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Challenge Accepted

Can't Isn't in My Vocabulary

By Susan Eileen Published 2 years ago 5 min read
Challenge Accepted
Photo by Paulo Vizeu on Unsplash

I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge, physical, mental, or otherwise. You might say that can’t isn’t in my vocabulary. The greatest physical and mental challenges in my life that I’ve encountered are getting sober, with scuba diving being a very close second and the isolation during the pandemic being the third. But, when life gave me lemons, not only did I make lemons, I planted the lemon tree for good measure.

Getting sober isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is so worth it. I went from perpetual misery to happy, joyous, and free, but it isn’t an easy or fast transition. In fact, it is so hard on the body, that I recommend doing it only under the close supervision of a doctor and a support network to help monitor the mental bounce around that your brain will go through.

Alcohol is a depressant; when this depressant is removed, a phenomenon known as the pink cloud appears. The pink cloud is exactly what it sounds like. Newly sober people are happy for no apparent reason, or even when reality tells them they shouldn’t be. Popcorn brain is another facet of recovery, whereby your brain springs back into action with one hundred unrelated thoughts.

Removing a depressant, quite logically, will lead to an excess amount of energy that can easily swing into a manic like phase, or extreme hyperactivity. The brain is a complicated organism, and just witnessing what I went through when I attempted an unmedicated detox, should deter from you from trying to go sober without a medical professional or supportive friends and family. In fact, I recommend providing your support network with the updates from your doctor.

What your body goes through when becoming addicted to a substance, is like a cucumber turning into a pickle. Just like a pickle cannot be turned back into a cucumber, you cannot be turned back into a normal drinker. Your brain has undergone a fundamental change that cannot be reversed. You cannot go back to nights and weekends, any more than you can unbake a cake. It’s a chemical change at the cellular level.

However, the risk reward factor here is key. Addiction leads to jails, institutions and death. Sobriety has led to manifesting my dreams. The fact that I am alive to write this, is proof that my dreams are coming true. I am present for my family. People often say that they will die for their children, but won’t stay alive for them at the same time.

On a much lighter note, scuba diving was a hobby I was interested in for a while. SCUBA is actually an acronym that stands for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus. I saw so many amazing organisms while scuba diving – I've even swam with sharks, and just once, an octopus!

I took scuba diving classes at the local dive shop. The classes were held in the upstairs of an old bungalow house that was probably one hundred years old. The downstairs portion of the house was where you bought your equipment. I earned my certifications in diving, night diving, and drift diving.

Let me explain what drift diving is. It’s when you are dropped into a current of water and you simply drift until your air runs out. When your air runs out, you float to the top, and with any luck, the dive boat is there waiting for you. The professionals on the boat have done this a thousand times, so they will be there when you reach the top. Remember, when you hire someone, you are not just paying them for an hour, you are paying them for the ten thousand hours that they put into their craft.

It was on my trip to Cozumel that I went drift diving. Remember, I also got night diving certified. The Gulf Stream runs between the island of Cozumel and the mainland of Mexico. Because of this, the current is both swift and warm. The Caribbean waters are some of the clearest waters in the world. It is here that I swam with an octopus, which is one of the most amazing things I have ever done.

It was the last dive on the last day. I was frustrated that I hadn’t seen what I had to come to Mexico for – an octopus. It was a night dive so we plummeted into the water at dusk. On any given dive, your oxygen tank has about forty minutes of oxygen. I had been keeping track of my time, depth and air supply on my gauges. I knew time was running out.

It was then that I heard the divemaster’s call. I turned and looked around, and there was a huge, green octopus. I was in awe of this creature and unbelievably excited at the same time. I was rewarded for my patience! It was the last dive of the trip and it paid off. I don’t ever expect to come that close to an octopus again – it was the experience of a lifetime!

Finally, the extreme isolation from Covid brought me a lifetime of rewards once I embraced it. The difference between solitude and loneliness is whether or not you enjoy it. For the most part, I enjoyed it. I explored everything from the evolution of language, to outer space, to my own brain.

I began writing, writing, and writing some more. I read about 60 books. I wrote a dictionary to compare with urban dictionary; mine is a little classier. I developed a following on vocal media, tiktok and instagram promoting reading, writing, and sober fun. I purged the hoarding in my house. I even made friends with my past. By the end of the pandemic, I had a book deal with a publisher in Austin, Texas, and I had a body that was in the best shape of my life at the age of 51.

I’m a huge believer in the universe providing for us what we need, we just need to stop long enough to listen. The universe will remove people from your life when they outlived their purpose. The universe will also isolate you for a reason. When I’ve been isolated in my life, I come back better than ever. Maybe that it the universe's plan. It’s your time – what you choose to do with it, is up to you! When life gives you lemons, plant a lemon tree!

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About the Creator

Susan Eileen

If you like what you see here, please find me on Amazon. I have two published books under the name of Susan Eileen. I am currently working on a selection of short stories and poems. My two published books are related to sobriety.

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