heal some long festering wounds that made life hard to live. One would think, after all this time, I would be better at life, things would feel better inside every day, and I would speed along the trail to perfection. So why, for almost 3 weeks, did I feel so defeated and sad - day after day feeling empty, discouraged, and just holding on?

Expectation of certainty. I expected that 1 plus 2 would equal 3, but this time when I added it up, it appeared to be equalling 0.

Of course now, weeks later, it appears quite obvious that I had fallen into the trap of expectation, focusing solely on the outcome, and trying to make the equation, whereby sobriety and action would equal a level of progress I thought it should. I didn't do this on purpose, but I had been drifting between 2 worlds that I have no control of... the future and the past.

Mostly, I seem to have regained some footing, though slippery in the present. Here, in the safety of the now, I have a better perspective and the world around me doesn't feel so out of control. Finding my way back to today proves to me once again that the most important lesson I have learned in my recovery is that when things seem shitty, hopeless, or pointless, I just need to hold on. Find something to hold on to, hold on to it, and no matter what... do not let go. As long as I do that, the probability is in my favour that whatever is trying to suck me into giving up will tire and I will be alright.

Looking back, I forgive myself for falling down a little. It really hasn't been that long since I have accepted I am worthy of emotions and to feel hurt, to grieve, to mourn the past, and allow myself the time to heal. That empathy for myself, while so important to my growth as a human being, is new for me and I suppose like anything new, it takes time to get better at it.

This time of year brings with it much personal sadness, genuine remorse, and stinging grief. Mother's Day and my dear mother's passing separated by mere days, the passing of other people close to me occupy my mind, thinking of my best friend gone too soon, and desperately missing regular connection to my children and more left me feeling alone in the world again. All of it rolling around in my heart made for a toxic stew of uncomfortable emotions. To not drink away this putrid taste of inner turmoil, but let it run its course naturally, is also new. I hung on, didn't let go, and slowly the darkness drifted away and perhaps next time it won't last so long. Maybe next time 1 plus 2 might equal 1 or 2 or even 3?

Maybe I was wrong? Perhaps I know at least one thing about life. Sometimes we just hold on... and we don't let go.