I have been thinking a lot lately about the process of growing up. I know that my life and situation are different than most, but I think growing up is kind of the same for everyone. For me, I am going through the growing up thing a second time, as a sober adult, and sometimes it is really weird.
I was doing a speaking engagement last week about recovery and AA and the journey of sobriety, and I got a really interesting question. This is the most popular question, every single time I speak somewhere someone asks about this. He asked me if I stopped hanging out with all of my friends when I got sober. One of the things you hear a lot around Alcoholics Anonymous is you have to “change your playgrounds and playmates”. Meaning, you don’t want to hang out in drinking places with drinking people when you are trying to stay sober. But it seems as though people think that your first week of sobriety you have to sit down and call all of your friends and break up with them! And this is simply not the case. Its a process. As I stayed sober and became more involved with sober people and doing sober things, my priorities became different. I don’t want to hang out in those places and watch people get drunk. Now, as a sober person, I enjoy different things. I think it must be similar to when people get married and have kids. As your priorities shift, different things become important and different things become enjoyable. I look back on my twenties all the time and think about what an amazing time it was, and I miss it. I miss living life like there was no tomorrow, I miss having an entire life that was based on having fun. No grades, no worry about job security, retirement accounts, savings, investments….yada, yada, yada… I miss it it just like other people probably think about their college days, before the wife and family. I’m sure, as dad is changing a dirty diaper he is probably fondly reminiscing his glory days in the dorm. That doesn’t mean that I want to go back to that life, it only means that it was really fun and I am grateful for that time. But I love my life today. I love that I was granted the opportunity to do it over, to become a person I never thought I could be. I don’t think I have more worries today, its more like the worries are different, and better.
I think that growing up is just growing up. Its not about cutting people out of your life because you are making changes, its just about I used to love Tequila and now I love CNN. Used to, I couldn’t think of anything better than riding motorcycles through Hollywood, bar to bar to bar. Now, nothing sounds better than an amazing sunny day, a perfect cup of coffee, and my blog.
I don’t hang out with the same people now that I hung out with when I was 20, or 25, 0r 30. But not because I don’t like those people or I can’t be friends with them, but because our lives change and shift and grow. Sobriety is no different. I am having to grow up for a second time because I didn’t do it the first time. I want to be surrounded by people that inspire me, people I can learn from, and people that care for me. I guess I’m growing up.