Saturday, September 26, 2009

Not "Giving It Up"

There was an interesting article at Salon, here, about a woman who wants to find the right man and get married but is pained at the idea of "giving up" her present lifestyle of meeting neat guys at parties and sleeping with them. The columnist's advice is not bad, but it's not quite what I would have said, and it's quite interesting how many of the commenters suggested that she stop drinking for a while even though drinking was not mentioned in her story. I did sort of agree with the commenters.

I hadn't really thought of it quite as specifically until now, but the focus of my sobriety is that my life has changed. Initially it was that I had "given up drinking," but one needs to move past that and seek a change of life. If the focus remains indefinitely on "I'm giving up drinking," then sobriety is a negative and I suspect a return to drinking is all but inevitable. For me, sobriety is a very powerful and positive aspect of my life, to the point that the negativity of "I can't drink" is really no longer even a significantly tangible part of it. I don't drink, of course, but that seems almost incidental to my sobriety even while being foundational to it.

So my advice to the young woman would be to not focus on the "I'm giving up partying," and rather recognize that she is moving from one phase of life to another, that she has become a different person with new ambitions and values and that exploring that person is an adventure. She doesn't know where that adventure will take her, but that's okay, because the joy is not in the destination, it's in the adventure itself.