car-923873_1280Very 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, to a certain extent, it can be for me. 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, and sadness, pain, anger, and jealousy awake 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 mind’s 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 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, to activate 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.

When my thinking starts to shift gears, I also like to ask,“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.

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2 Comments

  1. Nice article. Thanks. I suggest being in silence is a skill than can be practiced and improved. I confused being busy, noisy, with meaning. Went on a 7 day silent retreat. For a few weeks after left the radio off in the truck. Went on a second 7 day’er, then left radio off for a few months. After the third 7 day silent retreat, I leave the radio off. Now I see the need for diversion as a sign of relapse. What is it about this moment that I want to escape? That said, there are times when I wan tot listen to music and do so as a matter of conscious choice.
    Happy trails to you.

  2. Kathy Adams Reply

    Your article was great! I also relish the “sounds of silence”, also balanced with music. As the previous comment mentioned both are conscious decisions on my part. Throughout the day I have periods of time to make those choices. Thinking about this, I believe I would have the tv on or something, but not really watching it or even listening to it, so now when I realize I’m doing that, I’ll turn it off or at least mute it. Your article definitely brought up allot of thoughts from the past, even as a child, when some kind of “background noise” would sooth me in a sense, and I guess maybe that was because it would eliminate me hearing the chaos from what was going on in the household….Good article though, thanks!

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