Meet Recovery Rockstar Mark
REACHING ROCKSTAR STATUS
I started the Miracle of the Mundane because I was tired of sitting on the immense joy of my simple life, storing up happiness like a miser hoards gold. It is a happiness that comes from basic sober living. I always imagined I was so different, that things like a 30-year mortgage, working as a teacher, getting married and having children simply weren’t for me. I thought those things were for settlers as those funny commercials now depict. I thought that kind of living was where dreams go to die.
Instead, I have found a seam-bursting, soul-filling, staggering sort of jubilee in the simple sober life. The happiness may be a result of the fact that I am no longer in the miserable throes of addiction. Perhaps choosing sobriety alone helps me understand that I am enjoying the icing on the cake of life.
I’ve been thinking about this piece for Recovery Rockstars for a few days. As I write, I’m still not entirely sure where it will go. But the term “Rockstar” has been hovering about my brain like a fog.
Rockstar. I understand it in cultural terms. Rockstars are those who live life to the fullest, who get the most out of what they are doing. In drinking terms, they’re the ones up all night and who clean up well in the morning. To be a recovery rockstar must mean more of the same, only doing it sober. And that’s when it hit me:
Sober, I can do all the things I thought I could only do drunk, plus all the things that drunk, I could never do.
Until I got sober, I did not believe I could do a long list of things—enjoy music, have sex, be social, meet new people, make people laugh, dance, write—without substances running through my bloodstream.
Now I do all those things better, and things I never imagined doing.
As I am a writer, I will relay a story to demonstrate the rockstar sobriety inspires me to be.
WE'RE ALL BRILLIANT UNTIL THE MORNING AFTER
Many know the trick. In your youth, you can find the liquor cabinet, pour out the gin, white wine, vodka—any clear or light alcohol—and replace it with water and no one's the wiser. I did as much on sleepovers with friends. We made the rounds to each other’s houses until—like some anti-miracle—we turned all the wine into water.
One faithful night, gin sparked an emotive explosion. We draped scrawny arms over bony shoulders, wallowed in prepubescent tears, professed brotherly love to affirm our deep friendships. We wrote down a pact, meditating over the words we found to summarize the tenderness between us. The words, we agreed, were so profound that we would keep them with us always.
I spoke about this with Paul over at Buzzkill the other week. He mentioned the famous Hemingway quote on craft: “Write drunk, edit sober.” That never worked for me.
In the haze of the morning, waking with dry mouths, tongues smacking the sour taste of stale gin, we returned to the pact, expecting to bask in the masterpiece we wrote the night before. On a torn sheet of paper, crooked lines formed, “Broes before hoes. That’s why the left hand was invented.” We stared at each other in confusion before bursting into laughter.
The line would remain brilliant to us, but no one else.
DON'T TURN THE HOUSE LIGHTS UP QUITE YET
I am in my eighth year of continuous sobriety. I enjoy writing about finding purpose with the pen. (One prime example you can read at Dan Maurer’s Transformation is Real. Dan has been an invaluable mentor to me.)
Sobriety has left me constantly inspired. Unlike the occasional drunken revelation that is meaningless in the morning, I am writing with a passion and clarity I’ve never known.
I do mean to boast here. I am proud of what I’ve accomplished in my short time as a blogger. I boast with a dose of humility today. I live off the help of others. I have a sponsor. I credit my sobriety to a horde of generous people, particularly family, that helped me through those psychotic breaks and white-knuckled days. They made me who I am today. So when I boast, I exalt them.
I started my website in January. Since then, I’ve posted 16 reflections, 9 stories, and 6 poems. I’ve been featured in 2 interviews and 8 other websites. Including this piece makes 44 publications in just over 100 days.
I’m not making a point about quality here, only quantity. I have been inspired to create something new nearly every other day for going-on 4 months. I write in the midst of raising two children, teaching, and working two other part-time jobs while my wife finishes graduate school. I am constantly inspired. I live for it.
I call that a rockstar output. And I know that if I stay sober...