Learning to live in the now or one day at a time? I have no idea how to do that. In the past, I spent my entire life living either in the past or pinning my hope on some event in the future. I was an A.A. convention when the speaker, named Charlie, said one thing, which stood out. In the back of our brains is a spot called, ‘there.’ This little spot is where we try to be. We try to be there. For me, my drinking career was about wanting to find and stay ‘there.’ I would think about when I could successfully drink, so I could aim at ‘there’ or find my ‘now’ moment.
It would start like this… I would have my poison and start that feeling that I fell in love with. How it changed me. It felt good. I am getting closer to ‘there.’ A few more swallows and I will arrive. I will do that. I would arrive, but only for a moment. The feeling would be a moment or two. Since drinking and that feeling are slightly time delayed, I would overshoot the ‘there.’ But, in my mind there had moved out again, like a leprechaun with his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I would move towards the gold; the gold would move. I would play this cat-n-mouse game with the rainbow until I blacked out. Fun game, right? Well, that is how the game ended.
I am living in my non-drinking part of my life, the ‘there’ is still there, but I cannot feed it with alcohol, so what am I to do? I thought about this ‘there’ and what it is. Why I cannot be able to live in the now. I cannot or do not know how. I am the guy that cannot sit through a TV show. I cannot sit through a movie well. In my restless head, I think about when will this end, how do I get out, the best and fastest way. I plot and overthink everything, but rarely get lost in the moment.
So, I have been looking for relief. What do I do, or how do I change? Since the meeting, it has been on my mind every day. So, I have the gift of observation. I study people; I watch with sometimes in a trance kinda way. I even observe my dog; he lives in the now only. What a wonderful place to be. He does not get depressed over a lost toy, think that he is fat, ugly or even remembering yesterday’s treat. He lives in the now. No concern for tomorrow, just now. But, I cannot be a dog.
It Can Be Done
My friend Nikki, who I love so incredibly so, but not in a romantic way. She lives in the now. She has hurts from her past. She has been around people with addictions. She is normal. She dreams of her future. She wants her boys to marry, have kids, and be that awesome grandma, then retire and finish her life successfully on her property in Idaho. All the future stuff is set in motion and will happen when it should. She does not rush it, nor have many regrets.
Nikki lives in the now, more times than most do. She is excited about everything. She loves life, people, places and things. I will give you a few examples. She is complicated, so these examples, will seem few and will be normal, but this is beyond normal for me. She is full throttle from the moment she wakes until she sleeps. She goes to bed early to sleep eight to ten hours. The more sleep, the better. She has to, to maintain that level of energy. She eats well and exercises.
If you could see her desk at her office, she would have hot wheels, movie characters, cups, plates, sayings posted on her cork board. Coffee cups with a Disney, Minions, or hundreds of miniature characters, just to name a few. She purchases all kinds of fun stuff with everything she enjoys, and she gives it away as well. She loves about every song at any time that is on her playlist, (I hit skip a lot). I love to hear her get excited and chant: Ooo, Ooo, Ooo, when she wants to tell me something. Child-like, but she is no child.
With her friend Mary dressed up as Doc and she was Marty McFly on October 21, 2015, then visited the Twin Pines Mall, in California. That is time and place from the Back to the Future movie, it Back to the Future Day. I would not have known. She attends ComicCon Los Angeles #comikazeexpo, dressed up as Cat Women, Laura Croft, or a total of four costumes in three days. She is not in her 20’s she is middle-aged and has adult children. She has a pure heart of a child, but she not naive about the world. She chooses to be engaged in life.
Pain is Change
I want that. I struggle with that. How do I live in the moment? I struggle if I had to be in character, you think I would want to pretend to be someone else. I rarely get invited to parties. I had a friend that told me recently, I was boring, and I needed to laugh more. I say the words, ‘OK’ way too often. I had a girlfriend when we were in our 20’s; she called me charmless. I had those words, charmless engraved on my bowling ball. I was a bowling nut in my teens and early adult life. OMG, I am boring.
But, this is the mess of my mind. I could never do karaoke; I could never perform. I have been asked to read some of my writing at an open mic. This fear is so paralyzing. I have been told to take an improv class. I see myself barfing the entire time.
I live with both feet in boredom with a vision to be playful, but that turns into regret. When alcohol was fun, I could use the liquid courage to adventure out. Not today, so I am set to learn what I need to do to take life into the fun zone.
One Day at a Time
The primary thing I did for this adventure was to eliminate things that distract me. I am a minimalist and been working on that for a few years, but got good at it when I moved. Which means I do not pursue material things to make me happy but look now to pursue people and places, notice the minus of things. I want two-hour conversations with a great cup of coffee and one or two friends, getting lost in the moment of a sunset at the ocean. I want to go and do things with people.
I know I need to live for today. I read that on the walls in meetings. But how? I know It is a solvable problem if I do the work and with time, or one day at a time, they say.
Living in the Now
I have learned to hang out with others that love life. Today, because of my dog, Eli and the Fellowship, now is real and obtainable. I wish for it every moment. I am hopeful for the continued growth.