On heatwaves, privilege, and addiction— and why none of are really safe until we all are

Photo by Adam Wilson on Unsplash

On Monday last week, temperatures in my usually temperate, coastal home province of British Columbia, Canada reached scorching new highs — up to 39 degrees celsius (or 102 degrees Fahrenheit). For someone from British Columbia who no longer lives there, these temperatures are, quite simply, unbelievable.

For context, 30 degrees at the height of summer is considered extremely hot in Victoria, my home town and the provincial capital, or Vancouver, the province’s largest city. Thirty-nine degrees, on the other hand, is four degrees hotter…

How I learned that getting sober isn’t the end, but rather just the beginning of the true process of recovery

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Getting sober is the best thing I‘ve done, and one of the precious few really wise adult decisions I’ve ever made. It spared me from a life that was barreling towards destruction, and I’m not being dramatic when I say that if I hadn’t stopped drinking, I’d probably be dead. Or on the street. Or in jail. Or worse.

But now, nine and a half years later, I’m a mostly happy, healthy, functional member of society. I have a job that I love and some money in the bank, my fridge has relatively nutritious food in it, I have a…

How surviving the nightmare of addiction awakens you to the simple miracle of being alive

Photo by Timo Volz on Unsplash

If you’re reading this because you’re thinking of getting sober, part of me wants to tell you that quitting drinking solved all my problems. Because for the most part, it did. There is a unique, humble harmony to simple, sober, human life, and surviving the roiling chaos of addiction puts you in a unique position to savour it.

The Waking Nightmare of Addiction

Getting sober instantly woke me up from the nightmare I was inhabiting on a more or less daily basis when I was drinking. Alcohol was at its root, but there are also so many other, unexpected permutations of suffering and complications that…

I got sober nine years ago. It was the most important decision I ever made

Photo by Heath Vester on Unsplash

I got sober nine years ago. It was the most important decision I ever made — a rare moment when the survival instinct I didn’t know I had (and which my well-meaning mother, in a truly hurtful moment, once told me I did not have) asserted itself. And if I hadn’t made that decision, I have no doubt that today I would be on the street, dead or in jail.

Thankfully, I am none of those things, but rather a mostly happy and healthy person living a rich and enjoyable life doing something I love (teaching) in an amazing place…

Last year, I decided to stop buying new clothes. Actually, I decided to stop buying clothes altogether many times in the years leading up to that too, but I never succeeded. The allure of flashy and fashionable new garments was too enticing, my sense of boredom and need of stimulation too profound, and my self-confidence still too shaky to sustain continued existence without the support of continually purchasing more and more new stuff.

But last year was the year that I actually succeeded. Here’s how I did it.

Photo by Becca McHaffie on Unsplash

It wasn’t just that the pandemic happened, making it complicated and dangerous…

Until you do, you’ll never be completely satisfied, completely fulfilled, or completely yourself.

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

There is something that you were put here to do, and when you make time to do it consistently, everyone benefits. Whether that thing is designing clothes or doing yoga or gardening or knitting or writing poetry or making pottery, when you make time to pursue and perfect it, it makes you more full and free.

This may require you to take time away from other responsibilities and pastimes. But that’s okay, because the fuller your own life and heart are, the more of that fullness and…

On learning to use a word that most of the rest of the world still misunderstands.

Photo Jacek Dylag on Unsplash.

Since I stopped drinking almost a decade ago, I don’t experience as much uncertainty or embarrassment in relation to being sober as I did initially. I’m mostly happy to tell people I don’t drink, and why — even if the depth and detail involved in that explanation can vary a lot depending on the person, and our relationship. But in general, when it comes to being sober, I own it.

It wasn’t always this way; actually, it used to be the exact opposite. In the first few years of my recovery, I hesitated — and of course occasionally I hesitate…

Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash.

I got sober nine years ago. I made the decision a few weeks beforehand, so I could really go out with a bang and savour a few more sweet rounds of beautiful chaos before my retirement from the wild life. And I really did savour them — sipping, shooting, and straight-up chugging more than ever as I approached the fateful day when I would finally call it quits. As a result, when the time came, I felt like I could give up drinking without regret, and even with a feeling of dark satisfaction. I had drunk deeply from the tankard…

If you’re a problem drinker, you have my permission to disregard any and all cynical dismissals of the concept of New Year’s resolutions. I got sober on a New Year’s resolution nine years ago and I’m not exaggerating or being dramatic when I say that it probably saved my life.

So if your drinking has become a problem and you’re considering giving it up altogether in 2021, I’m here today to tell you to do it. Do it now.

Since that fateful day nine years ago, every year in late December and early January I find myself wandering through my…

Quit fucking around — this is your life.

  1. Now is the only time you can do it.

If you want to get sober, the time to do it is right now. There is no getting sober at some point in the future, after the next concert or party, victory or celebration, heartbreak or defeat. If you know with your whole body that the time has come for you to stop drinking, listen to it, and stop right now.

Pour out the alcohol you have in your house and never buy more. Avoid people and places that might make it harder…

Seizan Egyo

Meditation, mindfulness, recovery, writing. Stockholm, Sweden.

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