In sobriety I have a thousand forms of escape. In active alcoholism, I had only one. Escapism has gotten a bad rap. As humans living in a high stimulus world, we need to be able to get a way from it all sometimes. I find an unlikely but useful corollary in tax law: it’s okay to avoid taxes. Evading them is what gets you in trouble. Today, escape is about respite from rushing about trying to accomplish things before time runs out. If I give myself small but frequent opportunities to relax and get away from daily pressures, I avoid burnout, and I am not tempted to evade my responsibilities on the excuse that they have become overwhelming. Substance abuse is a futile attempt to shortcut the necessary process of examining and dealing with emotions. There are many things that cause those emotions to reach a boiling point. One is the failure to observe the adage “Easy Does It.” Throughout my sobriety, I have gone through intensive learning experiences, centered around a particular issue or theme. It is as if my Higher Power had enrolled me in a seminar or refresher course on a particular emotion. Everywhere I turned, that lesson was there. A few years into it, the lesson at hand was about learning to pace myself, and learning (duh) that there was a direct link between my manic efforts to complete superhuman amounts of work and the ensuing crash and depression that followed. Today I can smile inwardly when I turn off the phone and steal away a couple of hours for myself. “Doctor’s orders” I say. There is no more fear that while I escape, my problems will mushroom and multiply. They stay the same. But when I return, they seem much simpler and smaller from my rested perspective.

Photo courtesy of MX

Photo courtesy of MX

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