Authenticity Is Not What You Think It Is (audio 71 / day 284)

Panic clings to my chest first thing when I open my eyes in the pitch darkness of the very early morning. I’m completely safe and warm in my bed, as the waning gibbous moon shines her golden white light down on me through the open window. I make an attempt to calm myself to no avail. Worst still, I berate myself for being such a neurotic freak that I have already ruined a fine autumn morning with my anxious thoughts. Is it survival, all this dreadful worry? What’s it helping me to survive? And for fuck’s sake I’m two months shy of my forty-fourth birthday, haven’t I already proven I can survive? Is this just how it’s supposed to go until I die? My whole spirit sinks down through the frigid floorboards just to imagine that. What in the fuck are we doing any of this for?

It’s one thing to be entirely possessed of existential angst first thing in the morning when you are also fully participatory in an active addiction to alcohol, which was me all of last year and – well, all of the years before that. But this year – in the year 2022 – I have had zero drinks. I have been sober since January 1st. Haven’t fucked around, and found out sobriety is the center of my existence now. The center which has held, around which everything else swirls, and swirling indeed it is, swiftly, relentlessly, chaotically. It turns out that when you get sober after twenty years of drinking, your internal workings come to a screeching halt, you are operating in a way that now runs counterclockwise to the rest of the life you built around yourself whilst you were still ignorantly, hopelessly, merrily focused on your hellish addiction.

And when everything inside you slows to a dead stop, you cannot help but take a look around at where you are. To my astonishment, I have come to realize I am at the center of my soul, I am in the quiet eye of the storm. I am where I always was. Before time began. I am where I will remain, after I move on past time, space, the prison of the body. I am where I came from. A place so infinite, so mysterious, so expansive, hopeful and impossible that while I can appreciate it anew in my clear clean state of mind, I can also understand why I’d wanted to get the hell out as often as I could through booze or men or achievement or any number of earthly distractions. Where I come from is so far beyond this place it can feel mighty cold, desolate, lonely, frightening in all of its cosmic vastness.

I believe in God, it turns out, although I do not love the term God. Too heavy with baggage. I believe I am held by something miraculously wild, which is ecstatically radically insistently at odds with conformity. Entirely opposed to fitting in, to keeping quiet, to following the status quo. God is vibrational, it’s a Universe of a kind of beauty which could never be contained or manufactured or achieved or understood. I know this now like I knew it as a child. I always believed. Even before the monster of the patriarchy tore into my pristine soul and corrupted my innocence, dirtied the lens through which they forced me to observe myself. But that’s for another post, perhaps? Perhaps.

This post, the one we hold together in our hands right now, could go in any of a thousand directions. As could our lives. The paths we can chose are many, some more restricted by status and circumstance than others, but still there are choices to be made every day, every year, every which way, as long as we are here on this planet. And all along I thought the most important thing to do if I wanted to live an honest life, a life true to who I am is to be authentic. And while I still believe that is the case I see it differently now. Not that I have to know who I am but that I have to first know where I come from. Where I originate. A place that is not of this world. A place that is beyond place or time or choices.

When you know you are from a place without limits, without restrictions, rules, greed, judgments, cruelty, pettiness, you realize you can drop all of those things because they are not who you are or where you originate. They are shields you grabbed along the way to try to protect yourself from the invasion of the world around you which absolutely meant you great harm. My addiction was not wrong it was a normal reaction to a fucked up culture. But I do not come from this culture I come from beyond it. And now that my booze blinders are off, I see that. Which is both comforting and terrifying. To know where you come from and at the same time feel so very far from home.

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authenticity: of undisputed origin; genuine

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*All of my Sobriety Audios are collected for you here (or go to the top of this page and click “Sobriety Audios (Free Downloads).” You can listen as often as you want, anywhere, anytime, for free, forever.

You Must First Know Where You Come From (audio 70 / day 281)

I wish it were different but the truth is that my recovery is breaking my bones all the way to dust right now. It is very crushing. It is very nerve wracking. It is very real. It is very deep. And to live through an honest recovery, a deeply holy and authentic recovery, the only guide you actually have – when the noise quiets, when the chips are down, when the dust settles – is yourself.

Perhaps I had been afraid to get sober for so long because something in me has known all along that getting to the truth would mean, ultimately, getting to me. Who I really am. What I really believe. What I am really made of. What my truest desires, wants, and dreams, as well as fears, are.

But it isn’t just the getting to my core that will make my life authentic, aligned, sincere, integrated. It’s arriving at my center, seeing it for what it really is, and then choosing it over every single other thing in my life. Over money. Over family. Over attention. Over outward validation. Over career. Over fitting in. Over marriage. Over societal norms. Over conventional thinking. Over the easy way. Over my reputation. Over the image and expectations of me that others hold.

And given all this, now I see and feel and know in no uncertain terms one thing: a true recovery is as radical a path as can ever be chosen by a humble human creature who dares to believe there is so much more to the story than has yet been revealed.

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*All of my Sobriety Audios are collected for you here (or go to the top of this page and click “Sobriety Audios (Free Downloads).” You can listen as often as you want, anywhere, anytime, for free, forever.

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