By Chris Alvarez
Can you still go out to clubs and bars?
Going out to clubs and bars was something I really enjoyed. It was a time when I could let loose, act crazy and hit on girls. 99.9% of the time I had to be drunk to do it. However, now I can act crazy without being drunk, can have fun while being sober, and can have enough self-confidence to approach women and accept being shot down.
That’s how I operate now. Nevertheless the ability to go out to bars and clubs can differ from person to person. Some people can go out, while others can’t. It all depends on what triggers you have and how well you deal with them. I would never say to someone that has one week sober that they are ok to go to a bar, I wasn’t ok to go out to clubs and bars at one week sober either. For many of us though, time has a way of helping you cope.
No matter how much sober time you accumulate, some people will never feel 100% comfortable with going to these places. Those people come to accept that fact and live perfectly happy lives.
So to answer the question; I can go to clubs and bars as long as I stay focused and know that I can’t drink and don’t need a drink either.
If you are a “normie” and would like to know more leave a comment and I will answer any questions you have.
By Chris Alvarez
Helen Keller once said, “Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” I thought I was the happiest person on earth lounging on the couch, alone, and drunk, delighted yet miserable. I had given up on work, life and finding a way to better myself.
This was my reality. I was living in Manhattan trying to work except I was exceptionally drunk and miserable most of the time. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I thought I wanted to work on Wall Street but couldn’t figure out how to get the right job, I thought I wanted to work in advertising but couldn’t figure out how to get into the industry. I wanted to make money because I thought that accumulating wealth alone would make me happy.
After constantly changing my mind on what I wanted to do I eventually became a little irrational and began to seek adventure instead of money. I nearly joined the Navy in my search for something to make me happy. (I thought that being a spoiled drunk would make me happy but no one would cosign my insanity and support me financially.)
Apparently I had no idea how to achieve true happiness. I didn’t know myself and without knowing myself I couldn’t know happiness. One Friday morning in March 2010 I had a moment of clarity and realized how miserable I was. For a split second I knew that I would never know true happiness unless I knew myself. Forty-eight hours later I was living at Beit T’Shuvah.
Nearly eighteen months have passed and I have learned to do something I love, and in turn happiness has found me. Of course I still would like to make a lot of money but not for my old selfish reasons. Now my motives are more selfless; to be able to bring the message I have received to others that need it. By making others happy I better myself and attain a level happiness that I never knew existed. I was happy until I got to rehab. No! I didn’t know happiness until I got to rehab.
By Jaron Zanerhaft
Throughout my first Shabbos services at Beit T’Shuvah, a single quote wriggled around inside my head like an insipid pop lyric:
“Gratitude is the disease of dogs.”
I was resigned to contempt, bitter without cause, and suspicious of anyone who told me that I couldn’t figure something out myself. The decency and efforts of those around me at Beit T’Shuvah, however, wore down my resistance and showed me that whether or not I choose to be grateful to them, I wouldn’t last long denying the abundance of blessings in my life.
So how do you stay grateful? Studies confirm that gratitude in its emotional form depends on three things: the value of the help to the recipient, the cost to the benefactor, and the benevolence of the intention. Basically, you are most grateful when someone does something really important for you that was tough for them, and they did it for the right reasons. Simple actions such as recognizing the use of your senses and saying “thank you” can boost awareness of cause and effect in your life.
While gratitude is an emotion of the moment, a feeling of thanks felt in a specific situation, the frequency with which one can feel gratitude points to something more continuous than fleeting grace. In many 12-step programs, participants are encouraged to shed light on their character defects— inherent traits which contributed to their downfall. Then, we cultivate strengths. When considering positive traits which could aid in the development of an upstanding character, don’t overlook the impact of gratitude. Gratitude can be a trait, a characteristic incorporable into personalities. A person of gratitude is more prone to feel grateful in any given circumstance and therefore more prone to happiness and success. Instead of being just a person who feels gratitude, you can be a person of gratitude. The results of studies focusing on long-term gratitude suggest that taking actions such as keeping a gratitude journal and praying can lead to a greater degree of achievement towards personal goals, better physical health, and a stronger feeling of connection to others.
I have certainly come a long way since Stalin’s words echoed in my head. I can now identify gratitude as an essential component of my being. Though sometimes a struggle, I find moments to be thankful. Friday nights after cleaning up from services, I hold a small group where we pass around a candle and share what we are appreciative of from the past week. In these groups I’m fond of mentioning that, when a valuable object or investment appreciates, by definition, it increases in value. So, too, as we appreciate, our lives become more valuable to ourselves. Be grateful for what you have, and turn it into more than you could have ever dreamed.