By Troy Meeks, Transformations alumnus and Alumni Coordinator
It was an ah-ha moment for me in early sobriety, when something just made sense. I had completed treatment with Transformations and was starting to get involved with meetings, groups and working with my sponsor. I was doing everything I was told to do; I followed every suggestion given to me. They said, “Don’t date in the first year of sobriety.” I didn’t. Still don’t after a couple of years but that is another blog. They said, “Go to meetings, speak up, do service.” I do it all. But I still felt I was missing something. At the time I was working at a breakfast café waiting tables and a co-worker asked me:
“Dawg where you stay at?”
Immediately I thought, “I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express once” but that wasn’t what he was asking.
He asked again:
“You stay in Boynton or Delray?”
Oh, he was asking me where my house was.
“I stay in Delray,” I replied.
But I thought about that later and it changed my whole outlook on life. “Where do you stay at?” I realized for the first time in my life I have “stayed” everywhere. I stayed in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Nevada. I stayed in a toxic relationship, I stayed in unhealthy work environments, and I stayed in addiction. All I ever did was stay; I don’t think I ever truly “LIVED” anywhere. I was getting by, and getting by is just another way of saying half dead. I was like an extra from a Walking Dead episode following the horde to another bar, but instead of brains I seemed to seek shame, and I always fed on it. I was working on not staying in addiction but for me that wasn’t enough, I wanted to live, but what did that mean?
Just out of Treatment I didn’t have anything, one bag of clothes and no money. I was overweight and out of shape. In treatment I had a hard time with the stairs, and was winded thinking about the gym. Living on Wendy’s 99 cent crispy chicken sandwiches, a 36 pack of beer and vodka daily had taken its toll. (Truth be told I still like the chicken though). Putting it simply, I was a wreck, physically and emotionally. I had stayed sick so long I didn’t know how to actually live. Arriving in Florida I dedicated myself to grow, change, and learn to live. I prayed, “God I just want to be happy, have fun and do good things.” My higher power put this man in my life that asked me “where I stayed at,” Because I was doing it again. I was going to meetings, working, doing everything right but I missed the point…to LIVE again.
After that day I started the journey I am still on today. I got a bike and started to ride everywhere. Soon I was riding to West Palm, or Miami just to see what was down there. I started yoga, and not just for the girls in yoga pants but I wanted a healthier self. I went to the beach every day and then I got a surfboard and my life was forever changed. That thrill of the ocean pushing me through the wave and hurling me toward the beach was intoxicating, better than any buzz Jim Beam ever gave me. I was hooked. I took up paddle boarding for the flat Florida summers, and diving so I can see all the beauty below me. When the wind blows I have kite board gear to adventure on. To put it plainly; I found my life.
There is a parable of the man who was on a quest to find the bluebird of happiness. He travelled the globe, crossed every ocean and climbed every mountain to no avail. He searched every forest and jungle and no sign of the bird. Exhausted one day he sat down on a tree stump and sighed, finally content to give up on his quest for the bird. As he wiped the sweat from his brow the blue bird of happiness landed softly on his shoulder, as he reached for it the bird flew away.
For me, I found the only way to find a life of happiness is to actually live. Every day is just the start of a new adventure. None of which is possible if I drink. I have many regrets and things from my past that I cannot change. A relationship with my son that I don’t know if I can ever fix, but I know this…today I live in Florida. Not because my house is here but because I am an active participant in my own life, sober, and today I am happy.