Very recently, I decided I enjoy silence more than radio in the mornings. Every single morning, on my way to work, I turn my radio off and listen to nothing. I pray, and I listen to my thoughts instead. I find this practice extremely amusing, entertaining, fascinating and sometimes horrifying. My mind asks inane questions, appearing out of thin air, even on the way to a meeting. Why can’t you just stop? Why do you need to go to a meeting today? Aren’t you recovered by now?
There’s a quote I like – “Silence is the mystery of the world to come”. If you are skeptical about just how beneficial silence can be in your sober life, trust me, I was too. For most of my adult life, I lived about five hours south of my parents and my hometown. It was far enough that I could do whatever I pleased with no risk of small-town gossip reaching family members, yet close enough to visit a few times a month. When I would travel the long stretch of I-95 to visit them, it would never be in silence. I loved driving for hours alone, on an empty highway at night, windows down, and as always – blasting music very loudly from my radio.
So loudly, that even if another driver laid down on their horn to warn me of impending danger, I would be oblivious to their signal, the music drowning out my own fate. Looking back, I see how dangerous and reckless that was. All for the love of music and the liberating feeling it gave me for bursts at a time. It would be a struggle for me to drive five hours alone and in complete silence today. Yet driving with the sound of music seems more bearable. Why?
I always considered music therapeutic in a way. I believe, for me, to a certain extent, it can be. For example: I could be having a terrible day, a song would play on the radio, reminiscent of a joyful time I once experienced, and I would travel back in my mind. Teleported to a state of bliss, all my worries would disappear – temporarily. Suddenly, the next melody plays. It reminds me of a former flame who wronged me. The floodgates of the terrible day reopen & sadness, pain, anger, and jealousy evoke inside me. It’s like a Jekyll & Hyde effect; all from listening carefully to the sounds of the radio. How?
Initially this article was not going to be focused on the joy of silence. I didn’t know much about silence and how it was linked with peace of mind, sobriety, and health. As somebody who has always gone to an extreme measure or excess when I found anything in life that created euphoria for me, I find that sitting in silence holds more answers to the minds’ questions than any melody, movie, podcast, or TV show.
Maybe it is the clarity I receive when I clear my mind and observe my thoughts and surroundings. Maybe it’s the non-influence of sound/noise around me interfering with my emotions. Possibly, it’s the little voice inside my heart realigning with my thought process to help me find the balance I seek on a daily basis. In doing this, for just a few minutes a day, having a wordless conversation with my creator, I realize I do not have all the answers to my own questions; and it is somehow – acceptable.
Acceptance is the key to all my questions today. My creator has all the answers. I just have to listen quietly. It has been such a small daily sacrifice for me, yet somehow it’s proven to be a powerful influence on my attitude and emotions. To just sit, and be, in the moment and activating all my senses is the best part of my day. I think of it as a refresh button on my internet browser, bringing me up to date with the most important and current issues at hand.
Other questions I like to ask myself when my thinking starts to shift gears, are – “How can I stop drinking? How can I make sure I attend a meeting today? How can I recover?” I sit quietly and practice patience, all while my Higher Power is busy at work helping me to find peace of mind and solutions to my problems.