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  • Writer's pictureMike and Glenn

Surroundings Matter

We were surrounded by booze and pills.  They were omnipresent.  We had our stuff that mattered close at hand; pictures reminding us of what once was, a phone packed with toxicity, negative messaging pulsating our ear space, collectable steins and shot glasses, a calendar booked with future regrets, a computer with unread messages and a pile of unpaid bills.  We were a mess, and we didn’t care.

When sobriety came our way, everything changed – not all at once – the booze and pills were replaced with coffee and chocolates (no judging, please); our surroundings changed; What mattered was less clutter and more cleanness.  Our phones were full of solid support numbers and healthy text strings. Positive music filled the air.  Anniversary chips replaced trinkets. The viewable art was of faith, family, and Ferris wheels.  Our social schedule wrapped around meetings and fellowship events.  Our laptop was there for writings, like these, and paying bills on time.  We were entirely different, and we knew it.

We wouldn’t change our new habitations for anything.  There was so much pain associated with the past.  And the things in reach held such an emotional and physical grip that it was difficult to distance from them.  Conversely, the new and fresh style and the uplifting surroundings bring peace beyond descript and measure.

This necessary adaptation, as mentioned, did not happen immediately but resulted from hundreds of conscious decisions and actions.  Rooms don’t transform in one fell swoop, nor by osmosis, but piece by piece.  Our makeover would require the same. 

This is the point:  Change is needed lest we fall into old patterns, thoughts, actions, and habits.  We have been warned that this slippery slope can accelerate if we are attached to the past.  And, if we don’t get to a new place, we will remain at the old place.  Living now, as we did then, indicates that little has changed, save the spirits.  Said another way, if our thoughts, actions, and surroundings are not totally changed, we are not totally transformed and, therefore, missing out on the full potential of a sober lifestyle.

The devil is in the detail, they say.  The dangerous pull can come from one picture, one song, one phone number, or one collectible.  One message, one thought, one text can move us back a space.  Why be sober but choose to live in a bar?  Why play with fire when we own the extinguisher? 

We knew we had changed when our everything had changed.




Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from podcast #147  titled " From Pain to Pickleball - with special guest Elizabeth PART 2”  The session dropped on 1/17/2023….Click here to hear the podcast. 


Photo by Jaredd Craig on Unsplash



Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics World Service. Inc. References to AA, the 12 steps, and 12 traditions does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. This publication is intended to support personal growth and should not be considered a substitute for healthcare professionals' advice. The author’s advice and viewpoints are their own.



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