Does sobriety even have value?

Does sobriety have value?  The question seems silly and its response seems obvious:  OF COURSE!  But, if you really look what sobriety means for some people, the answer becomes a bit harder to give.  There are those whose lives burdened with such unfair circumstances that numbing out appears to be the only option.  Sobriety can be a hard sell to someone whose life may seem not worth living.

For example, I knew a guy who believed that was so unworthy of love that he remained addicted to painkillers so that he wouldn’t have to face what he perceived to be the lack of love in his life.  In time, he realized that perhaps he should “kick” and get clean so that he could become an electrician and try to live a stable and secure life.  But, his father was addicted to heroin and the second my acquaintance got clean, his father berated him so strongly that he only stayed clean for a few days before he relapsed.  What was worse was that he had no one close to him from whom he could receive encouragement and empathy.

Over the months that I knew him, I saw a life’s circumstance that seemed hopeless at times.  I understood that for him, life held little moments of peace, much less times of joy.  There were even times that I understood why he used opiates; I saw the pain he had to face on a daily basis and I had very little to offer him.  But, then, I remembered something that I read somewhere about the capability to see joy in the smallest and most unlikely places.  I don’t remember where I read it, but I myself almost forgot that life has an infinite amount of amazement and joy, if we allow ourselves to see it.

My acquaintance was never my client; I knew him through family and I wasn’t comfortable treating him.  I started inviting him to play basketball with a group of people I knew and he actually played quite well.  In seeing him play, I was able to show him that life did hold moments for him where he could enjoy himself and be free of his pain.  In time, he started lifting weights and became desperate for health so that he could become stronger and do even more physical activities that brought him solace and comfort.  He went back to rehab, got clean, and met his goal of becoming an electrician.  He left his previous home life far behind and the last I heard, he was living in a city a couple of hundred miles away from where he grew up and had forged a new  life for himself.

The point is that, I am certain that sobriety has value regardless of life’s circumstances.  The trick is to learn to find solace and joy in every small miracle life has to offer.  Once we can look at a sunrise and like Forrest Gump, not know where heaven ends and earth begins, we can arrive at joyful moments, even if there is pain in our lives.  Sounds simple, but the most basic and difficult solutions to life’s problems usually are quite simple.