Being Content


Yesterday, I read a great post by Paul over at Message in a Bottle. In his post, he talks about the “meh-ness” of life.  He describes this “meh-ness” as being “times of inertness and mid-level drabness.  Neither here nor there type of deals. The pause before the next note on the scale.  A certain form of unwanted stillness and unsureness.”

Today, I had a “meh” day. It was raining and grey outside, I was home with a sick kid for the second day in a row, I managed to ruin the first of two batches of cookies (thanks to rancid nuts) and burned dinner. In the past, I would have viewed today as a total waste and disappointment. I didn’t “do” anything and I didn’t particularly “achieve” anything.

And, then, I watch the news and see the people in Oklahoma who have lost everything. And, I think, “You know, it’s okay. It’s okay to just be.” It’s okay to have just a “meh” type of day. In fact, I find more and more that these days teach me to slow down, relax and be in the moment. Today, I was grateful I had a warm house to shelter me from the rain, supplies to bake cookies, my son and daughter to snuggle on the couch with and a God who gives me all I truly need in this life.

I used to view contentment as “just settling.” Contentment wasn’t something to achieve in life, it was something to pass up for something greater. Contentment was boring. People who were content had given up on life. I never wanted to be “just” content, yet in an effort to surpass contentment I always found myself wanting, needing and yearning for more. Drinking fueled my desire and helped (or so I thought) cope with the emptiness. And, eventually, I got really tired of feeling that way.

In early recovery, I was told that I would “know a new freedom and a new happiness.” And, it is true. I find this freedom and happiness in being content with my every day life. Not wanting more, and not wanting less. But, just being content with what God has given me today.

Thanks, Paul, for reminding me that even the “meh” days are good days.

Stepford Wife…Or Not

Accept Reality

The other day someone very close to me accused me of being a “Stepford wife.” Okay, first, lets back up. From a physical standpoint, if you knew me and saw me on a day-to-day basis, you would know that my “uniform” usually consists of workout pants (regardless if I make it to the gym or not), sweatshirt, tennis shoes, baseball hat and no makeup. If I happen to make it to the gym, I then take a shower and put on my sweats and, again, no makeup. It’s a very rare day that I actually do my hair, put on “real” clothes and do my makeup. You get the picture.

Okay, getting back to the accusation. I’m paraphrasing, but basically this person thinks because I always answer his question of “How are you?” by responding that things are great or really good, there must be something wrong with me. Because, really, how can someone be THAT good?

For privacy reasons I will not elaborate, but I will say that this person has a serious drinking problem. I would go as far to say he’s an alcoholic, but I will let him be the judge of that. He knows about my sobriety, but has done very little to acknowledge it or even ask about it, despite our closeness.

While his accusation was an attempt on his part to get a reaction out of me, I was able to respond with kindness, truth and honesty thanks to the tools I have learned through recovery. I told him that I was truly happy and doing well. I wasn’t just saying I was good, I was really THAT good and a big part of it was a direct result of my stopping drinking. I said, make no mistake, I had to go through a lot of sh*t to get to this point, but I made it and I’m beyond grateful.

I wasn’t angry at him because I understood. See, when I was drinking I couldn’t stand being around people who were happy – really, truly happy. I wasn’t happy, in fact I was downright miserable, so why should others be happy? I was always thinking about the “what ifs.” What if I had that, what if I did that, what if things were this way, what if that didn’t happen – the list goes on. I put on a good “face” to people and always said things were “good” when they would ask how I was, but, really, I rarely felt truly happy.

Now, when someone asks how I’m doing I’m honest. I make it a point to be honest, even if it’s not what they want to hear. Most of the time, I’m doing really good. Despite the ups and downs, I’m happy and content with my reality. If I’m not doing great, I’ll say so. The other day at a meeting I asked a friend how they were doing and she said “good” and then went on to ask how I was. I said I was really tired and didn’t really feel like being there but “here I am.” She then surprised me and said that she wasn’t really that good, in fact, she wasn’t feeling good and might leave early. She said, “But most people who ask you how you’re doing, don’t really want to know the answer.”

Well, the truth is, today I’m doing really good. And, believe me, I have many more “good” days now than I ever had when I was drinking. And, the best part is that I can be truly happy for others who are happy instead of resentful and jealous.

“Stepford wife” or not, I’ll take this sober life a thousand times over my previous life.