Discovering Myself in Sobriety
Sobriety / / Jan 22, 2018
Reflecting on my life prior to sobriety is always an interesting journey. I spent many years occupying a body that I completely wasn’t in touch with. The deeper I get to know myself today, the more I realize how far I was missing the mark. I feel like I was waiting for someone to come along and tell me who to be because I didn’t receive the manual to my own life. I spent many years searching for a label that felt right to me; the jock, the stoner, the center of the party, the rebel – doing the opposite of whatever you are.
Though my intentions weren’t negative, I was looking externally for some identity that could only come from inside of me. When I am being my true self, authentically, I have ended up wherever I needed to be. The best has been when a teacher was there waiting for me, revealing a new side of me I had yet seen. Though this has been a discovery of self, I haven’t had to travel alone.
Self-discovery lies within the small print of getting sober. In the beginning, I had no idea it was waiting for me or that it would even be something that I wanted. One of my favorite past times when I was younger was trying to figure out other people- what you liked, who you were, and where you’d been. I wanted to emulate you so you would like and accept me. I lost myself in this. There were so many years of just wanting to be what I perceived in others. I believe that to some extent this is a normal part of growing up, but what seemed like a phase for others was something I was comfortable with permanently.
Then at one of the worst moments of my life I am hit with reality. I was completely bankrupt; every idea I had, plan I had made, and vision for my future was completely gone. Everything I tied to my identity to was evaporating before my eyes. A career, school, family, friends, and even happiness seemed like it was so far away from me. I became hopeless. I walked through a process of seeing what and who I had been and was given the choice of facing it or running away. At the time this felt like such a strenuous and difficult thing to do. It was as if someone asked me to clean my room after 20 years of letting the trash pile up. It was a wreck, but once I cleared out all the trash, dirty laundry, and old food I found something beautiful.
I was clueless on what I was doing in life, who I was as an individual, how I could fit into this world. I had a bunch of coping mechanisms and survival skills that had proven to be useless. However, at the end of that process, I saw myself. For the first time in my life I saw Joffrey, and I was amazed. I’m not perfect, but the cool thing is that I realized I don’t have to be. It’s beautiful.
Getting comfortable in my own skin started with loving my culture. I have become completely overjoyed with being a black man. Something that never interested me before or even seemed significant suddenly became a major part of my life. I wanted to learn the history of my family, my people in America, and everything in between. I have become so fascinated with these angelic people. Black is so much more than a skin color, it is a way of life that I could go on about for days. It’s intoxicating, and I’m so fortunate to be a part of it.
I found out I love to create. For the majority of my life I saw myself as a logical thinker and not very skilled when it came to freely expressing myself through any type of artistic outlet. My younger life wasn’t filled with any hobbies or pastimes so I didn’t feel like I was good at anything in particular. Since I’ve been sober I’ve found out that I am a singer, writer, storyteller, and posses the foundation to learn to express in any creative outlet.
Most of my life I was obsessed with and consumed by myself. I can remember being a senior in high school. I felt completely invisible when that year started. I changed schools several times and my home life wasn’t the best. I dove straight into the middle of everything hoping to find some sort of self worth. I played 5 sports that year, joined two clubs, and was at every party I could attend. Now I realize I was just searching for a love that I already had but couldn’t see. I just wanted something to fix the way I was feeling. I had no idea how I got into that cycle and I had no idea how to get out.
There is no greater joy now than offering my help to someone else. I know what you’re thinking. Really? How cliché. I’ve met many people in that same state I used to be in, and when I see them I get to meet a past version of myself. I can offer them some assistance on a way out; the things that worked for me. That feeling of giving of myself to help someone else for no profit or ulterior motive is the greatest feeling that I have ever felt. I know it’s a gift from the universe. I wasn’t always present to experience it that way. I used to hear someone say they loved helping people and think they were blowing smoke up their butt. I felt that way because I never experienced it. Today, my existence depends on it. It is my purpose, something that I have become content with. If I never achieve anything beyond reaching my hand out to someone else, I’m okay with that.
When I was younger there seemed to be this huge push towards being this “self-made” individual. “Dont ask anyone for help.” “Do it all on your own.” When you finally make it to where you want to be, you can know that no one did anything for you and you got there all on your own. My pride and ego would love that. Everything that I am today has been a gift from someone that took time to sit and invest a little bit of themselves in me. I am the opposite of self made. It’s taken divine intervention and an ever growing village to sculpt me into the man that I am.
I am happy with that today. I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people along this path who gently walked me through this joyous yet painful process. At this moment in my life I find ironic humor in receiving the gifts from the universe that I never knew I wanted but now wouldn’t trade for the world. I am blessed. I have another clique. If I can do this, so can you. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I have made mistakes in every area of my life; however, for the last five and half years I have been consistent with this sobriety thing. That is good enough for me.