My Favorite Day Part 5 – The Real Story
Today is the 5th year of my sobriety and for those of you who have followed my journey, you know I like to take the time to get a little personal and share some vulnerability. I read through my 4 year Soberversary blog and I said a lot of what I would want to say again this year, so check it out if you are interested in a guy getting all mushy.
In her business Erin has been asking her clients “what’s the real story”? behind why we’re doing/feeling/thinking what we are. And here’s mine, I want to feel alive and significant. There was a time when alcohol got me a little closer to that. But it had trade-offs and didn’t make me feel awake and alive.
If you’re not interested in a guy getting all mushy, you might need to close out of the screen. Or maybe go check out the Dad Joke Exchangepage. You might also need to defriend me, because I’ve been thinking more and more about how this is my favorite day because people are vulnerable with me (and accept my vulnerability) and that exchange makes me feel alive. We all want to feel alive, but most of us are falling short. So if this makes me feel alive, why confine it to one day?
I KNOW we are all craving the “alive” feeling, because we are surrounded by hacks to the system. Social media posts that garner the most activity seem to be those that incite outrage or feel good stories. Netflix and podcasts provide instant emotion. And even the most masculine, emotion resistant guys hide behind sports where they have an “acceptable” outlet to scream and throw things (and I’ve been this guy, but let’s not fool ourselves, it’s way more silly than talking to your friend about your feelings).
In last year’s Soberversary blog, I talked about Level 5 conversations. Erin and I have been having a lot of them lately and talking about the importance of them. Get this, on Friday night, all I could think about was getting through my day, getting Maddie to bed so I could dive in to Making a Murderer Season 2. When it came time to cue it up, Erin and I started talking. We got into a Level 5 conversation and I didn’t even turn on the television. And I will add, I would MUCH rather have had a Level 5 conversation with my wife, than just about anything else. (It should be noted I did find other times to binge Making a Murder Season 2 and it’s SO GOOD).
I also posted recently about my (eh em, 20th, eh em) High School reunion:
It had an effect on me because of some great conversations I had with people. Some deep stuff. Of course, there was silly dancing that I would have needed large quantities of alcohol to participate in, so I skipped that part. But it left me affirmed that there are so many out there that want more from life and their personal relationships.
Erin and I have been talking about how great it would be if we could build a framework for these kinds of conversations. How do we get to a Level 5 conversation and how can others do the same? Erin is really good at it. I am not. I have an interest, but not much of a roadmap.
I look at the levels like this:
Level 1: Present & Accounted For – These is the minimum we can do in our conversations, but sadly where we spend most of our time. Example: “It’s such a nice day out today, huh?”
Level 2: Thoughts & Shares – This is doing one step more than the minimum in our conversations. It’s sharing information about what you are thinking, and thinking is not feeling.
Level 3: Grace & Space – Erin came up with this and I like it a lot. We get so caught up in our busy lives and all of the things we’re struggling with, but how often do we give ourselves and each other some grace, and the space to say what’s on their heart. It’s great to do this, but it’s not necessarily level 5.
Level 4: See & Be Seen – Seeing others (and being seen ourselves) is about engaging in a conversation with someone where you are not trying to transact with them in any way (ex: get something out of the conversation), but just be with them, hold space for the conversation and understand where they are coming from. Do you feel seen? Are you making other’s feel seen? This is hard to do, and I think the answer is probably no.
Level 5: Awake & Alive – This probably deserves it’s own post, but being alive is feeling all the feels. Interacting with others, seeing them, having them see you. Understanding someone else. Not using or being used. I like to think about that famous Jim Valvano speech about the things we should do every day to enjoy life when I think about Level 5.
My hypothesis is that people crave Level 5, but settle for another level, because getting to Level 5 is hard and Level 3 might be good enough. Erin and I don’t really know exactly where we are going with this, but maybe you’d like to join us in figuring it out.
I don’t want you to think I’ve gone all of this way to pitch something. Erin has started her own business and I’m sure she’d love to talk to you about the coaching and development work she does. But this isn’t about that. This is about finding a community of people that want to use conversations to feel alive, and want to explore ways that we can get there together. If you want to connect with us on that, click here and give us your email. I don’t know when, but we’ll figure out the next steps from there.
I not really sure how, but I started to write to talk about sobriety and ended up asking you to help build a community of people who want to have deeper conversations and friendships. I guess that’s what I’ve wanted all along. That’s the real story. I’m just a mushy guy.
Last year, together we raised about $1,000 on soberversery to be used for VCU Rams in Recovery, a student recovery supp
ort organization. This essentially paid for their graduation ceremony, which is one of the best events I’ve ever attended. Thank you to all of you who gave to this last year, it was such a highlight to see some of your gifts. I’d love to do that again and Erin and I will match any of your support. Thanks for considering it: https://www.support.vcu.edu/give/RIR.