Live and Learn, Learn to Live

Cafe TriesteA bunch of years ago I was waiting for what I perceived to be a critically important phone call.  In hindsight, the call really pretty unexciting.  Regardless, as the minutes passed and I waited for the phone to ring, I became more stressed.  I thought about how in the past I would have a bottle of beer or a glass of wine to take the edge off, relax myself a bit, followed by another, and another . . .  But I also made a firm choice that I was not going to drink that day.

And then something hit me – I thought that I had never in my life sat quietly, gone for a walk, taken up another task, or something similar while waiting.  Whenever I became impatient, angry, sad, happy, or just about any other human condition, consuming alcohol or food was my response.

And so on that day a bunch of years ago while waiting for the phone to ring, I very intentionally thought “I have never just sat and waited before.  I am going to grow from this experience.  The next time I have to sit and wait for a phone call, it will be easier.”

That was a wonderful “aha” moment when I was just over one year sober.  Since then I have applied that logic when faced with a new challenge or experience.  I am often surprised in recognizing how my knee-jerk reaction to most situations in the past, whether good or bad, was to numb myself with my addiction so that I would never have to truly experience the life situation.

I am grateful today for the opportunity to truly live and learn and in so doing truly learn to live.

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