Next Right Things

Just do the next right thing, one thing at a time. That’ll take you all the way home.
— Glennon Doyle Melton

When I was drinking everyday I was really happy and productive and going places in my life.

Or no, wait. I definitely wasn't. That wasn't me at all.

Me was this: I didn't do a damn thing. I just...existed. In a place in the world that was sad and getting worse and worse everyday. I couldn't make a decision. I couldn't do anything. I swirled around in my own head, playing tug of war with my life. At the end, I was doing the bare minimum to get by. My bottom wasn't the lowest, but I was getting to a scary place and low was just around the corner. All of my glasses were precariously resting on the edge and one false move was going to shatter everything into a million pieces.

I don't want to paint the worst picture. I got shit done. I worked every day, I fed my kids, my home wasn't a wreck, most of the time. Sometimes, I would go on wine fueled cleaning sprees jamming to old records, or I'd tackle a project and reorganize or declutter. What I am trying to say, is that I put off things that needed done if I didn't want to deal with them. Anything that was hard, or scary, or I didn't have an immediate cure for- I just couldn't even look at them. I was really hurting myself.


Now that I am sober and the energy is coming back, I find that I have a new focus to be a fixer. Last week I was forced to face a tax issue that I had put off for YEARS. I sat down and handled it in a matter of an hour and filed 2 years of taxes that I hadn't taken care of. And I know that you think I may have been avoiding a tax bill, but I wasn't. I am getting a refund for both years.

That's just the example. I caused myself stress beyond stress, probably ulcer inducing stress. And held up the transfer of money that I absolute need, because my priorities in life have been wholey fucked. I had lost total control over my priorities, choices no longer belonged to me. My addiction was running the show.

The next right thing at first was just to not drink. And that always has to be the choice. I know it seems hard at first, but when the dust settles and you get your new sober sea-legs, one day you wake up and you just start moving. And it's, "ok- now what?" So my now what became, cleaning up. Cleaning all the shit up. Throwing things away. Opening the piles of mail. Keeping my fridge full. Prepping lots of meals. Being prepared and stocked for life. Keeping more than one roll of toilet paper on hand! Lots of hot showers and clean sheets. Writing in a journal for the first time ever. Reading books with the complete abandon I haven't had in 15 years. Taking better care of my body, working out more. I pack my kids' lunches every night and go to bed with my kitchen clean. When you start it just keeps piling up, the good things. The right things.

And it's not just the big grown up adulting stuff, it's about the joyous stuff, too. When I think what should I do next, I can look at things that I wouldn't even have considered before, because I am past things that have been blocking me for so long. I can consider that the next right thing is doing some yoga, or taking a bubble bath, or listening to music really fucking loud and dancing in my kitchen. Sometimes it's tiny, like making my kid a sandwich. Sometimes it's bigger, like making scary phone calls to start in on fixing the things you have been putting off, and it's doing those things that start to change the actual course of your life.

When you get sober, you finally get out of your own fucking way. You get courage to do harder things because you know that you are already doing the hardest thing. You are living again.